Jemele Hill has been an ESPN.com columnist since 2006, and this fall, she’ll be branching out and trying new things: Like being a sideline reporter for college football games and maybe hosting First Take.
ESPN announced its new college football lineup for the upcoming season, and Hill’s name is the most surprising on the list. (The 2nd most surprising thing on the list … Matt Millen calling Saturday night games on ESPN. Poor Joe Tessitore. The good news is you’ll be watching the ABC game, anyway.)
One omission from the list – the ABC Saturday night sideline reporter gig is listed as “TBA.” We broke the story last month that Heather Cox would be getting the job (previously occupied by Erin Andrews) but then a reporter called Cox, who said it wasn’t a done deal because her contract was up.
The story I’ve heard: Both sides had agreed it was a great fit, ESPN had no other options, and Cox’s savvy agent was able to get her an even sweeter new contract. But I guess we’ll have to wait for the announcement after Cox returns from the Olympics.
ESPN is in the process of hunting for a new First Take host – you could look at that two ways; 1) Nobody wants the job because the show truly is awful or 2) Many people want the job because ESPN believes in the show and well-regarded Jamie Horowitz is running it – and a source in Bristol says the network has dwindled the list to about five names. Here’s who is RUMORED to be in the mix (again, I stress RUMOR, based on chatter in Connecticut):
* Sportscenter anchor Cindy Brunson
* Cari Champion (here’s her website)
* Jemele Hill
* Heidi Watney (why this is a RUMOR list – she left NESN last year and will be a Lakers’ sideline reporter this year, according to the Globe)
* Britt McHenry (she’s currently in DC)
Previously: Samantha Steele to Replace Erin Andrews as Host of Gameday on ESPNU; Heather Cox New Saturday Night Sideline Reporter
Previously: Doug Gottlieb is Leaving ESPN for CBS Sports
Previously: Brett McMurphy Leaves CBS Sports For ESPN
Previously: Darren Rovell is Leaving CNBC for ESPN
Previously: Darren Rovell vs. SI’s Richard Deitsch in a Geeky Twitter Battle Over Tennis