Heidi Watney, the in-game reporter on NESN’s Red Sox broadcasts since 2008, is leaving the network, industry sources have confirmed.
A University of San Diego graduate who worked at a television station in Fresno, Calif., immediately before joining NESN in April 2008, Watney will return to her native California to work as a sideline reporter on Lakers telecasts on Time Warner.
Watney, a former first runner-up in the Miss California pageant, was popular with viewers and increasingly polished at her job after replacing Tina Cervasio in the reporter’s role. But her departure does not come as a surprise.
She nearly left the network by mutual decision following last season, but her contract option was picked up. Sources said the decision to retain her was not a unanimous one.
When contacted last night via text while on vacation in Australia, Watney responded: “Nothing is final and not dealing with it until I return at [the] end of the month.’’
Red Sox play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo will remain with NESN, signing a four-year contract.