Chris Berman will continue to host NFL PrimeTime after agreeing to a new deal with ESPN.
The multi-year agreement was announced on Monday, Berman’s 66th birthday.
“We worked on it for a while and this was the perfect time,” Berman said during a phone interview. “ESPN has been almost two-thirds of my life. I’m honored that what I’m doing still works.”
Berman has been an integral part of ESPN throughout its history, having joined the network a month after it started in September 1979. In addition to being one of the original SportsCenter anchors, he was an integral part of the network’s NFL and baseball coverage.
He hosted NFL PrimeTime with Tom Jackson on ESPN from 1987 to 2005 and restarted in 2019 when it returned to the ESPN + streaming service. Berman, who also hosted the NFL Countdown from 1985 to 2016, teamed up with Booger McFarland for PrimeTime last year when Jackson couldn’t travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Berman reached out to ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro when ESPN + spoke about the possibility of a PrimeTime revival. Berman said PrimeTime’s success in the streaming service reflected ESPN’s growth.
“The fact that I’m going to do it again this season was what I enjoyed the most,” he said. “I love being able to help build another unit in the streaming world this time around.”
Berman said it remains to be seen who will join PrimeTime in the coming season.
Berman received the 2010 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has been Master of Ceremonies of the hall’s induction ceremony since 1999.
“Quite simply, Chris Berman has embodied the success of ESPN for more than four decades,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president and executive editor, in a statement. “Fans respond to his authentic love of the sport, his ability to enjoy and capture the big moments, and his on-air style, reminding us that live games can be equally indispensable and fun. We look forward to it us about Boomer’s magical ride at ESPN, keep going for many years. “