“Michael Kay and the Mad Dog” doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Michael Kay has booked Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to appear as a guest on his Wednesday radio show, escalating his ratings war with Mike Francesa on the final day of the Nielsen winter book period.
Russo, who spent 19 years as Francesa’s co-host on WFAN, will appear on ESPN alongside former Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira.
Francesa, on the other hand, said he will have on Ringer chief Bill Simmons for his Wednesday show.
The rival hosts are ratcheting up the pressure on each other as they find themselves neck-and-neck in the winter book ratings. Kay could be on the verge of beating Francesa for the first time, depending on how the stations count the Nielsen audio metrics.
ESPN and WFAN are feuding over whether to include streaming in the men’s 25-54 demographic, because the stations sell advertising against the numbers in different ways.
WFAN has unsuccessfully been trying to secure Francesa a co-host as he struggles to hold on to the top spot.
He hasn’t had a co-host since Russo left “Mike and the Mad Dog” over a decade ago, though the two hosts have occasionally gotten back together for reunion events.
WFAN attempted to hire Adam Schein to help out Francesa on the air, The Post’s Andrew Marchand reported last week. But Schein rebuffed the station’s attempts and re-signed with SiriusXM to stay with Russo’s Mad Dog Radio.
The onetime powerhouse duo has vowed to never permanently reunite on-air. Meanwhile, Russo is closing in on a new deal of his own with SiriusXM, Marchand reported.
Kay beat Francesa, 5.8 to 5.6, for the month of February, according to the traditional Nielsen figures.