Scott Van Pelt Scott Van Pelt at the Dick Vitale Gala in 2021.

It looks like ESPN has now settled on the next host of their Monday Night Football pregame show, Monday Night Countdown. On Monday, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported that the leading candidates for the gig (after Suzy Kolber was laid off) were Laura Rutledge (who had previously been noted as a candidate there) and Scott Van Pelt (who had not). And on Wednesday, Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reported that the decision has been made, and that it will be Van Pelt:

There are, of course, still a lot of questions about how exactly this will work. Since the 2006 move of Monday Night Football to ESPN, Monday Night Countdown has originated from the site of the game. Meanwhile, Van Pelt’s SportsCenter (which has been the MNF post-game show since its 2015 launch) typically originates from a Washington, D.C. studio. But Marchand’s report indicated that if selected, either Rutledge or Van Pelt was expected to keep at least some of their other ESPN duties as well.

It’s quite possible Van Pelt could go on the road with MNF each week and also host a post-game SportsCenter from there. There have been many on-location SportsCenters over the years. It’s also possible that ESPN could have someone else host the post-game SportsCenter on Mondays.

Regardless of exactly how this winds up, Monday Night Countdown is going to look quite different this year. In addition to laying off Kolber last month, ESPN also parted ways with long-time panelist Steve Young. The remaining panelists from last year are Booger McFarland and Robert Griffin III. Alex Smith and Larry Fitzgerald have served as substitute analysts, so it’s possible one or both of them could be elevated to a full-time Countdown role. But it’s also conceivable ESPN pulls someone else from its deep roster of NFL analysts, or brings in someone completely new.

It’s s also notable to see Van Pelt, who recently said “No chance” on if he’d still be hosting SportsCenter in three years (despite ratings success), get a prominent non-SportsCenter gig. As mentioned, the reporting to date seems to suggest this particular gig won’t mark the end of his SportsCenter hosting overall (and it may not even end it on Monday nights). But it’s certainly interesting to see him placed in a prominent role beyond SportsCenter. And we’ll see what he does with it.

Update: Deitsch later backed down from “will be getting” a bit, emphasizing that Van Pelt has not yet accepted and that there are details to work out:

“UPDATE: I want to be clearer on this tweet for accuracy. ESPN management wants Scott Van Pelt for this job. He is their choice right now from everything I understand. But he would still have to of course accept the job and there are things to work out there. So to declare it is done today is premature. Is it heading that way? Yes, based on sourcing. I’ll try to be clearer in future tweets on this topic for sure.”

[Richard Deitsch on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.