Given that multiple television outlets were interested in hiring Jenny Dell while she worked for NESN, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she found a new gig not long after leaving the network.
Dell, who became a popular TV presence in this market during her two years (2012-13) as the Red Sox in-game reporter on NESN broadcasts, has landed with CBS Sports, where she’ll serve as a sideline reporter during its NFL coverage this season.
CBS announced its broadcast pairings for the upcoming season Tuesday. Dell is one of three sideline reporters the network will use this season. Tracy Wolfson, who has been CBS’s lead college football reporter for 10 years, will join the No. 1 broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the chief sideline role.
Dell and Evan Washburn will work with other announcer pairings, presumably including new No. 2 team Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts.
The new role provides official closure on Dell’s time at NESN, which was somewhat controversial at the end. In late January, the network confirmed to Boston.com and the Globe that Dell would not be a part of the Red Sox coverage this season.
That came following confirmation on New Year’s Eve of one of the worst-kept secrets in the city — that she was dating Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks and had been for some time. Middlebrooks tweeted a picture of himself with Dell out on the town that night.
While that was presumed to be a reason for her departure — it at least presented the perception of a conflict of interest — it was not the entire reason.
NESN management was frustrated, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, that Dell, who improved greatly during her time at NESN, drew interest from Turner Sports and Fox Sports 1 and was considering breaking her contract.
In February, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said Dell, who was demoted to a less-prominent studio/reporter role, was free to leave whenever she wanted, which caused some consternation among NESN management.