ESPN’s Tom Jackson Announces His Retirement

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ESPN personality Tom Jackson is retiring.

The long-time broadcaster announced this week that after 29 years with the worldwide leader in sports he is calling it a career.  He joined the network in 1987 as one of its first NFL analysts.  This was following a successful 14-year career as a member of the Denver Broncos.  His final assignment will be this weekend August 6th – 7th at the annual NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.

Jackson was has only praise for ESPN and all that supported him throughout his career on and off the field in a statement released this week.

“I have been blessed in my adult life to work for two companies, the Denver Broncos and ESPN, to do two things that I love—play football and talk about football.  Having joined in the early stages of ESPN and remained with the same company for 29 years is especially gratifying.  The friendships made are too numerous to mention but I know that many of them will last a lifetime.  I also want to thank all the fans who supported me over the years and made my job so enjoyable.  This move just comes at a time when the priority of my life is spending time with my family.”

Throughout his career, Jackson has worked on a number of its football-based programs beginning with the then NFL GameDay—now NFL Countdown.  Later that same year he and fellow ESPN veteran Chris Berman became partners on ESPN’s NFL Primetime.  Jackson would go on to spend the next 19 years (1987 – 2005) on Sunday nights.  During his time on the program it went on to become the leading NFL highlights show and highest-rated studio program on cable.

Berman was upbeat in recalling his memories working with Jackson.  “Every day working with Tom was a treasure,” he said.  I know every day he appeared on ESPN was a treasure for football fans. His knowledge, his passion, his insight, and his overall joie de vivre makes him special – in fact, makes him unique. I was lucky to spend 29 years of football weekends with him. In television that’s almost two lifetimes. Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon were together for 31 years – enough said.  “Tom long ago became almost a brother to me. We completed each other’s sentences, listened to the same music, laughed together and sometimes cried together. Oh yes, we enjoyed football together. What was a day with Tom Jackson like? Like the Temptations sang, ‘I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day’.”

Along with his time on ESPN’s Sunday night NFL programming he also spent some time as part of the network’s Monday Night Countdown NFL pre-game broadcast and the network’s other NFL programming throughout the year.  That other programming includes coverage of the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Raft and Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement.  In 2006 he worked as part of ABC’s broadcast team for Super Bowl XL’s pre-game broadcast.

Similar praise has come from others at ESPN including ESPN President John Skipper.  “Tom has been an integral part of ESPN’s presentation of the NFL for three decades.  His partnership with Chris Berman has been a signature for us and a treasure for fans,” Skipper said.  “His influence as a trusted voice and mentor for the generation of players who followed him is an important part of his legacy.  Tom is as widely respected internally as anyone in our company, not to mention beloved.  He has been a pleasure to work with and he will always be an ESPN family member.”

There is currently no word on the search for Jackson’s replacement.  More information on that and all of the latest NFL headlines is available online now at:

 

 

 

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King, Cowherd, Schaap To Fill In For Olbermann Beginning Next Week

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The “King” of talk is coming to ESPN.  Larry King will fill in for ESPN’s Keith Olbermann on Olbermann next Tuesday – Thursday, October 1st – 3rd. King will fill in while Olbermann takes a temporary leave of absence to host TBS’ Major League Baseball post season studio show.  Olbermann will be gone from his namesake show from next Monday, September 30th to October 2oth.  He will return October 21st.  King will fill in for Olbermann each night at 11pm ET when the show airs.  He is also scheduled to make an appearance on Olbermann this Friday, September 27th.  King, who hosts his own show, Larry King Now, discussed filling in for Olbermann when asked about his temporary assignment.  “I am a great admirer of Keith Olbermann who I think is the quintessential sports host,” said King.  “Sports have always been my avocation – they’re part of my being.  Having the chance to come back to my hometown of New York and host Keith’s show for several days is a terrific joy for me and a return to my first love.”

ESPN Executive VP of Programming and Acquisitions Norby Williamson was just as pleased that King accepted the offer to fill in for Olbermann.  “Olbermann is designed specifically around Keith’s one-of-a-kind personality so having a guest host like Larry, who can deliver a similar level of editorial expertise and intellectual commentary to entertain sports fans, fits the bill perfectly,” said Williamson.  “Larry is so popular and well-known to television viewers but being able to bring them his unique perspective on sports topics is a new twist and we’re excited to have him.”

Once King’s turn is up on Olbermann ESPN’s own Jeremy Schaap and Colin Cowherd will each have a turn hosting the show with Schaap hosting first from October 8th – 10th.  Cowherd will fill in for Olbermann from October 15th – 17th.  Jamie Horovitz, ESPN VP of Original programming and production was optimistic in discussing having two ESPN veterans filling in for Olbermann in his absence.  “Both Jeremy and Colin have distinctive personalities and points of view that will bring a different perspective to the program while Keith is away,” said Horowitz.  “While we’ll certainly miss Keith in the coming weeks, we’re also looking forward to producing some fun and entertaining shows for sports fans with our guest hosts.”

King’s new web only series, Larry King Now, is much like his previous hit CNN show, Larry King Live.  He continues interviewing some of the most important names in the news and world of entertainment in his show, which can be seen on Hulu and Ora TV.

Colin Cowherd can be heard regularly on ESPN and ESPN radio on his show, The Herd with Colin Cowherd.  It runs daily from 10am ET – 1pm ET.  The former host of SportsNation, Cowherd also now hosts Colin’s New Football every Sunday morning at 9am.  Cowherd shares his personal thoughts on football and life in general.

Jeremy Schaap hosts ESPN Radio’s The Sporting Life and serves as correspondent for ESPN’s E:60.  He also contributes to ESPN’s Outside The Lines, NFL Countdown, and College Game Day.  His interviews and commentary are featured each week on ESPN’s flagship show, SportsCenter.

More information on each of these shows and more is available online at http://www.espn.com and http://www.facebook.com/ESPN.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.