Behind the Mic: Returning Trio of Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, Lisa Salters Comprise the New Monday Night Football Look
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 revamps their Monday Night Football booth after the departure of Jason Witten, a former Mets manager joins MLB on Fox, the ACC Network adds a former Georgia Tech running back, NBC Sports Chicago signs a long-time on-air talent, the Premier Lacrosse League introduces their inaugural broadcast team, and Fox Sports gears up for yet another PBC Fight Night.
Play-by-play voice Joe Tessitore, analyst Booger McFarland, and reporter Lisa Salters will make their debut as ESPN’s new commentator team when Monday Night Football kicks off its 50th season this fall.
Tessitore, McFarland, and Salters – joined by new Officiating Analyst John Parry – will kick off the 2019 regular season on Monday, September 9 when the New Orleans Saints host the Houston Texans (7 p.m. ET) as part of ESPN’s opening-night doubleheader.
This fall, McFarland will move from his field-level analyst position in 2018 to the booth, alongside Tessitore.
“Booger’s insight, personality, and passion for the game make him the right person for the job. He and Joe have been close friends since they helped ESPN launch the SEC Network five years ago. Their chemistry together in the booth – and with Lisa – will give us a team that fans want to spend Monday nights with this fall,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production.
In 2018, Tessitore became just the sixth person to occupy the coveted MNF play-by-play position after working as a premier broadcaster on ESPN and ABC college football games for the better part of two decades. Highly versatile and one of the top game-callers in sports, Tessitore is also the lead blow-by-blow ringside commentator for Top Rank Boxing on ESPN.
“We’re all excited to kick off the 50th season of Monday Night Football and I am especially happy for Booger whose unique talent and uncommon perspective will now be showcased even more prominently in his new role,” said Tessitore. “With Lisa and the addition of Super Bowl referee John Parry, our goal is simple: serve the fan by documenting the event and celebrating the game as best we can.”
McFarland, a two-time Super Bowl champion, joined MNF in 2018 after serving as a college football analyst for four years on ESPN, ABC and the SEC Network. Widely praised for his football insights and gregarious persona, McFarland regularly contributes to a variety of studio programs and he was part of ESPN and ABC’s NFL Draft coverage last week in Nashville.
“I’m so excited to continue to be part of Monday Night Football, especially with the opportunity to be in the booth for the 50th season, working with true professionals and friends like Joe and Lisa,” he said. “We have a great slate of games and I look forward to starting our journey in Louisiana, where I was born and raised, with the Texans-Saints game in early September.”
Salters, who has signed a new multi-year ESPN extension, will return for her eighth MNF season this fall. An Emmy-winning reporter with more than two decades of experience, Salters is a sideline reporter for both MNF and NBA games on ESPN and ABC, as well as a featured correspondent for the award-winning E:60 news magazine.
“It continues to be my privilege to be a part of the MNF team,” she said. “Tess and Booger are both a pleasure to work with – and will prove to be the perfect duo to lead us forward…”
…Terry Collins, a highly revered former manager of the New York Mets, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Angels, joins Fox Sports as a studio analyst for the 2019 MLB season. The announcement was made by Brad Zager, Executive Vice President of Production & Operations and Executive Producer, Fox Sports.
Collins carries his fiery passion for the game from the field to the desk, making his broadcast debut on FS1’s MLB Whiparound alongside host Kevin Burk