FOX Sports NFL sideline reporter Pam Oliver has opened up about her demotion from her post in July. Former ESPN reporter and "Dancing With The Stars" host Erin Andrews will take over Oliver's former position alongside Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, a move which Oliver describes in her Sept. 3 first-person essay on Essence.com as humiliating.
Pam Oliver has opened up about her demotion at FOX Sports in favor of former ESPN reporter and "Dancing With The Stars" host Erin Andrews.
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Oliver wrote a first-person essay on Essence.com on Sept. 3, saying the whole experience "humiliated" her:
"Even before my bosses told me what was going on, there had been rumblings that my days as a sideline reporter were coming to an end. Two years earlier, FOX Sports had hired Erin Andrews, a high-profile side-line reporter from ESPN, and I knew they hadn't brought her on just to be a benchwarmer. Colleagues, and even coaches and players, would come up to me and say things like, 'Boy, you're handling this well. You're really a class act.' But I let the rumors roll off my back.
"Without official confirmation about a change in my position, I decided I was going to work like I always had. Still, I was humiliated.
"My bosses finally called a meeting in April. One was in New York City, the other was in Los Angeles, and they both flew to Atlanta. It showed a lot of respect that they chose to meet with me in person instead of delivering the news through my agent. They could have done all this without ever looking me in the eye. Still, it wasn't an easy conversation.
"It took a while, but eventually it got down to them saying they wanted to 'change direction within the company.' They told me they'd like me to work on FOX Sports 1 (the fledging secondary cable sports channel FOX launched in 2013) to help give FS1 more reporting credibility. They wanted me to work primarily on specials and long-form stories, but I told them I still wanted to do sideline reporting. It was important to me to have a twentieth season -- to end on 19 is wack! I wanted 20.
"Eventually my bosses agreed to give me a final year on the sidelines, but they told me I'd no longer be working with the network's 'A' crew (which includes seasoned announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman). The three of us have been a unit for a decade and suddenly we were being split up. This was very difficult to hear. Even so, I kept my composure during the meeting. When we said our good-byes, there were hugs all around. I thought I'd handled it pretty well, but when I left the restaurant, I got into my car and noticed my hands were shaking. I was like, 'Okay, that hurt.'
"...As one executive said to me, FOX Sports will look radically different in the coming years. I assume that means they want to look younger. It's not difficult to notice that the new on-air people there are all young, blond and 'hot.' That's not to say that Erin isn't capable. I think she's very capable. She's also popular on Twitter and social media, so I can see how that would also make her highly-sought after.
"Still, covering the NFL is a big deal. Stations like ABC and NBC entrust their programming to veterans. So when people talk about all networks making a turn to a particular type of girl on the sidelines, it doesn't hold water...
"At times I'm ashamed of how tragic I was making things out to be. It's just a job change. I'm not out on the streets. I'm not unemployed. Everybody wins: FOX gets its coveted reporter in the lead role and I get to do my sideline job for my twentieth and final year. I'm also looking forward to developing stories that interest me and delivering long-form pieces for FS1. That kind of work is like being in reporter heaven.
"Don't get me wrong. I love being on the sidelines. I love the ins and outs of the game. But I'm headed into this season knowing it's time to say my good-byes. I'm going (to) savor every moment."
For her part, Andrews told EOnline.com's Marc Malkin on Sept. 2 she doesn't want her boyfriend, Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll, to participate in "Dancing With The Stars":
"Dancing With The Stars usually has at least one or two athletes competing each season.
"But Erin Andrews, a former contestant and now host of the ABC competition show, doesn't think her hot boyfriend, L.A. Kings star Jarret Stoll, should be one of them.
"'I don't think my man would do very well being in hair and makeup,' Andrews told me the other day while promoting her gig as a spokesperson for Florida Orange Juice. 'He would not like that whole ordeal. He does love fashion, but I don't think he would enjoy being in the hair and makeup trailer very long.'
"But she would love see Stoll's teammate Jeff Carter try it out. 'Jeff has the longest, longest legs and the way he skates he just looks like a gazelle,' Andrews said. 'Whenever I watch him skate, he's just like this gazelle and I'm like, 'Oh, my gosh! I would love to see Jeff on the bathroom floor.'
"Andrews returns to her hosting gig after making her debut last season when she replaced Brooke Burke.
"This season's big change is Julianne Hough joining as a fourth judge.
"'We know what shows we're up against week in and week out and (DWTS) has to evolve,' Andrews said. 'The show has to be fresh and they have to make it young. I appreciate (why) they're doing that.'"
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