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Musburger Joins ABC Sports : Sportscaster: Fired by CBS-TV a month ago, he will cover football and basketball.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sportscaster Brent Musburger, exactly one month after being fired by CBS-TV, was hired today by ABC Sports.

Dennis Swanson, ABC Sports president, in making the announcement, said Musburger will do play-by-play on college football and basketball and the new professional World League of American Football, which is scheduled to begin next March.

Musburger will also do play-by-play on one of the two wild-card National Football League playoff games ABC picked up under an expanded format.

Musburger’s broadcast partner on football will be Dick Vermeil, Swanson said.

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Musburger will also serve as host of ABC’s Super Bowl pregame show next January and will be involved with “Wide World of Sports” programming.

His first assignment for ABC will be June 25, when the network broadcasts a prime-time sports award special from the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.

There has been speculation that ABC’s Al Michaels is headed for CBS, but Swanson said Michaels is under a longterm contract to ABC and will be held to it.

Michaels and his New York agent, Art Kaminsky, are currently trying to get Michaels out of his contract and have asked an arbitrator to rule on it.

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Michaels and Kaminsky claim Swanson voided the contract when he suspended Michaels for two weeks without pay in March because Michaels’ teen-age daughter worked as an ABC messenger, which is against a company nepotism policy.

Musburger said he hopes that Michaels will stay at ABC. “He’s a heck of a broadcaster,” Musburger said. “I will have no trouble co-existing with Al.”

CBS had announced April 1, the day before the NCAA basketball championship game in Denver, that it would not renew Musburger’s 5 1/2-year-old contract would, combined with CBS Radio, paid about $2 million per year.

Terms of Musburger’s ABC contract were not announced. “It’s a long-term contract that pays a significant amount of money,” Swanson said, “and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

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Musburger, asked if he took a pay cut, said: “I’m not getting into that. Those matters are being handled by Dennis.”

Swanson said there are no plans to have Musburger involved in “Monday Night Football,” the network’s Indy 500 coverage, horse racing or golf.

Said Musburger: “Whatever ABC wants me to do, I’ll do. If they want me to show up tomorrow, I’ll show up tomorrow. If they want me to show up week after next, then I won’t show up until then.”

Musburger, on criticism he has received over the years from newspaper columnists, said: “People can write whatever they want, as long as it’s not a lie. Those things have never bother me.

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“The only thing that bothers is when there’s a portrayal of me as someone who is difficult to work with. That’s just not the case.”

At CBS, Musburger was the host of the “The NFL Today” pregame show since 1975. He also broadcast college football games, college basketball, and anchored CBS’ coverage of the Masters golf tournament, the NBA finals, the Pan American Games and U.S. Open tennis highlights shows.

His last event for CBS was the NCAA title game.

The week after that event, he went on other networks and accused Neal Pilson, CBS Sports president, and Ted Shaker, that division’s executive producer, of conspiring to oust him.

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