David Kaplan announces he will be leaving NBC Sports Chicago on December 30th

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

Kaplan was among the NBCU employees qualified to receive the acquisition under the mandate. NBCSCH didn’t want her to leave, but she said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

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

“Kap is one of a kind,” said John Schippman, vice president of content at NBCSCH. “He has made a tremendous contribution to our network and his passion, his opinions and his love of Chicago teams have made him a loved and respected figure, not only by fans, but by his peers as well. We wish him the best and can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Kaplan, who will turn 62 on Saturday, said he is not close to retiring and will continue to 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 deal with the Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox expires in October 2024. There’s no guarantee the teams will stay with the network, so taking advantage of an enticing signing is a prudent choice.

NBCU has offered buyouts, or voluntary early retirement opportunities, companywide to employees who are 57 years of age or older and have worked there for at least 10 years. It is unknown whether other NBCSCH employees are accepting the offer, which comes at a tense time at the media companies 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 launch the Marquee Sports Network. He hosted “SportsTalk Live” before it was canceled in August 2020, hosted BetCasts that aired alongside Bulls games, and hosted “Football Aftershow,” the station’s Bears postgame show.

“Unfiltered” and “Football Aftershow” will continue following Kaplan’s departure. NBCSCH is evaluating options to replace it.

Kaplan will still appear on TV as an analyst for the Missouri Valley Conference Basketball Game of the Week. But for now, her normal workday will end after her ESPN 1000 morning show, rather than stretching into the evening. Kaplan is known for his endless energy and enthusiasm, so he may need to adjust to the extra downtime.

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

He landed his first television job in 1987. An analyst assigned to do a DePaul basketball game was unable to make it to Chicago due to a snowstorm. The network that carried the game was called Kaplan, which was recommended. Though he’d never been on TV before, he assured the network that he had. His performance earned him an encore.

But those ended up on NBCSCH, which continues to feel the effects of its parent company’s struggles to navigate through a changing media landscape.

“The last 15 years have been an amazing journey filled with so many amazing memories and friendships,” said Kaplan. “I look forward to continuing to build 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 covering sports on TV in my hometown.

“Stay tuned for my next adventure anytime, anywhere. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of entering your homes each evening. You the awesome sports fans of Chicago make this such an amazing way to make a living.

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