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Dan Le Batard, a longtime sportswriter and radio host who has become one of ESPN's most recognizable personalities, is leaving the company after 22 years.

ESPN announced in a news release Thursday that Le Batard will exit the company in early 2021, with his final appearances on both radio and television scheduled for Jan. 4.

Norby Williamson, the network's executive vice president and executive editor, said in a statement that ESPN and the 51-year-old Le Batard had "mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities."

"Gracias to ESPN for unleashing Papi and Stugotz upon an unsuspecting America, and for lending its substantive credibility to our careening clown car," Le Batard said in part of a statement released by ESPN. "Can’t believe Stugotz finally achieved his dream of becoming a high-priced free agent."

ESPN said the final episode of Le Batard's longtime radio show, "The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz," will air Jan. 4. It will then be replaced in ESPN's lineup by "Greeny" with Mike Greenberg.

The television show for which Le Batard is best known, "Highly Questionable," will continue without him. Le Batard and his father, Gonzalo "Papi" Le Batard, are slated to host their final episode of the show also on Jan. 4.

A University of Miami graduate, Le Batard got his start as a newspaper columnist at The Miami Herald in 1990 and later began hosting a radio show in the area. He joined ESPN The Magazine in 1998, as a contributor, and went on to serve as a radio host, television reporter or commentator on a host of the network's programs and platforms.

Le Batard's television show, which was originally titled "Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable," debuted in 2011. His radio show, co-hosted by Jon "Stugotz" Weiner, was added to ESPN Radio's national programming in 2015.

More recently, Le Batard made headlines when ESPN abruptly laid off one of his producers. Le Batard said he was "blindsided" by the move and rehired the producer, Chris Cote, as his personal assistant — paying him out of his own pocket, and giving him a raise.

Le Batard has not indicated what he will do next.

"To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one," he said in the statement released by ESPN. "And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough."

Contact Tom Schad at tschad@lightfiretech.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad

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