After eight years, the lovely Erin Andrews (34) let her ESPN contract expire on June 30 and will now be employed by FOX Sports. This season, FOX will be competing for the first time ever with college football mainstays ESPN, ABC, and CBS in primetime. Andrews will be hosting a new 30-minute Saturday studio show starting on September 1. Her role at FOX Sports will also include MLB and NFL coverage. She may be getting more money at FOX Sports, but any kind of a studio roll will only continue to diminish what once was a skyrocketing sports broadcasting career for her!
As I’ve remarked before on Andrews, nobody and I mean nobody has ever done a better live sideline or in-game interview! She could get anything out of the toughest, tight-lipped, cliché-minded, in-your-face coaches like Steve Spurrier, Bobby Knight, Brian Kelly, Pat Summitt, or Augie Garrido. It was special watching her immediately put her interviewee at ease, then get out of them what nobody else could….and ALWAYS smiles all around at the end too. Once she moved to studio host/co-host, all that magic was lost. Plain and simple…..she’s just no good in the studio managing a group of talking heads. Her first hour of expanded College GameDay on ESPNU for the last two years was an embarrassment, very awkward and forced…..sometimes even hard to watch, and that’s saying a lot considering how easy she is on the eyes! For college football, FOX Sports now has a 12-year deal with the PAC-12, and will be covering the Big Ten title game along with the Cotton Bowl. So what….that’s not much! Their first game pits pre-season powerhouse USC Trojans in the LA Coliseum against the mighty Hawaii Warriors….this won’t be a college football game, it’ll be a brutal massacre. ESPN, ABC, and CBS will still be covering all the games that college football fans want to see….and seeing Andrews as a studio host will NOT help their ratings!
At best, her “expanded” role for FOX MLB and NFL coverage is difficult to envision. FOX not too long ago tried a studio pre-game MLB show with Jeanne Zelasko and former manager Kevin Kennedy that failed miserably. They even tried to take it out of the studio, and put it (literally) on the field. That didn’t work either. If FOX could get baseball crazies like ex-major leaguers Eric Byrnes and Steve Lyons or Rob Dibble with her and let them all run wild and unscripted, it might be mildly entertaining and worth watching. As far as NFL coverage for Erin, is FOX perhaps seeing her resuming the cheesy role of “weather girl” Jillian Barberie? God, I hope NOT. This show already has more talking heads than an episode of Nancy Grace! Perhaps Andrews could be a replacement for the non-descript Curt Menefee? That might work, but again I just can’t see her balancing everybody’s face time and never finding enough time for her own. Plus, I don’t think Bradshaw would ever stop flirting with her!
As far as this story goes, two things I know for sure. First, with the departure of Michele Beadle and now Erin Andrews from ESPN, Jenn Brown now moves to the head of the class. (However, if her performance at the recent men’s CWS is any indicator, Brown can only dream of being the next Andrews). Second, unless the Fox executives in sports can find a strong interviewing role for Andrews, they and their viewers will become very disenchanted……quickly, no matter how good she looks!
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