ESPN viewers, in case you've been holding your breath, you can relax. ESPN and Chris Berman inked a deal that keeps Berman on the air for ESPN for "years to come." ESPN's release is below, but no details on the number of years or what he's getting paid. On a personal note, I have spoken with Chris several times in my more than 16 years at the Press. He's always been approachable and pleasant and, most important to me, was gracious and kind to my students from Youth Journalism International whenever he met them over the years.
Chris Berman Signs Extension to Remain with ESPN Six-time National Sportscaster of the Year Chris Berman, who joined ESPN in October 1979 – less than a month after the network launched – has signed an extension to remain with ESPN.
One of the preeminent sports commentators of his generation, Berman will continue as the leading voice and face of ESPN’s National Football League studio coverage as host of Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and Monday Night Football halftime, and NFL highlight segments on SportsCenter. He will also continue his play-by-play duties for the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and his familiar host role for ESPN’s U.S. Open golf coverage, among other responsibilities.
Berman’s extension ensures that he will remain a fixture on ESPN’s NFL Sundays. His 25 years as host of Sunday NFL Countdown (formerly NFL Gameday) – which pre-dates ESPN’s first NFL television contract – is by far the longest streak ever among all weekly pro football studio show hosts. Berman is also a fan favorite for his signature calls on NFL highlights, for which he earned widespread acclaim as host of the classic NFL PrimeTime from 1987-2005.
"Chris has contributed so much to our company’s success in reaching sports fans for more than three decades, and we are thrilled that one of the most important figures in our history will remain a vital part of ESPN’s future,” said ESPN President George Bodenheimer. Added ESPN Executive Vice President, Content John Skipper: “Chris will continue to be the face and voice of ESPN, delivering sports news, expert storytelling and, of course, his signature highlights with the same passion, energy and enthusiasm that has resonated with fans since he first arrived in Bristol in 1979.”
Said Berman: “Home is where the heart is, and I am thrilled to be staying home at ESPN for years to come. It’s been a privilege to work alongside my colleagues and an honor to be welcomed into the homes of sports fans for over 30 years. In fact, since this all began in 1979, that means we’ve been together for parts of five decades. I can’t wait to continue the journey.”
This week Berman will also occupy his familiar host position on ESPN’s main set at the 2010 NFL Draft – Thursday, April 22 (7:30-11 p.m. ET) and Friday, April 23 (6-10:30 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2). Berman has covered the Draft for 30 years and hosted ESPN’s annual telecast since 1987.