Yes, Rush Limbaugh, the voice of the political right, has confirmed he has auditioned for the vacant seat in ABC's Monday Night Football broadcast booth.
The conservative commentator had try-out opposite play-by-play guy Al Michaels last week in Los Angeles. Limbaugh and Michaels watched a tape of a real NFL game and called it as if it were live.
"I surprised myself," the ever-humble Limbaugh said during a Monday interview with the Washington, D.C., radio station WMAL-AM. "It was even more fun than I thought it would be. This would really be a hoot."
Limbaugh, known for his conservative diatribes on his nationally syndicated radio program, has been campaigning for the MNF gig since color guy and former pro quarterback Boomer Esiason was fired at the end of last season.
In spite of Limbaugh's lack of experience (he played football in high school and did some commentary on Kansas City Royal baseball games), ABC Sports veep Mark Mandel says the network hasn't ruled out the jovial right winger. "He's certainly entitled to say what he wants on the air. We're considering a lot of people and we're not revealing who those people are," Mandel says, but "anything is possible."
Mandel also added that producer Don Ohlmeyer, who produced MNF during its 1970s glory days and was brought back to revamp the show, is auditioning people with and without experience.
Boomer's banishment, Rush's recruitment and the general retooling of the venerable football franchise all boil down to one thing: Sagging ratings. Despite being ABC's highest-rated series (pre-Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, natch), MNF dropped to its lowest numbers ever last year.
Ohlmeyer and his boss, ABC Sports Presisdent Howard Katz, are reportedly nostalgic for the days when famed pontificators Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford held sway in the booth on Monday nights and are looking to recapture that spark.
ABC says it will likely announce Esiason's replacement in mid-June.