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New WWE hire already caught up in controversy

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WWE announced the hiring of Lee Fitting on January 9, 2024, touting his ability to generate “both critical acclaim and mass appeal.”

As recently reported, Fitting will serve as Head of Media & Production, replacing Kevin Dunn, having previously worked for ESPN for more than 25 years.
With his leadership resulting in success for College Gameday and Monday Night Football on ESPN, some of the accolades received have been called into question.
According to a report by The Athletic published on January 11, 2024, ESPN has reportedly been caught creating fake names for Emmy Award consideration in a long-running scheme.
The use of the made-up names was to secure awards for on-air talent who would have not been eligible to win under the rules of NATAS (the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences).

The Athletic notes that Shelley Smith, an on-air reporter for ESPN, had been contacted by Stephanie Druley, the head of studio and event production at ESPN, advising her that she would have to return two Emmys that she had won a decade ago.
Smith would be one of a number of names prohibited by NATAS for “double dipping” whereby an on-air talent was not able to be included in the list for an “outstanding weekly show” nomination.
Hosts could win individual awards, as The Athletic notes, for categories such as “outstanding host” or “studio analyst” but not be credited for the show itself.

It goes further say that this “request was one of many ESPN made of some of its biggest stars” in 2023 after NATAS “uncovered a scheme that the network used to acquire more than 30 (Emmys) for on-air talent ineligible to receive them.”
In a report by the New York Post on January 11, Fitting was named with his “somewhat mysterious dismissal from ESPN in August” last year being noted.
New York Post columnist Andrew Marchand also confirmed he was told that the scheme was a “factor in Fitting’s dismissal”.

Fitting oversaw both Monday Night Football and College GameDay over his time with ESPN, with The Athletic noting that he was able to turn the later into a “cultural phenomenon and a revenue machine” leading to eight Emmys for outstanding weekly show between 2008 and 2018.
Per The Athletic, Fitting is no longer eligible for future Emmy Award nominations as part of his former employer’s punishment.
Recently, it was reported that personnel in WWE had hoped the company would re-hire Mike Mansury, who was hired as AEW Senior Vice President & Co-Executive Producer in December 2022.

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