ESPN will do what, for months, Fox Sports inexplicably would not. It’s putting Katie Nolan back on television.
In what is both a poorly kept secret and welcome news, ESPN announced Wednesday morning that Nolan, a Framingham native, is joining the network. She will debut Oct. 16. ESPN was vague with the details of her role, saying in a statement that “announcements regarding her specific assignments are forthcoming,’’ but did say she will make appearances across various studio programs while also having a prominent digital presence.
“I could not be more excited to have a prominent digital presence while also making appearances across ESPN studio programming,’’ said Nolan, an expert in humorous snark, in a statement. “When I was a little girl, I always dreamed that one day announcements regarding my specific assignments would be forthcoming.’’
Nolan, whose Fox Sports 1 program “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan’’ won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Social TV Experience in 2016, had been in a strange sort of television purgatory since February, when “Garbage Time’s’’ last season wrapped up. The weekly show, which had an enviable social media following but struggled to find viewership, was not renewed.
While the network suggested it would find prominent ways to utilize Nolan, it never did. She rarely appeared on Fox Sports or FS1 in recent months before negotiating a buyout of her contract, which was set to expire at the end of the year, last week.
ESPN has long coveted Nolan, who has a quick-witted, easygoing television presence. Word that the network had hired her has been anticipated since she was released from her deal.
“Katie is smart, dynamic and brings to ESPN a fresh perspective and a great sense of humor,’’ said Connor Schell, executive vice president/content for ESPN. “She is a rare talent and will represent our brand incredibly well as we continue to expand across the digital space.’’