Last April the powers that be at FOX sports flew to Atlanta to speak with 19 year NFL sideline reporter Pam Oliver. The news wasn’t good. Oliver was told that she would no longer be on the networks number one broadcast team and was being replaced by Erin Andrews.
Last night, Oliver confirmed the news to Sports Illustrated, apparently divulging your intentions to Sports Illustrated is now the ‘in’ thing to do…see LeBron James, that season 20 will be here last. Oliver, who previously worked the same games as Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will now move aside for Andrews and will work with FOX’s number two announcers Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch.
“To go from the lead crew to no crew was a little shocking,” Oliver said regarding the change. “I said I wanted to do a 20th year [on the sidelines]. I expressed to them that I was not done and had something to offer. Again, I think it was predetermined coming in. Not at that meeting, but two years ago it was determined that no matter what I did or did not do, a change would be made for this year.”
It appeared early on that Oliver would not make an appearance for her 20th season. Meetings were held between Oliver’s agent and the executives at FOX Sports eventually leading to both sides agreeing on the terms of her finishing her 20th season which will now be her last.
Sports Illustrated contacted FOX Sports President, Eric Shanks to find out why the change was coming now.
“I think in the last five years we have made a lot of changes with the NFL crews,” Shanks said. “We have made changes to keep our coverage across the board fresh, including the addition of Burkhardt and Lynch -– which has been one of the more exciting pairings we have put together. This is kind of the next move in that evolution.”
Not everyone seems to share the explanation as a reason. Sports Illustrated states that another sideline reporter who asked for anonymity said the reason was far simpler.
“She’s not blonde, nor is she in the demographic,” said the reporter. “I’m not naïve and I understand it’s a business, but I think that Fox did not treat her as befits a woman who has been the female face of their sports operation for the past 19 years.”
The article also says that the FOX Sports executives met with Oliver face to face at a restaurant in Atlanta to break the news and discuss her future, which seems very Jerry Maguire.