Mike McCarthy of the Sporting News reports that ESPN has interest in prying Charissa Thompson away from FOX Sports to fill Chris Berman’s soon to be vacant chair on Sunday NFL Countdown. Thompson becomes the latest name to be mentioned for the high profile position along with ESPN hosts Suzy Kolber and Trey Wingo.
She may not be presently with ESPN, but Thompson does have history with the company. She worked for ESPN from 2011-13, before departing to join ex-ESPN executive Jamie Horowitz in Los Angeles. Other ESPN personalities have since done the same, including Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock.
According to McCarthy’s report, Thompson could be enticed to make the jump. However, her West Coast roots, and involvement as host of the FOX NFL Kickoff pregame show and co-host of Extra with Mario Lopez and Tracey Edmonds, may make it difficult to convince her to leave.
Since joining FOX, Thompson has made a strong impression. In addition to doing an excellent job as a host, she landed the first interview with Jeff Fisher after he was let go by the Los Angeles Rams. During the conversation, Fisher said he didn’t feel like he was ever supposed to see the team’s new stadium, and he looked forward to having a future opportunity to coach against his former employer.
In previous conversations, ESPN president John Skipper has acknowledged wanting to add more talented women and minorities in prominent roles on television. Given Thompson’s rise over the past few years, she’d seem to be the type of talent that fits the description of what ESPN is looking for.
It’s been thought from the outset that either Wingo or Kolber would earn the promotion to Berman’s chair, but with Wingo’s name in the mix to replace Mike Greenberg on Mike and Mike, and Kolber on the road for Monday Night broadcasts, it’s possible that the network may prefer adding a fresh new face to its programming. Or in this case, a new face that they’re already familiar with.