Sports | May 11, 2021 9:48 am

Chris Berman Extends ESPN Contract, But Kenny Mayne Is Leaving the Worldwide Leader

The 66-year-old is going to be back, back, back, back at the network for a few more years

Chris Berman
Chris Berman on the set of "NFL Primetime" in 2019. Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images
Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images

Unlike some of his peers, Chris Berman is sticking around at The Worldwide Leader and signed a multi-year extension on Monday, which also happened to be his 66th birthday.

A former SportsCenter host who joined ESPN a month after its 1979 launch at the age of 24, Berman will continue to host NFL PrimeTime on ESPN+ as well as keep contributing commentary, features, interviews and perspective across ESPN’s others shows and platforms.

“Quite simply, Chris Berman has personified ESPN’s success for more than four decades,” ESPN executive VP and executive editor Norby Williamson said. “Fans respond to his authentic love of sports, his ability to savor and capture the big moments, and his on-air style that reminds us how live games can truly be equal parts essential and fun. We are delighted Boomer’s magical ride at ESPN will continue for years to come.”

Berman entered semi-retirement following the death of his wife in a car crash in 2017, but was convinced to take on a larger role to help ESPN  reverse declining ratings on Monday Night Football and the network’s other NFL programming the following year.

“Working at ESPN has been nothing short of a fairytale for me,” Berman said. “We all love sports and the excitement they bring us on a daily basis. I’m thrilled to be able to continue this journey and share it with so many talented folks ‘in the building,’ and best of all, countless viewers who share the very same passion. I’d like to say it’s put me over the moon, but I’d better bring it up to date. It’s put me over Mars.”

On the same day it was announced Berman would be back for multiple years, network legend Kenny Mayne announced he was out in Bristol after 27 years working for ESPN. He also was scheduled to host SportsCenter on Monday night.

“ESPN did make Kenny Mayne an offer, according to a source,” Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported on Twitter. “It was a pay cut. This is a trend in many of its negotiations as it tries to ‘market correct’ what it views as exorbitant salaries.”

A competitor in the 2006 edition of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, the former quarterback produced and starred in an original scripted series on ESPN.com called Mayne Street in which he played himself in a fictionalized version of life on sports television. 

Mayne’s last appearance on the network will be May 24.