Longtime "Monday Night Football" announcer Al Michaels said he would be surprised if the series was moved from ABC to ESPN.
Industry reports have floated throughout the summer the possibility that this could happen, and Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen told USA Today in late July that the NFL had talks with various network officials that could lead to ESPN getting "MNF" and NBC coming back to football on Sunday nights.
In a national phone interview Thursday, Michaels said this kind of speculation comes up whenever a new television deal with the NFL is imminent, and that he expects "MNF" to remain in ABC's lineup.
"I've been on the show since '86 and they told us we were going to lose it" several times, Michaels said. The rumor "just seems to keep regenerating itself. I don't know why, and from what I've been told by people involved in this process, there is no interest in" moving "MNF" to another network.
ABC has carried "MNF" since its inception in 1970, but its current NFL deal, reportedly worth $550 million annually, expires after next season, and industry reports say the network is losing $150 million each year on the games. Michaels shrugs at the numbers.
"You never know what's going to happen," he said. "Fox shocked everybody when CBS left, and then all of a sudden NBC is out (of football) in '98. ... Whoever thought NBC would've lost the NBA? To me there are so many curveballs out there, but as far as I'm concerned we'll be around for a while longer" on ABC.