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Chris Fowler to call 'Saturday Night Football' on ABC

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Friday, March 14, 2014 - 9:09 am

NEW YORK — Chris Fowler is taking over play-by-play responsibilities for the marquee Saturday night college football game on ABC.

ESPN announced Thursday that Fowler had signed a nine-year contract extension through 2023. The network said a day earlier that Brent Musburger was leaving "Saturday Night Football" and doing games for SEC Network.

"I've always had the attraction to being able to document a live event," Fowler said in a phone interview.

Fowler called Thursday night games for ESPN from 2006-09, but he said it was hard to juggle that and his "College GameDay" responsibilities. He will continue to host "College GameDay" on Saturday morning, then travel to the site of the prime-time game if it's in a different location, as analyst Kirk Herbstreit already does.

"I love a challenge, but I think it wasn't done without a lot of thought," Fowler said.

Fowler said the preparation for "GameDay" and "Saturday Night Football" will generally overlap and ease some of the workload.

"I don't think I would have wanted to do it if it wasn't also being done by someone else in the booth," Fowler said.

Fowler and Herbstreit have worked together on "GameDay" since 1996 and will now team up on the Saturday night games.

Fowler joined ESPN in 1986 and has hosted "GameDay" since 1990.

He will continue to host and announce tennis coverage from the Grand Slam tournaments.