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Heidi Watney leaving NESN

Heidi Watney

Heidi Watney

Heidi Watney, the in-game reporter on NESN’s Red Sox broadcasts since 2008, is leaving the network, industry sources have confirmed. Her departure was first reported by Comcast SportsNet New England this afternoon.

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.

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Watney, former first-runnerup 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.

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.’’

Red Sox play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo will remain with NESN, signing a four-year contract.

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