News broke last night that sportscaster and television personality Erin Andrews will be leaving ESPN, where she has been for eight years. Richard Deitsch at Sports Illustarted reports that Fox Sports is aggressively pursuing her, and she recently met with Fox officials ...regarding a major role in Fox's college football coverage.
Erin Andrews is leaving ESPN, an ESPN spokesperson said. She did great work for us, and we made an aggressive offer to keep her. We wish her the best on her next chapter.
Andrews at Fox Sports that makes sense for both parties. Andrews, since signing an extension with ESPN two years ago, has primarily covered college football, although she has also covered MLB and college basketball during her time with the network. Fox Sports will be a good match for that experience because of the recent 13-year contract the network signed with the Pac-12, guaranteeing it a minimum of eight regular season games each year.
Andrews' contract with ESPN expires in June. ESPN watchdog Deadspin writes that the move is ...definitely a surprise. Of ESPN's big names who had contracts set to expire -- Michelle Beadle and Scott Van Pelt were the others -- she was pursued the least aggressively.
Two weeks ago, Deadspin also reported that Andrews didn't have any suitors to use as leverage against ESPN. That's since changed, but Deadspin did publish some damning quotes from an anonymous TV executive that might explain the hesitancy surrounding the reporter.
'No, I'd never hire her,' said one executive we cold-called ... 'She can't host. There's no next step' ... 'I just don't think she's that talented.'
ESPN anchors who have left the network have cited the company's reluctance to make any one personality too recognizable. Instead, reports suggest, it's all about the ESPN brand. With Andrews making headlines for the infamous stalking incident, her time on Dancing with the Stars and the alleged feud with now ex-ESPNer Michelle Beadle, it's possible executives might prefer a face with less baggage on the sidelines next season.
That might all be pure speculation, but considering all the evidence and how quickly she jumped ship, it's hard not to wonder what ESPN's aggressive offer really was.