Fox sources have confirmed that the network will drop its Los Angeles-based Major League Baseball pregame show for next season as part of a network-wide cost-cutting move, and Fox Sports chief Ed Goren informed all the talent about the decision just before Thanksgiving.
Some of it has to do with the fact that the network lost up to $50 million on its MLB coverage in ’07, no doubt helped along by the less-than-attractive World Series, and that the pregame show hosted by Jeanne Zelasko and including Kevin Kennedy, Eric Karros and Mark Grace, never made money with national ad sales (they were sold by the local affiliates, rather than the national ads that are seen on the Fox NFL pregame show).
Zelasko and Kennedy will be without Fox MLB gigs for next season. Karros and Grace continue as a regional game analyst.
So starting in ’09, Fox will likely have its Saturday MLB games go on the air at 1 p.m., with a 1:07 p.m. first pitch. Having a pregame shows in the past, Fox would come on the air at 12:30 p.m. with first pitch at 12:55 p.m. How this affects the All-Star game and post-season — a sore spot with viewers in the East who don’t see a first pitch until sometime past 8:15 p.m. — remains to be resolved, but it’s likely related to ad sales again.