Al Michaels might not be in the Sunday Night Football booth anymore for NBC, but he’s not saying a total goodbye to the network.
NBC has extended Michaels an emeritus role that will see him continue with a lot of his current NBC duties, potentially even contributing to NFL coverage. The move makes sense; Michaels obviously has a new gig calling Thursday night games for Amazon, but that’s not close to a complete calendar. Meanwhile NBC gets to keep one of the true legends of sports broadcasting, if in a smaller role.
From NBC’s announcement:
Michaels will continue to broadcast and contribute across NBC Sports’ high-profile properties, including the NFL Playoffs and the Olympics.
“Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history,” said Bevacqua. “We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”
“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.
One of the most renowned sports broadcasters of all time and the commentator called “TV’s best play-by-play announcer” by the Associated Press, Michaels earlier this year completed his 16th season as the voice of NBC’s Sunday Night Football – primetime’s #1 TV show for an unprecedented 11 consecutive years. In addition, SNF has been honored a Sports Emmy-record 11 times for Outstanding Live Sports Series.
With this news and the Kirk Herbstreit addition, Amazon, has shown an early willingness to go after top talent by offering non-exclusive contracts. That approach makes a lot of sense given the lack of other live sports inventory the tech company/streaming platform/inevitable monolith has at the moment.
Michaels now gets to call primetime NFL games and, presumably, pick his spots at NBC as well going forward. Streaming is supposedly the future, but it’s actually kind of comforting to know that at certain times, Al Michaels will still be calling sports on network television.