Watney leaving NESN

Heidi Watney, the in-game reporter on NESN’s Red Sox broadcasts since 2008, is leaving the network, industry sources have confirmed. The Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy was first to report the move in a column published Tuesday.

A University of San Diego graduate who worked at a television station in Fresno, Calif. immediately prior to joining NESN in April 2008, Watney will return to her native California to work as a sideline reporter on Lakers’ telecasts on Time Warner.

Watney, a former first runner-up in the Miss California pageant, was popular with viewers and increasingly polished at her job after replacing Tina Cervasio in the reporter’s role. But her departure does not come as a surprise.

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She nearly left the network by mutual decision following last season before her contract option was picked up at NESN. Sources said the decision to retain her last year was not a unanimous one.

When contacted last night via text about her situation while on vacation in Australia, Watney responded: “Nothing is final and not dealing with it until I return at [the] end of the month.”

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