Mike Francesa bashes colleagues in official WFAN return

Mike Francesa is back and he’s already taking shots — at his teammates.

WFAN officially announced the news of Francesa’s return on Friday morning, calling it a partnership among the station’s parent company, Entercom, Francesa and CAA Sports.

On Friday morning, Francesa went on sister station 1010 WINS — not WFAN — to say that WFAN has been in a “bit of a slump,” a shot mostly at the ratings of the program he is replacing in the afternoon, Chris Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray, who barely lost to 98.7 FM’s “Michael Kay Show” in the last book. It was also a dig at the morning show, “Boomer and Gio,” whose ratings were a little down as well.

The morning duo of Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, who have been mocking Francesa, replayed the 1010 WINS clip moments later.

Francesa “retired” in December after three decades on the air and a year-and-a-half celebration of himself. He had planned to work again, but found few substantial offers, so he went over the heads of WFAN executives and to the president of Entercom, Dan Field, to accept a pay cut, according to sources.

Francesa could have remained at his old salary at many times during his retirement tour. He tried to get a substantial pay raise when Craig Carton was arrested, but Entercom said no. Now, Entercom took Francesa back at a discount.

Francesa’s new show will begin next Tuesday (May 1) and will eventually include a video component, as he and the company will start an app called “Mike’s On” that will feature a free livestream of his show daily. Francesa’s Sunday NFL show will return, but will only be on the “Mike’s On” app. The app, according to the station, won’t be ready until the summer. It will have a website and a subscription component for fans who want archival footage. Francesa said he will also do events.

There was no local interest by any regional TV networks to broadcast Francesa’s show, as YES turned to the “Michael Kay Show” years ago and MSG and SNY wanted no part of Francesa. Francesa’s national simulcast on FS1 was a failure in the past.

Francesa’s new show will run from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, while “The Afternoon Drive” will need a new name as CMB will be on from 1 to 3 p.m. Meanwhile, Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno are thrilled that Francesa made the move back to the afternoons. The duo is the only regular team that likes Francesa and, after adding an hour and a pay increase, following Francesa’s departure, Benigno and Roberts will keep the money but lose the hour as they go back to their old 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Entercom, the station’s parent company, announced it as a partnership among WFAN, Francesa and his agency, CAA.

Francesa, 64, is taking a substantial pay cut from the around $3 million he was making, according to sources. The exact money figure is not yet known. Newsday reported the contract will run until 2020.

Sources said that before Francesa decided to take back his afternoon spot, he looked into acquiring the rights to the name “Mike & the Mad Dog.” The name is owned by WFAN, and although it is Francesa’s first name and his old partner Chris Russo’s nickname, they would need to have an agreement with WFAN’s parent company, Entercom, to use it.

It is not entirely clear how Francesa intended to use it, as there would be many areas where he and Russo could do events or a show. Russo said earlier this week that he set up talks with Francesa and SiriusXM executives that would have potentially had Francesa and Russo co-hosting once a week together and Francesa doing solo shows on satellite radio.

For months and months during his “retirement” tour, Francesa said he was done with the radio station, which even most people inside thought was true, at least in the short term. Could Francesa have come back in a year or more in some fashion? That didn’t seem out of the realm of possibility, but not after four months.

However, Francesa had no plan after WFAN. The lucrative offers that he thought would be available to him were not there. During a feisty early March conversation with The Post, Francesa said, “You don’t know what I’m doing.” It was clear he did not, either.

After the stipulation in his old contract that he could not work again until April 1, Francesa still did not have a chair to sit in — and no real good choices. In a much more civil talk with The Post, Francesa said he knew what he was going to do.

“Only three people know,” Francesa said. “And one is my wife.”

The third was presumably his new agent, Mike Levine, whom Francesa had denied working with during the first talk with The Post.

Most likely Francesa still didn’t know what he was doing in early April, as, according to sources, the deal with WFAN was only consummated last week.

The Post reported on Monday that Francesa was trying to get back to The FAN and, as it turned out, he was using real or imagined leverage from 710-WOR and 98.7 ESPN New York.

Now, everyone knows what is next for him. Even Francesa.

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