Chris Berman is staying at ESPN.
The Disney-owned network extended his contract, ESPN announced. He will anchor ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” (just like he did for the past 25 years), “Monday Night Countdown,” the “Monday Night Football” halftime show as well as U.S. Open coverage.
ESPN will not disclose the details of the contract with us, but ESPN spokesperson Bill Hofheimer did say in an email that it is a multi-year contract.
The six-time National Sportscaster of the Year has been with the network since a month after it launched in 1979, hosting shows from “Baseball Tonight” to “SportsCenter.”
His light and humorous approach to hosting that keeps him popular with ESPN viewers.
It’s no wonder why ESPN wants to keep him: He’s a character. Berman came up with a sassy alterego called “Swarmi,” schooled his own camera crew, and even interviewed President Obama and John McCain on “Monday Night Football” in some of his most memorable moments.
Chris Berman was only 24-years-old when he joined ESPN as a sports anchor. It was October 1979, and the network was less than one month old.
Watch Berman recall the 11 years he served as host of SportsCenter:
Berman has served as the studio host of 'Sunday NFL Countdown' for 24 consecutive years, and picked up duties for 'Monday Night Football' when it moved to ESPN in 2006.
It can be hard working with an inexperienced crew -- especially when you have been with the network since its conception.
Here's a clip of Berman from late 2000. On a commercial break of 'Monday Night Football,' Berman colorfully shares his frustration with his cameramen. 'It's like no one here's worked in TV before...'
Warning: Unless you're boss is cool with f*bombs, turn the volume down.
Berman has been a play-by-play commentator for ESPN's MLB games for 20 years. He also led the coverage for 23 All Star Games and 23 World Series, and continues to host Baseball Tonight.
He has covered the U.S. Open since 1986, and hosted the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs in 2003 and 2004.
All of this work can eventually get to a guy. And for Berman, the tipping point was when the Jets were playing over the holiday season. That required an extra kick in his aspirin. 'You go to the Canadian CVS...'
Back in 1979 Berman created his alter-ego, the 'Swami,' who routinely appears on Sports centre to give predictions and commentary on the NFL.
But Berman doesn't rely on Swami for everything. He proves here he has his own skills (i.e. his knowledge of chardonnay) when it comes to wooing staff members.
Despite Berman's antics, he is a skilled interviewer, commentator, and TV host. He was awarded the National Sportscaster of the Year six times (in 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, and 2001). His Sunday morning pre-NFL game show has won seven Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Studio Show.
Last fall Berman took his skills to the next level by interviewing presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama on 'Monday Night Football.'
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