Meet the new Howard Cosell: Smug comic Dennis Miller of HBO's self-titled, self-satisfied talk show is joining the booth of ABC's "Monday Night Football." In an afternoon press conference today, "MNF" producer Don Ohlmeyer announced that Miller will join returning play-by-play man Al Michaels and former NFL pro Dan Fouts when the revamped primetime show kicks off this fall.
Additionally, ESPN's Melissa Stark and ex-Los Angeles Rams star Eric Dickerson were tapped as sideline reporters for the showcase broadcast, replacing Leslie Visser who handled those duties last season.
Five-time Emmy winner Miller, 46, is best known for three things: (1) the HBO show (which he'll continue hosting); (2) his 1985-90 stint on "Saturday Night Live"; and, (3) dropping arcane pop culture references.
As for his qualifications for the "MNF" gig?
"I'm a sports nerd," Miller told reporters. "I've watched it all my life."
While Miller is a sports outsider, Fouts, 49, is the ultimate insider. On "MNF," he'll fill in TV sports' requisite ex-jock spot. Formerly a quarterback with the San Diego Chargers (1973-87), Fouts worked with ABC last season as a college football analyst.
The Michaels-Miller-Fouts team means the following guys (reputed "MNF" candidates) won't be in the booth: Radio host Rush Limbaugh and retired Miami Dolphins (and Dallas Cowboys) head coach Jimmy Johnson.
Miller and Fouts replace Boomer Esiason, another ex-jock, who was canned after a lackluster ratings year.