Archive for Friday, February 10, 2006

Michaels switching to NBC

February 10, 2006

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— Al Michaels was traded from ABC to NBC for a cartoon bunny, four rounds of golf and Olympic highlights. The rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a bunny created by Walt Disney in the 1920s before he invented Mickey Mouse, were transferred from NBC Universal to The Walt Disney Co. as part of the agreement to release the broadcaster from his contract with ABC and ESPN.

Michaels had been with ABC for three decades and had been the play-by-play announcer for "Monday Night Football" for the past 20 years.

Michaels agreed last July to stay with ABC/ESPN as the Monday game switched to the cable network next fall, but he asked to back out and instead will broadcast Sunday night NFL games on NBC with John Madden, his partner on ABC during the past four seasons.

As part of the deal, NBC sold ESPN cable rights to Friday coverage of the next four Ryder Cups through 2014, and granted ESPN increased usage of Olympic highlights through 2012 and other NBC properties through 2011. NBC, in turn, gets expanded highlight rights to ABC and ESPN events.

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