Chris Fowler, host of ESPN's immensely popular College GameDay for the last 25 years, is out, according to James Andrew Miller:
Now, don't go feeling sorry for Fowler just yet, as he'll have plenty to do at ESPN to keep him busy. As part of a nine-year contract he signed last year that reportedly pays $35 million over its life, Fowler took over Saturday Night Football play-by-play duties from Brent Musburger, who was put out to pasture at the SEC Network. He also called a college football playoff semifinal, as well as the national championship game.
Two years ago Fowler told Richard Deitsch that his future was in live events, not studio hosting like GameDay:
But the live events are the most inspiring, unexplored thing for me. I really have a passion to document live events as they happen. Hosting is wonderful and remains really satisfying, but the joy for me is calling big matches.
In addition to his football duties, Fowler is the main studio host for ESPN's tennis coverage.
As big of a deal as this is for Fowler—he's as synonymous with College GameDay as Lee Corso at this point—the move is really about Rece Davis, who calls Thursday night football games as well as hosting various studio shows. When Fowler took over Saturday Night Football in addition to College GameDay, it raised questions about whether Davis would leave for a competitor (likely Fox) since both of the top two college football jobs were occupied by Fowler. By splitting the baby and giving Fowler the lead play-by-play gig while Davis gets the lead studio gig, everybody is kept happy.
Update: ESPN has made it official, announcing that Davis has signed a new contract extension through 2021, and as part of that contract he will be taking over College GameDay. The only other information of note in the release is that Davis won't be calling Thursday night football games next year, though he will call some bowl games.