ESPN’s dream “Monday Night Football” booth isn’t happening.
The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that NBC has rejected the network’s trade inquiry for the play-by-play icon and plans to keep Michaels in the “Sunday Night Football” booth next to Chris Collinsworth.
“We look forward to Al completing his contract and calling ‘Sunday Night Football’ games on NBC,” network spokesman Greg Hughes told The Post.
Michaels, 75, has two years remaining on his deal. Mike Tirico is expected to take over for Michaels when his contract expires. NBC hired Tirico from ESPN in 2016 with the intention that he would eventually take the reins from Michaels in addition to becoming the face of the network’s Olympics coverage.
Marchand reports that the possibility remains that ESPN could broach the idea of trading for Michaels again with Tirico in place to take over at NBC.
ESPN has ‘begun talks’ with Peyton Manning
Meanwhile, the network is moving forward with its pursuit of Peyton Manning, according to the report. Marchand reports that ESPN “has begun talks” with the former quarterback in hopes of featuring him on “Monday Night Football.”
After CBS locked up Tony Romo for a record contract worth more than $17 million a year, the price to lure Manning went up. Manning, who has been the top target of networks since he retired after the 2015 season, has not spoken publicly about his intentions. With the market spiking after Romo’s deal, it stands to reason that Manning could be tempted to the booth.
He reportedly hesitated to get into broadcasting while his brother Eli Manning remained in the league, not wanting to be put in a spot to criticize him. Eli retired at the end of last season.
According to the report, ESPN has not communicated its intentions with the current “Monday Night Football” broadcast tandem of Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland.
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