We finally have our answer as to the next logical step in the career of Erin Andrews: College Gameday and Good Morning America.
Per an ESPN release this morning, Andrews will be joining the College Gameday crew on the road this year, and will be a big part of the show's new third hour on ESPNU that will precede the existing two hours on ESPN. Andrews will serve as an anchor on several segments during the ESPNU hour as well as contributing reports during the two hours on ESPN.
As logical as it seems, it's a fantastic decision by ESPN to pull the trigger on this move, making the Emmy Award-winning show even more appealing to the college football masses. Andrews will be scheduled to work the sideline for whatever game College Gameday visits each week.
The biggest note, however, is that Andrews, "will provide select reports on ABC’s Good Morning America throughout the year." This decision is an absolute no-brainer for ABC and ESPN. Expect Andrews to file stories about sports, but don't be surprised if there is more focus on human interest through sports, or even some non-sports stories altogether. A trip into SEC country could provide Andrews ample time to file GMA stories on the crisis in the gulf, for example.
Clearly, if ESPN wanted to capitalize on Andrews' fame – especially after her successful run on Dancing with the Stars, keeping her on the sidelines wouldn’t be the way to do it. Not only will Andrews get even more exposure on GMA, but adding her to the new first hour of College Gameday on ESPNU will, finally, make that network relevant. ESPNU just went from that network hosted by that guy who looks like he's still a college kid (and a home for Cowherd's radio show) to actual must-see sports content on Saturdays this fall.
â‡¥“Millions of fans can start their college football Saturdays an hour earlier and the ever-expanding ESPNU offers the perfect home for more award-winning College GameDay,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production. “As part of the new lineup, we’re thrilled to announce an enhanced role for Erin Andrews that includes GameDay, while some of our most prominent college football personalities will have new and expanded responsibilities.”
On Thursdays, Rece Davis will be hopping into the booth, replacing Chris Fowler. Davis will call the games with Craig James and Jesse Palmer while Jenn Brown, who continues to skyrocket to the top of ESPN's sideline stable, adds Thursday night to her responsibilities.
Fowler and John Saunders will both be hosting ESPN's College Football Live throughout the week as both will be hugely prominent in ESPN's run-up to the BCS. Clearly Fowler has moved into the absolute A-list for ESPN, never more evident than this weekend when he, not Mike Tirico or even Bob Ley, closed the coverage of the FIFA World Cup. Taking Fowler off the Thursday game should give him more time to focus on College Gameday which, let's face it, is the best studio show on any network for any sport. The decisions announced today can only make the show better, and ESPN's stranglehold on college football even tighter.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.