ESPN castoffs reunited on new media project, along with 'The Office' writer


Several prominent former ESPN stars are teaming up on a forthcoming media venture.

Jemele Hill, who spent over a decade with the Worldwide Leader on various roles before leaving for The Atlantic in late 2018, is joining the nascent Meadowlark Media as a creative advisor.

Meadowlark, announced earlier this year, is the brainchild of former ESPN exec John Skipper and popular former longtime on-air host Dan Le Batard.

The apparently still-forming media outlet will be an "independent" content company emphasizing the work of individual contributors, with an initial focus on sports, Variety reported in January.

Michael Schur, one of the writers of the hit NBC comedy "The Office," will be joining Hill in a similar creative advisory role, Meadowlark announced on Wednesday. Schur also appeared in the long-running show on occasion in the role of Mose Schrute, the oddball cousin of Dwight who lived on their family's beet farm. He has long dabbled in sports media, most notably as a writer for the seminal pro-analytics blog "Fire Joe Morgan," and later on various other projects, including a podcast with the popular sportswriter Joe Posnanski.

Hill said she was excited to be working with Skipper again.

“This is a partnership that made too much sense," she said. "Skipper was one of my biggest champions while at ESPN and I have such deep, unconditional respect for Dan and greatly admire his boundless creativity. At this stage in my career, I just want to be aligned with creative people who are like-minded. That doesn’t mean we always have to agree, but there is a core belief system that we share. This partnership checks every box for me.”

Skipper, who stepped away from ESPN in late 2017, citing substance abuse issues, said Meadowlark was fortunate to have added Hill and Schur.

“We’re quite lucky to have such talented and accomplished people believe in the Meadowlark vision,” said Skipper. “With Jemele and Michael on board, we hope to establish an environment that provides creators with the ideal place to develop, sell and produce their career’s best work.”

Hill left ESPN amid a series of disagreements with company brass over her outspoken support for Colin Kaepernick, criticism of President Trump, and what she characterized as being sidelined for her political opinions.