The Post has learned that Craig Carton is leaving WFAN.
Carton quit after nearly three years of ratings success, which in part led cable sports network FS1 to offer him a morning show named “The Carton Show” in his honor last September.
According to sources, Carton will now only work on the FS1 project, which will pay him seven figures.
He is expected to leave WFAN in a little over two weeks.
For Carton, the financial disparity between WFAN and FS1 was too great, and the previous schedule was too daunting to continue on New York afternoon broadcasts.
Even Audacy president Chris Oliviero, who oversees WFAN, gave Carton his blessing for accepting the FS1 deal, according to sources.
WFAN will be looking for a new partner for Evan Roberts in the afternoon.
Roberts will remain on the show and could potentially take Catton’s place as the show’s promoter.
Internally, Tiki Barber was the leading candidate, while externally, Jerry Ferrara was someone WFAN would consider, according to sources.
Barber, a former Giants great, currently co-hosts WFAN’s morning show “Tiki & Tierney.” Ferrara, from Bensonhurst, played Turtle on HBO’s Entourage.
Earlier this year, Ferrara did a show with Roberts that FAN execs loved.
Mike Francesa, who has retired twice, is not a candidate for another comeback.
Catton, 54, has been considering whether to leave for months because of his devotion to broadcasting and the loyalty factor.
Oliviero and WFAN are the designers behind the orchestrated media comeback.
In November 2020, Oliviero gave Carton a second chance at the station after spending a year in federal prison after being convicted of fraud.
Carton’s legal battles forced him to quit WFAN’s highly-rated “Boomer & Carton” morning show in September 2017.
Upon his return, Carton hoped to supplement his radio program with television appearances. Before landing on FS1, he almost joined the MLB Network.
FS1, while profitable, also had scheduling problems.
Carton said he wakes up at 2.30am for the 7am FS1 show.
FAN Afternoon starts at 2pm and runs until 6:30pm.
The schedule was exhausting, and it was difficult for Carton to find time for his family during the week.
Carton’s FAN contract expired last November, but he and Oliviero have been working on a handshake deal, knowing that Carton will eventually have to decide between FS1 and WFAN.
Carton’s motivation was that his FS1 contract would get bigger if he left FAN.
It’s possible he’s staying on the air on FS1, as Fox Sports executives are believed to be interested in a broadcast simulcast of the Caton TV show.
Caton was ordered to pay nearly $5 million in damages as part of his 2018 fraud conviction. With FS1, Carton will be able to do this even faster.
FS1 Executive Vice President of Content Charlie Dixon believes in Carton.
Carton’s first year at FS1 wasn’t great, but some at FS1 hoped Carton would fare better on television without the constraints and exposure of radio.
Last summer, FS1 tried to hire Damien Woody as Carton’s co-anchor, but ESPN kept Woody.
Brandon Jennings, Tim Hardaway and Cody Decker were on the panel for “The Carton Show.”
In front of the camera, Carton stands while the former athlete sits at the table, segment by segment, almost forming a teacher-student relationship.
For FAN, Carton delivered after Francesa, Joe Benigno and Roberts didn’t.
Francesa was initially promoted by his tag team partner Chris Russo, and then as a solo show, surpassed ESPN New York’s “The Michael Kay Show” in ratings.
Nevertheless, Kay defeated Francesa at the end of Francesa’s legendary journey.
Kay also defeated Francesa’s original replacements, Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott; as well as Roberts and Benigno.
After Carton and Roberts’ initial ratings tug-of-war with Kay, winning some books and losing others, the FAN duo continued to dominate Kay.
Kay’s show has consistently ranked outside the top 10 in ratings, while Caton and Roberts have consistently ranked second.
It is no longer a contest.
Although Carton finished in the afternoon, he will likely continue his Saturday WFAN show on the risks of gambling.
After his release from prison, Carton said his gambling addiction fueled his criminal behavior.
As he had done nearly six years ago, Carton left FAN again, but this time for much better.
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