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Erin Andrews leaves ESPN as Fox amps up its courtship

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(Andrew Weber/US Presswire)

On the same day Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced their divorce, another superstar couple has decided to call it quits.

Reporter Erin Andrews is leaving ESPN potentially for the open arms of Fox and its budding college football coverage. Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, who has been all over Erin Andrews potential defection from ESPN since March, wrote that Fox is "aggressively pursuing" Andrews.

Fox has declined to comment, but ESPN wished Andrews well on her future endeavors.

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(Julie Jacobson/AP)

"Erin Andrews leaving ESPN. She did great work for us & we made aggressive offer to keep her. Wish her best on her next chapter," ESPN publicist Mike Humes wrote via Twitter.

This breakup has been a long time coming. In March, rumors started floating around that Andrews was unhappy at ESPN and that her agent was shopping her talents. Andrews contract with ESPN officially ends July 1 and her last official assignment with the network was the ACC basketball tournament in March.

Fox has steadily become a major player in college football during the past two years in part because of a 12-year agreement with the Pac-12. Last year, Fox and the Big 12 reached a 13-year agreement for the network to broadcast 40 games per season. The network also hired Gus Johnson, one of the nation's most entertaining broadcasters, and adding Andrews would be another feather in Fox Sports' cap.

[Slideshow: Sideline reporter Erin Andrews leaves ESPN]

Andrews has had a meteoric rise to popularity in the last couple years after she re-signed with ESPN. She was given an opportunity to host the first hour of the network's popular College Football GameDay. She also appeared as a correspondent for Good Morning America, performed interviews from the red carpet for the 2011 Oscars, strutted her stuff on Dancing with the Stars and was even mentioned in the inaugural episode of Aaron Sorkin's new HBO media drama, "The Newsroom."

But her popularity has not come without consequence. In 2008, voyeur Michael David Barrett filmed Andrews in her hotel room and published the video, which included nude scenes, on the Internet. In 2010, Barrett was sentenced to 30 months in prison for interstate stalking and will be released in July.

However, Andrews made sideline reporting not only sexy but also intelligent and sports fans appreciated that. No matter where she lands, she'll no doubt bring a wide audience with her.

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