SBD/July 15, 2014/Media

Pam Oliver Moved To Fox' No. 2 NFL Team For '14, Will Be Reassigned In '15

Fox is moving NFL sideline reporter Pam Oliver "to the network’s No. 2 team" this fall, as Erin Andrews will join Joe Buck and Troy Aikman with the net's top broadcast team, according to Richard Deitsch of SI.com. Following this season, Oliver will "no longer be a sideline reporter at all." Fox Sports execs in April traveled to Atlanta to tell Oliver "in person that she would no longer hold the job that has been her professional life for two decades." Oliver was "stunned when they initially informed her that not only was she being removed from Fox's No. 1 NFL team, but also that she was being taken off the NFL sidelines completely" in '14. She "ultimately worked things out with Fox," as Fox Sports President & COO Eric Shanks and Exec Producer John Entz "eventually agreed to give Oliver one final year on the NFL sidelines." Shanks said, "In the last five years we have made a lot of changes with the NFL crews. We have made changes to keep our coverage across the board fresh. ... This is kind of the next move in that evolution." But one veteran NFL reporter said of Oliver, "She’s not blonde, nor is she in the demographic." Deitsch noted Oliver last week signed a new multiyear contract with Fox and "will be doing long-form pieces, specials, major interviews and some producing as well." She will "continue her work on Showtime’s 60 Minutes Sports." Oliver turned 53 in March, but she said that no one at Fox "has ever indicated that they have a problem with her age." However, she added, "I live in the real world and I know that television tends to get younger and where women are concerned" (SI.com, 7/14).

VARIOUS REACTIONS TO THE MOVE: Oliver's move off Fox' top NFL team created some waves on Twitter yesterday. CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish: "I realize it’s easy to beat up Fox for demoting Pam Oliver in favor of Erin Andrews, but I’d rather just congratulate Erin. … There are lots of pretty women who get into this business, and yet only one has managed to have the success Erin’s enjoyed. … In other words, if she weren’t also talented she would’ve disappeared a while ago. Seems insulting when folks refuse to acknowledge that." ESPN's Jemele Hill: "Pam Oliver is a legend, but Erin will be terrific. Let's not turn this into some sort of racial catfight." Sporting News' Jesse Spector: "Pam Oliver was a rare provider of substance in a tough job to be anything but a distraction. So of course Fox replaces her." The Washington Post's Cindy Boren: "I do not approve this switch, Fox Sports. ... I care about the quality of information I am getting and Oliver trumps Andrews." Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman: "All I'll say is Pam Oliver is one of the classiest people I've ever known in this business."
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