SBD/Issue 167/Sports Media

Kornheiser Leaving "MNF" After Three Years; Gruden Joins Booth

Kornheiser Cites His Fear Of
Flying As Reason For Leaving
Citing his fear of flying, Tony Kornheiser has decided to leave his role as a "MNF" analyst. He will be replaced in the booth by former NFL coach Jon Gruden, joining Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski. "My fear of planes is legendary and sadly true," Kornheiser said. "When I looked at the upcoming schedule it was the perfect storm that would've frequently moved me from the bus to the air. I kept looking at the schedule the past month and wanted to find a way to quietly extricate myself." A former Washington Post columnist and host of ESPN's "PTI," Kornheiser has spent three years in the "MNF" booth. He will continue to host "PTI" with Michael Wilbon. Gruden had appeared on NFL Network during that net's coverage of the NFL Draft and Combine. He was rumored to be in the running to replace Cris Collinsworth as an analyst on NFL Network's live games. As part of his ESPN contract, Gruden has committed to appear on ESPN Radio and other platforms for ESPN's '10 Pro Bowl telecast and Super Bowl and NFL Draft coverage (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

SHAKEUP IN FOX' PRODUCTION TEAMS: EYE ON SPORTS MEDIA reported Fox Sports Chair & CEO David Hill has demoted lead NFL director Artie Kempner, relegating him from the "A" team to the "C" team. Sources said that there has been a "rift or some level of tension" between Hill and Kempner, who has served as lead director for Fox NFL games since '03. Meanwhile, Hill also has split the NFL team of producer Bob Stenner and director Sandy Grossman, who have "worked together at Fox and CBS Sports for more than four decades." A source said that the split "has many people scratching their heads, as this is supposed to be Grossman's last year" (EYEONSPORTSMEDIA.com, 5/18).

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