Peep this: Erin Andrews is leaving ESPN.
Late Friday, ESPN has released a statement that she and the network are parting ways. “She did great work for us and we made an aggressive offer to keep her.”
No, this isn’t some Twitter schmuck posing as an ESPN employee making the announcement. This is the real deal.
The fact is, another entity has made a really sweet deal to Andrews that exceeds the lengths ESPN went to keep her; her contract with ESPN expires Saturday.
You’re thinking that ESPN doesn’t think the world of her to retain her services. On the contrary. Because why would ESPN wait until the dead media dump time of Friday evening to put out a statement that one of their highest-profile personalities will not be returning?
The ESPN statement continues, “We wish her the best on her next chapter.”
As for the author of that proverbial next chapter in Andrews’ career, Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch is reporting that the most likely destination for her will be Fox Sports, whom Deitsch says is “aggressively pursuing” her services. The fact that Fox has loaded up on college football contests – some of which will be highlighted on Saturday nights this fall – plus have snagged the mighty Gus Johnson to call some games, gives every indication that Fox will all but hire Andrews as their new lead sideline reporter.
And considering her past work on “Good Morning America,” which airs on ESPN corporate sister network ABC, could we see Andrews popping up on other Fox properties? Hey, isn’t there some kind of brand new national cable network that Fox is hoping to launch this year – a network that’s purported to be a rival of ESPN, Andrews’ soon-to-be-former employer? Her presence, combined with some equally attractive programming (heh, see what I did there?) could put the new network, whose working title is “Fox One,” on the map – provided there are enough cable subscribers, of course.
We’ll watch as the tributes from ESPN colleagues past and present pour in on Twitter over the makeshift holiday weekend – even from colleagues who claim to have never met her.
Maybe that @ESPNSteve character might reactivate his Twitter account.
UPDATE: How’s this for convenient timing: Just two days after Erin Andrews departs ESPN, her stalker, Michael David Barrett, will be released from prison. He was officially sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, but as Bob’s Blitz points out, that is retroactive to when he was initially sent to the slammer. Which calculates to him leaving jail on July 3, 2012 – just 48 hours of Erin Andrews leaving ESPN. Of course, as you know, Michael David Barrett was indicted for filming this Erin Andrews video (okay, not quite that video – and don’t bother looking for the real deal, by the way – her lawyers forbid its existence on the Internets, and I will not link it).