An ESPN official lost his job because of a plan involving the Emmys.

An ESPN official lost his job because of a plan involving the Emmys.

It may be easier to understand why Lee Fitting was fired from ESPN in August after hearing on Thursday that the network had been involved in a long-running plan to get Emmy Awards for live talent that wasn’t qualified.

The plan to change the names on the Emmy statuettes did “factor” into Fitting’s firing, according to a story Thursday by Andrew Marchand in The Post.

Fitting was named WWE’s head of video and production operations on Tuesday. According to The Athletic, as part of ESPN’s sentence, he can’t win any more Emmys.

The former ESPN executive was in charge of making shows like “Monday Night Football” and “College GameDay” until the network fired him. Along with Fitting, ESPN boss Craig Lazarus was also named as not being able to win any more Emmys.

It was revealed in a shocking report that ESPN created bogus identities for Emmy Awards to get statuettes for live talent who were not allowed to win them by US television industry rules.

The network would send in the fake names, which had letters that looked like those of on-air talent, naming them as an assistant producer. They would then re-engrave the statuettes and give them to the talent.

The NATAS finally found out about this, and as punishment, ESPN had to give back the awards and was banned from hosting the Emmys for one year for top leadership.

CNN said in a release Thursday that some members of its staff were wrong when they put in the names of people who had not been nominated for Emmys since 1997 in categories in which they were not eligible.

The Athletic was the first to report on the Emmy scam. They said that ESPN stars like Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and Desmond Howard on “College GameDay” were given awards they didn’t deserve.

The study said there was no proof that any of the winners knew what happened. CNN said in a statement, “This was an error of judgment to acknowledge on-air people who were important members of our production team.”

The Athletic story said that on-air talent could not be listed with the people who won the Emmy for best weekly live show.

It was possible for hosts, experts, and reporters in the show to win solo awards, but they couldn’t do what the Television Academy calls “double dipping.”

So fake names with the same letters as reporters and on-air hosts were sent in. For example, Kirk Henry (Kirk Herbstreit), Lee Clark (Lee Corso), and Dirk Howard (Desmond Howard) were listed as associate producers on credit lists.

The Athletic looked at the credit lists for the years that “College GameDay” got the award for best weekly show (2010–11, 2014–18), and they found a few fake names.

The academy said in a statement that it found multiple fake awards that ESPN sent to several Sports Emmy contests.

According to The Athletic, no one was in charge of the fraud. Craig Lazarus, who was vice president and executive producer of original material and features; Lee Fitting, who was senior vice president of production and oversaw “College GameDay” and other properties; and Drew Gallagher, who was a coordinating producer on “College GameDay,” were some of the ESPN employees that NATAS said could not compete in the Emmys in the future.

When upper management at ESPN learned about what happened, “the network took steps to shoulder responsibility for the actions taken by its personnel, to investigate thoroughly, and to of course correct.”

The network said the stunt became “a misguided attempt” to point out TV stars who weren’t qualified for certain categories. The awards that were won were allegedly re-engraved with the hosts’ real names.

The organization that runs the Emmys, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), told The Athletic that it had “found some false credits submitted by ESPN for multiple Sports Emmys competitions.”

Then, NATAS told ESPN’s top management about this discovery. They have since apologized and punished those who were guilty.

The Athletic’s story was mostly about ESPN’s “College GameDay” show, which won eight Emmys from 2008 to 2018 for Outstanding Weekly Studio Show.