NBC Gets Madden, Wants Michaels

John Madden is joining NBC as the analyst for its new Sunday Night Football package and if NBC gets its way, his current Monday Night Football broadcast partner Al Michaels may not be far behind.

Madden signed a six-year deal aligning with the net's six-year package to begin airing NBC’s Sunday Night Football in 2006. Madden will make the jump from Monday Night Football after the 2005 season, when MNF moves to ESPN as Sunday nights go from ESPN to NBC.

Madden has been a broadcaster for over 25 years, winning 14 Emmy's for a style that mixes X's and O's authority--he coached Oakland to a Super Bowl--with a folksy and engaging manner that has made him a prized pitchman out of the broadcast booth. He has been with ABC since 2002 following 21 seasons as an analyst with CBS and Fox.

NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol said on a conference call Wednesday he planned on using just a two-man booth, and would talk to Michaels, currently calling the San Antonio-Detroit NBA Finals on ABC. "When the NBA finals are over we will talk extensively with Al Michaels," he said. "If there is a deal to work out there, I’d sure like to try."

The announcement gives Disney one fewer announcer to pick from as it decides who from its current Sunday night (ESPN) team of Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann and Paul Maguire or Monday night  (ABC) team of Madden and Michaels would announce Monday Night Football for ESPN.

Ebersol said he will use Madden as his "chief advisor" for the selection of which games to air late in the season as part of the NFL’s new flexible scheduling plan.

Under the new format, for the last seven weeks of the season, the network carrying the Sunday doubleheader can protect one game, with NBC then having the ability to many any other game that week to the Sunday night slot. Fox and CBS rotate the doubleheader each week.

NBC’s deal includes a slate of 16 Sunday night games each year, as well as an annual Thursday night game that kicks off the NFL season. As part of the package, NBC gets the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl in both 2009 and 2012, as well as three preseason prime time games and two postseason Wild Card games each season.