Pam Oliver, a 20-year veteran sports reporter who could be seen on the NFL sidelines reporting for Fox Sports, will be replaced by Erin Andrews for this next football season. After that, she won’t be working with the network at all. Oliver confirmed the changes with Sports Illustrated over the weekend.
For this season, Oliver will move from the No. 1 team to the network’s No. 2 team with Andrews moving onto the top group, joining Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.
Oliver says Fox execs made the trip to Atlanta to speak with her in person about the changes.
“Oliver says that while she respected Fox Sports president Eric Shanks and executive vice president of production John Entz delivering the news in person, she was stunned when they initially informed her that not only was she being removed from Fox’s No. 1 NFL team, but also that she was being taken off the NFL sidelines completely in 2014,” the magazine says.
Oliver also said she told the execs that she had a desire to stay on with the network, but she’s convinced that it was “predetermined” a couple of years ago that she would be removed from the network’s coverage team.
Shanks explained to SI that the network is just trying to switch things up to keep it fresh. He says they didn’t go to Atlanta with a plan in mind. Oliver feels it was quite the opposite.
“The emphasis at the meeting was always placed on how they saw what was next for me versus what I saw would be next for me,” she said.
She will stay on with the network, but in a different capacity, producing, doing specials and long-form pieces and conducting big interviews. Shanks maintains that it’s an “expanded” role that is important for the network.
The article suggests that race and/or age could be a determining factor here. Andrews is 36 years old, Oliver is 53, though Oliver says she never thought age was an issue. SI notes Oliver’s journalistic experience and skill, but Shanks wouldn’t respond to questions about why Andrews was chosen for the job.
Andrews has also made an appearance on Dancing with the Stars.
Cover image of Erin Andrews via PNP/WENN.com