Gus Update: Gus Johnson Going To Fox

It looks like GusGate 2011 may be coming close to an official end.  Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News (who reported that Johnson may in fact stay at CBS late last week) is reporting that CBS did not match a contract offer from Fox and the favorite announcer of the blogosphere is heading to the network.  Here’s the fateful Tweet

 CBS refuses to match. Gus officially out and headed to Fox. Source says “politics” also involved. 

This does end a few days of speculation, but the final news goes where Richard Deitsch’s original report was headed all along.  Gus is done at CBS.  Gus is done announcing NCAA Tournament games.  He is heading to Fox and appears to be in line to be their #1 college sports announcer.  With the Big 10 Championship Game and Pac 12 coverage coming to the network, Gus is a big coup to immediately lift Fox’s coverage of college sports.  Which, as you may remember, has a checkered history at best… ok, it was awful.

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It appears that Gus’ talents will also be used for Fox’s NFL coverage, where he would be a welcome addition.  Look at the stable of NFL on Fox play by play men – Joe Buck, Kenny Albert, Thom Brennaman, Dick Stockton, Sam Rosen, Ron Pitts, Chris Rose, Chris Myers… it’s below average, especially compared to CBS.  Gus Johnson should be #2 at worst.  Let’s not get our hopes up that he will replace Joe Buck anytime soon, but we can at least dream of Gus calling the Super Bowl if there’s now no chance at the Final Four.

Let’s face it – Gus Johnson means much more to his fans and the blogosphere than he ever did to CBS.  CBS did not simply value Gus Johnson like others may have valued him, even though he was the face of their March Madness coverage to many viewers.  Remember, Gus Johnson was well down the list of NFL announcers, never doing marquee games that guys like Nantz, Gumbel, and others would broadcast.  Gus was usually stuck with games like Browns-Bills.  Even though he had a presence at the First Four alongside Nantz, Johnson wasn’t a top guy at CBS in football or basketball.  As Richard Deitsch told AA last month…

Gus Johnson will never announce the Final Four in the current setup.  Nantz and CBS Sports president Sean McManus are very tight, and Nantz is considered the network’s No. 1 sports voice.  I understand why the Gus lovers want him there but in the words of Drew Rosenhaus, next question.

Is that some of the “politics” that Raissman refers to?  Possibly.  Network execs and fans sitting at home are different kinds of people.  However, in Raissman’s article, a few more details emerge…

A CBS source who wanted Johnson back said not only money, but politics was an issue. The source said some of CBS Sports’ college hoops voices were not thrilled with Johnson’s rise to March Madness’ most popular voice.

Frankly, it’s not a surprise to see Gus Johnson leave CBS in these circumstances.  (I’ll let you connect the dots on just who might be upset with Gus’ popularity.)  Perhaps the network execs at Fox were smart enough to realize Johnson’s true value, with young fans especially, and offer him a number that CBS couldn’t match… or an offer that CBS didn’t want to match.  Viewers will now tune into Fox’s college football and basketball and NFL broadcasts because of Gus Johnson.  It’s a very wise move for Fox.  If Johnson gets some high profile NFL games, it may in fact be a better career move for him than staying at CBS, where the glass ceiling was going to keep him down for the foreseeable future.  

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Managing Editor of Awful Announcing and award winning sportswriter. Bloguin consigliere. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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