Chris Berman, the longtime ESPN sportscaster who has been with the company since 1979, is leaving the network after next football season, multiple sources tell The Big Lead. Berman is in the final year of his contract, which ends sometime after the 2016-2017 football season. He is expected to retire, rather than leave for another network.
ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz declined comment this week.
Berman, 61, joined the network a month after its inception in 1979 and in addition to being one of the company’s longest-tenured employees, he’d certainly go on ESPN’s Mount Rushmore. As such, the network has lavish plans for a send-off that one source said might be akin to the way the Lakers sent Kobe Bryant into retirement. ESPN is currently preparing “summer camp” for its NFL TV team – which will feature new faces like Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss and Charles Woodson – and plans are being hatched for Berman’s send-off.
Who will replace Berman on the network’s popular “Monday Night Countdown” and “Sunday NFL Countdown” shows? Many have written that longtime NFL Live host Trey Wingo is a natural fit to replace Berman, but there is a strong internal push for Suzy Kolber to take over Berman’s chair.
No decision is expected anytime soon.