NEW YORK (AP) – Al Michaels is staying with Monday Night Football when it moves from ABC to ESPN for the 2006 NFL season, parting with John Madden after four seasons in the booth together.

Michaels has been the play-by-play man on Monday Night Football since 1986, the last three with Madden as analyst. After this season, Madden is moving to NBC, which is taking over the Sunday night time slot in 2006 for what the NFL considers its main prime-time package.

“I feel like I’m a creature of Monday night. I’m home and I’m staying home,” said Michaels, who had been heavily pursued by NBC, but said he wanted to stay where he has worked for 29 years – ABC and ESPN are both owned by the Disney Co.

“The three words Monday Night Football’ resonate like no other,” he said during a news conference Tuesday to announce the lineup.

Michaels will be joined in the booth by Joe Theismann, who had teamed with play-by-play man Mike Patrick and Paul Maguire on ABC’s Sunday night games.

Michelle Tafoya and Suzy Kolber will be the sideline reporters.

ESPN executive vice president Mark Shapiro said Maguire and Patrick are both expected to stay with the all-sports network.

He said Maguire will be part of a two-hour Monday night pregame show to be hosted by Chris Berman, who has hosted the network’s Sunday night “NFL Primetime.”

NBC, which had been without NFL football since losing its contract to CBS in 1997, announced Tuesday that Bob Costas will host its Sunday night pregame show.

AP-ES-07-26-05 1645EDT

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