Erin Andrews to Replace Pam Oliver on NFL Sidelines

Erin Andrews has been promoted to the first broadcast team on Fox Sports' coverage of the NFL starting this fall, taking over for longtime sideline reporter Pam Oliver, who will now be working with the second broadcast team. As originally reported in Sports Illustrated, Oliver, who has been with Fox Sports for almost 20 years, will work one more year on NFL sidelines and then focus on more long form reporting, producing, and Showtime Sports specials.

Erin Andrews, 36, who left ESPN in 2012 for the gig at Fox Sports, will now work with Fox's number one broadcasting team of Troy Aikman and Joe Buck. Oliver will work with booth announcers Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch, who have been named the second team.

The news was first broken to Oliver in April after two executives, Fox Sports president Eric Shanks and executive vice president of production John Entz, flew to Atlanta to deliver the news. Oliver was at first shocked by the news, but, as SI points out, the consummate professional took it in stride.

"To go from the lead crew to no crew was a little shocking," Oliver said. "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."

According to USA Today, Oliver was signed to a long-term deal after that meeting which allows her the freedom to grow more as a journalist. Fox Sports president Eric Shanks commented on the importance of Pam Oliver to Fox Sports going forward.

"Clearly it's an expanded role that meets the needs of all the big events that Fox and Fox Sports 1 covers as well as the NFL on Fox," Fox Sports president Eric Shanks said. "I can't think of a more respected person in the entire industry than Pam Oliver, and when you find out that Pam is going to be doing the interview, I don't think you would say that anyone else would do the interview better. Her being a part of the Fox family now and in the future is really important to us."

Not everyone sees it that way, as a veteran NFL reporter -- who requested anonymity -- said in the Sports Illustrated article, as told by the Washington Post. In speaking of how the well-respected Oliver had been treated, the reporter laid it out:

"She's not blonde, nor is she in the demographic. 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."

Erin Andrews has yet to make a pubic comment on the well-publicized switch, but Pam Oliver holds no ill will toward the woman who will be soon be prowling in Oliver's well-worn tracks.

"I think Erin is solid. They have made a determination and it just happened to be with a position I had held for almost 20 years. It's not necessary to feel something [bad] toward the person who is assuming your formal role. You just understand that they have changed. The crews could change too. In a few years I think Fox will look radically different. I don't know how, but you have your thoughts and opinions. For people to pit us against each other is not necessary and not going to get far if the two us don't participate."

Andrews made headlines earlier this year by replacing another long-time personality when she took over the hosting duties of ABC's Dancing with the Stars from Brooke Burke-Charvet. The move did not help the show's ratings when it premiered in March of this year. Andrews should fare much better ratings-wise on NFL sidelines, but will she be able to replace Pam Oliver? We will see when the NFL football season kicks off in September.

[Images Courtesy of (Oliver) and (Andrews)]