Kristine Leahy leaving Boston for another large market
Kristine Leahy left Channel 25 earlier this month, and she’ll be leaving Boston soon. But by no means is she leaving sports television.
Leahy, who landed a sports anchor/reporter job at the local Fox affiliate last July despite relatively little experience, said she was not let go by the station a few weeks ago, but instead broke a contract that recently had the second year picked up.
“I’m very happy,’’ said Leahy, who arrived in Boston in 2006 as a freshman at Boston University and said she will depart the city over the next couple of weeks for a new television job in a major market, the details of which should be finalized soon. “Very happy.”
A spokesman for Channel 25 confirmed that Leahy did make the decision to leave, though industry sources indicated her performance at the station wasn’t unanimously well-received by her superiors.
But given that Leahy’s primary experience before Channel 25 consisted of hosting online programming for WEEI.com and serving as the in-arena host at TD Garden for Celtics games, she deserves praise for handling herself with poise and professionalism in a job she may not have been quite ready for but gradually grew into.
She probably would have benefited by taking a more conventional route to a major market, similar to the one followed by her successor, Brendan Fitzgerald, a Cape Cod native who arrives at Channel 25 after spending two years in Harlingen, Texas, after previously working his way up in jobs in Wyoming, Arizona, and Ithaca, N.Y.
But even a fledgling sports broadcaster would be foolish to say no to a relatively prominent job in a major market such as Boston, even if said station’s commitment to sports coverage may be waning.
And for Leahy, it really has worked out for the best.
“I’ve loved my time in Boston,’’ said Leahy, who could announce her new destination as soon as next week. “I’ve really appreciated the support I got from WEEI and the Celtics and Fox and the fans. I will miss it, but I’m really looking forward to the next opportunity in my life. I’m pretty excited.
“I’m sad, but I’m excited. It’ll be good.’’
Coming on a Blitz
Former Patriot Rodney Harrison, stellar as a studio analyst on “Football Night in America” and “Sunday Night Football,’’ will begin hosting a two-hour weekend NFL show for NBC Sports Radio called, surely not coincidentally, “Safety Blitz,” on Sept. 8. When Harrison’s program and other NBC Sports Radio offerings may be heard in the Boston market remains unclear, but all indications are that the network will begin broadcasting on the 1510 AM signal over the next few months, if not sooner. Anthony Pepe, the general manager at 1510, did not respond to a message seeking comment, while an NBC spokesman said only that the network is “very pleased with response we’re getting in the marketplace.’’
Steve DeOssie is no longer a part of “The Fifth Quarter” or any of Channel 4’s other sports coverage, with former Patriots tight end Christian Fauria having taken over the role. DeOssie is continuing to contribute to WEEI and Comcast SportsNet New England. You’ll recall that DeOssie, who played in both New England and New York and whose son Zac is a current Giant, was belted with backlash in February after he spoke at a Giants pep rally before Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots. “I’m a Giant in my heart, I’m so glad my son’s a New York Giant,’’ he said in his speech. “I struggle sometimes up in New England, but I know I’ve got a home in New York. I love you guys.’’ . . . Comcast SportsNet New England will make another worthy addition when Trenni Kusnierek debuts as an anchor/reporter on Sept. 10. Kusnierek, who along with Hazel Mae was among the original talent at the MLB Network when it launched in January 2009, currently works for WTMJ radio in Milwaukee.
Word on Watney
Fairly or not, Heidi Watney seems to find her name mentioned in puzzling circumstances sometimes. The latest is the report this week, first noted by the website The Big Lead, that she is a candidate to host ESPN “First Take’’ when she is yet to debut for Time Warner as a Lakers reporter, the gig she left NESN for last November. Watney has essentially been on a one-year hiatus since Time Warner’s deal with the Lakers doesn’t begin until the coming season. But there was some frustration at the company that word of her hiring got out before it wanted to reveal its talent lineup, and Time Warner reportedly hired her without the Lakers’ consent after agreeing to get the team’s approval on personnel moves . . . Speaking of “First Take,’’ can we agree that’s it’s not newsworthy of Associated Press coverage when contrarian-for-a-buck Skip Bayless says something particularly foolish for the sole reason of getting a reaction, as he did this week when he insinuated that the Yankees’ rejuvenated Derek Jeter might use performance-enhancing drugs? The real news is when Bayless gets through a show without saying something premeditatedly controversial.
Chad Finn can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globechadfinn.