Behind The Mic: Jason Witten to Replace Jon Gruden on MNF, Peter King Leaves SI for NBC Sports

Behind the Mic provides a roundup of recent news regarding on-air talent, including new deals, departures, and assignments compiled from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, ESPN finds its new  Monday Night Football analyst, Peter King leaves Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports announces their World Cup broadcast team and their new host of NFL Films Presents while a longtime member of Fox’s NFL coverage was named a Gracie Award winner, Sportnet adds a long-time NHL exec to its Stanley Cup Playoff coverage, ESPN hires a former WNBA player as a full-time commentator while giving Stephen A. Smith an important role for the NBA Finals, A former NFL coach joins CBS’s stable of game analysts and the Colorado Rockies made some history during a recent game.

Jason Witten Announces Retirement, Will Join ESPN’s Monday Night Football
At a May 3 press conference, longtime Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten announced his retirement after 15 years. Witten will be heading straight into the broadcast booth as ESPN picked him to replace Jon Gruden as the Monday Night Football game analyst.

In addition, Booger McFarland will join the new-look Monday Night Football crew in the new season, according to The Athletic. McFarland will serve as a field analyst on the franchise, joining Witten, play-by-play caller Joe Tessitore, and on-field reporter Lisa Salters.

Peter King Leaves SI, Sign Exclusive Deal With NBC Sports
NBC Sports Group has announced that long time Sports Illustrated writer Peter King has sign an exclusive deal that will begin in July and see become the official home for King’s famed Monday Morning colum and regular appearances across all of NBC Sports’ platforms.

Fox Announces Game and Studio Analysts For 2018 FIFA World Cup Coverage
With the World Cup set to kick off in Russia in about a month and a half, Fox Sports has announced its broadcast and studio teams for its coverage of the World Cup.

The team of John Strong and former USMNT player Stu Holden will be the lead pair and will be joined by JP Dellacamera and former USMNT and Metrostars goalkeeper Tony Meola, Derek Rae and former USWNT player Aly Wagner, Glenn Davis and former USMNT player Cobi Jones, Jorge Perez Navarro and Mariano Trujillo as well as Mark Followill and Warren Barton.

Fox’s World Cup studio coverage will be anchored by Rob Stone along with Kate Abdo, Fernando Fiore and Ian Joy. Providing analysis from the studio will be former World Cup winner Lothar Matthäus, Guus Hiddink, U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer Alexi Lalas, Kelly Smith, Ian Wright, Hernan Crespo and Moises Muñoz.

Providing sideline reports and other commentary will be Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves, Maria Komandnaya, National Geographic’s Sergey Gordeev, Rodolfo Landeros, Jenny Taft, Grant Wahl and Dr. Joe Machnik.

Charissa Thompson Tapped to Host NFL Films Presents
According to a Awful Announcing article, current Fox NFL Pregame host Charissa Thompson will be the new host of NFL Films Presents, replacing Katie Nolan, who is now with ESPN.

Fox’s Pam Oliver Named 2018 Gracie Award Winner
Fox Sports’ Pam Oliver has been named a 2018 Gracie Awards winner for her exemplary contributions in sports announced by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF). Oliver will receive her award at the 43rd annual Gracie Awards Gala on May 22.

Brian Burke Joins Sportsnet for Remainder of 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Longtime NHL executive Brian Burke has joined Sportnet’s 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage for the remainder of the postseason.  Burke will be providing commentary, insights and analysis to Sportsnet’s NHL coverage across its television, radio and digital platforms.

Stephen A. Smith to Anchor Special NBA Finals Editions of SportsCenter
ESPN has announced that First Take’s Stephen A. Smith will host a special series of SportsCenter programs during the NBA Finals next month along with having a larger presence on the 6 p.m. ET SportsCenters during the conference finals.

Former WNBA All-Star Chiney Ogwumike Becomes ESPN Commentator
Current WNBA player Chiney Ogwumike has reached an agreement where she will be a full-time multi-platform ESPN commentator. Ogwumike will add a regular basketball studio analyst role to her current role as SportsCenter Africa co-host. Ogwumike will also be a part of for ESPN’s NBA, WNBA and women’s college basketball studio coverage.

Former NFL Head Coach Bruce Arians Joins CBS As NFL Game Analyst
Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has joined CBS Sports as a game analyst. Arians will team with play-by-play man Greg Gumbel and fellow analyst Trent Green to form a three-man booth for the 2018 NFL season.

Jenny Cavnar Calls Recent Colorado Rockies Telecast
According to ESPN, Jenny Cavnar, a pregame and postgame host for Colorado Rockies telecasts on AT&T SportsNet since 2012, joined analyst Ryan Spilborghs in the booth for the telecast of the Rockies/San Diego Padres game on April 23,  

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