Illinois

David Kaplan announces he’s leaving NBC Sports Chicago on Dec. 30

David Kaplan, a ubiquitous voice at NBC Sports Chicago since 2008, will leave the network December 30 after accepting a buyout from parent company NBCUniversal. He announced his decision Thursday on his evening show Unfiltered with David Kaplan, which debuted April 4.

Kaplan was among the NBCU employees who qualified for the takeover based on their tenure. NBCSCH didn’t want him to go, but said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

“This provides me with an opportunity to advance the next chapter of my career,” said Kaplan. “It will also give me a great opportunity to spend more time with my wife Mindy and our four sons and their growing families. I will continue to be very active in the Chicago sports media world.”

“Kap is unique,” said John Schippman, vice president of content at NBCSCH. “He has made tremendous contributions to our network, and his passion, opinions and love for Chicago’s teams have made him a well-liked and respected figure, not just with fans but with his peers as well. We wish him all the best and are excited to see what comes next.”

Kaplan, who turns 62 on Saturday, said he is not close to retirement and will continue to co-host the morning show on ESPN 1000 with Jonathan Hood. He will also continue to produce videos for his YouTube channel, which has nearly 41,000 subscribers.

Kaplan has two years left on his contract, and NBCSCH’s rights agreement with the Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox expires in October 2024. There is no guarantee that teams will stay on the network, so taking advantage of an attractive buyout is a wise decision.

NBCU offered company-wide buyouts or voluntary early retirement opportunities to employees who were 57 years of age or older and had worked there for at least 10 years. It’s unknown if other NBCSCH employees will take up the offer, which comes at a time when media outlets are tightening their belts amid the country’s economic uncertainty.

Kaplan has hosted countless shows and events at NBCSCH. He hosted Cubs pregame and postgame shows until the team left the network in 2020 to form Marquee Sports Network. He hosted “SportsTalk Live” before it was canceled in August 2020, he hosted BetCasts that aired alongside Bulls games, and he hosted “Football Aftershow,” the network’s Bears postgame show.

“Unfiltered” and “Football Aftershow” continue after Kaplan leaves. NBCSCH is exploring ways to replace him.

Kaplan will continue to appear on television as an analyst for the Missouri Valley Conference basketball game of the week. But for now, his regular workday will end after his ESPN 1000 morning show instead of extending into the evening. Kaplan is known for his endless energy and enthusiasm, so he may have to adjust to the extra downtime.

Not long ago his days included hosting on ESPN 1000 from 9am to 12pm, then hosting “SportsTalk Live” at 6pm and then Cubs shoulder programming.

He got his first television job in 1987. An analyst covering a DePaul basketball game couldn’t make it to Chicago because of a snow storm. The network that carries the game called Kaplan was recommended. Although he had never been on television before, he assured the network he had. His performance earned him encores.

But that’s over for NBCSCH, which continues to feel the effects of its parent company’s struggles to navigate an evolving media landscape.

“The last 15 years have been an amazing ride filled with incredible memories and friendships,” said Kaplan. “I look forward to continuing to build on these relationships as I move into the next phase of my career. There are so many people I have to thank for giving me a front row seat to living my dream of televising sports in my hometown.

“Stay tuned for my next adventure, wherever and whenever that may be. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of coming into your home each evening. You, the amazing Chicago sports fans, make this an incredible way to make a living.”

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