As the network eyes a new ‘Monday Night Football’ deal amid NFL protests and Trump culture wars, new chief Jimmy Pitaro faces warring factions inside a company that staffers say is unfairly branded as a “bastion of liberalism” as one exec calls a show “too black.”
On March 14, incoming ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro — then still Los Angeles-based — made a trip to the network’s Bristol, Connecticut, headquarters for a town hall with employees.
Pitaro, 48, is a digital-native executive with strong ties to Disney CEO Bob Iger. He assumed stewardship over a company rocked months earlier by the head- spinning departure of John Skipper, the victim of a blackmail scheme by a cocaine dealer.
At the same time, the 8,000-employee sports behemoth was being buffeted by political controversies (including widespread NFL anthem protests) that exacerbated its relationship with arguably the most powerful league in sports.
So Pitaro’s mandate was to calm the waters.
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