ESPN Laid Off Chris Cote, Dan Le Batard Rehired Him and Will Pay Salary Out of His Own Pocket

Shaq's Fun House
Shaq's Fun House / Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Chris Cote, a producer on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, was among the hundreds affected by the massive ESPN layoffs last week. Friction between the radio show and its corporate owners has been a not-so-subtle plot point for months, what with an hour of airtime disappearing last summer and the future appearing particularly fractious.

The show was off Friday and Monday, the latter its first day of simulcasting under the ESPN+ umbrella. During this time — and know that the inside-baseballness of it all is not lost on me — people who get the show, a rabid and vocal and singularly focused community, staged a full-scape effort to essentially save Cote. They appealed to ESPN and logged feedback at an alarming rate to the company's support chat.

This morning, on the new digital-only hour (7:00-mark), Le Batard offered some resolution in the issue.

"I'm going to hire Chris Cote as my personal assistant to fill the role, with a raise, on his current salary," he said. "I'll cover the raise, I'll cover the entire thing."

When asked what it means to the outward-facing show, Le Batard revealed that Cote will still be on it, sparking the type of genuine excitement rare for an early-morning podcast.

The New York Times' Kevin Draper has pulled some other interesting parts of the conversation because that's how you ascend to the highest of journalistic heights.

Two things have happened in the wake of this news. First, I've informed my team that under no circumstances would I do the same for them. A handful of us splitting my salary would leave us all like Christopher Lloyd in Dennis the Menace, eating cans of beans by campfire and becoming even more greasy.

Second, the generosity has been heralded by those both inside and outside the larger cinematic LAF universe.

I'd be remiss if I didn't underline the sympathy for all the others who lost their jobs over the past few days. One victory should not obscure overwhelming loss. But dammit, there are a lot of people extremely happy that one of their favorites, a guy universally liked and respected, will continue parachuting into their lives five days a week.