SBD/January 21, 2014/Media

ESPN Could Replace Musburger On Saturday Night Football, With Fowler Top Candidate

Sources said Musburger (l) is unhappy with prospect of losing ABC's main game
ESPN's Brent Musburger "has been offered the job of lead college football announcer" with the SEC Network, but it is "unclear whether Musburger will take that offer," according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. Sources said that Musburger is "unhappy with how the process is shaking out." It "seems clear" that Musburger is "being pulled from the lead announcer spot for ABC's Saturday Night Football." "College GameDay" host Chris Fowler "is the leading candidate" to call the ABC Saturday night games, "as well as next year's national championship game," alongside Kirk Herbstreit. Fowler and Herbstreit also would "call one of the semifinal games." However, Fowler's contract with the net "expires after the World Cup in July." Deitsch noted there are "a couple of catches" to Fowler being given the new CFB role. First, some in ESPN management "do not want Fowler to host both GameDay and call a college football game the same night." Herbstreit "performs the double as an analyst," but Fowler's responsibilities on "GameDay" are "much more demanding than Herbstreit's." The "GameDay" program also is "a profitable and marketing behemoth" and there are "some who believe changing the talent setup poses significant risks." ESPN's Rece Davis, who currently calls the net's Thursday night CFB games, also is "a candidate for the Musburger spot." Davis' contract "is coming up as well, so he has leverage." If Fowler takes on solely the ABC announcing role, Davis "is a lock" to take over "GameDay." Deitsch cited sources as saying that an idea involving the Mike Tirico becoming ESPN's lead Saturday night CFB announcer, "as well as continuing" the net's "MNF" telecasts, "ultimately was rejected" (SI.com, 1/20).
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