Carrie Underwood Fronts NBC Sunday Night Football

Country star Carrie Underwood has been announced as the voice of NBC’s Sunday Night Football coverage, and is to perform the opening theme, Waiting All Day for Sunday Night.

Underwood, who makes her debut September 8 – the first SNF broadcast of the 2013 NFL season, said ‘I am thrilled to be a part of NBC’s Sunday Night Football and am so honoured they asked me. I have always loved football season’.

Underwood steps in for Faith Hill, who announced that she would not be back for a seventh season. Underwood will sing a new version of “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night,” the network said.

Producer Fred Gaudelli said that after Hill informed him in February, Underwood was the only performer he pursued. She was under consideration for the role when NBC first broadcast the Sunday night NFL games in 2006.

Pink sang the opening tune, set to Joan Jett’s “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” for that first season before Hill came on.

“For me, it just always seemed like something that would be fun to do,” Underwood said during a conference call. “To watch Faith do it week after week, to see that hype for the game, it’s something that’s so cool.”

Underwood plans to adapt the intro to her style, with the lyrics remaining the same. NFL stars will again appear in the video sequence.

“Musically, it’s our first step,” Underwood said during a press conference yesterday. “We definitely wanted to make it sound different and sound like me. Faith put her stamp on it for a long time and did such a wonderful job and it was totally Faith; she owned it. We wanted to be mindful of that and go in and change things up a little bit. So they’re actually going to be recording that here pretty soon, and then I’ll be able to go in to the studio and do what I do. And then everything after that visually, we’ll lock in. We have to get the song first. It’s the same song, same lyrics, but it’s going to be with my flair.”

“I had a long time to watch Faith be so amazing at it and bring such an energy to the event every Sunday night,” Underwood said. “So for me, to have that opportunity to follow in her footsteps and do something really cool like that, it sounded like fun. And like I said, this is something that’s been a part of our household for awhile now and to be a part of that is exciting. I can’t wait.”

A former “American Idol” champion and six-time Grammy winner, Underwood is married to hockey star Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators. The 30-year-old Oklahoma native sang the national anthem at the 2010 Super Bowl.

Underwood said her husband, who’s friends with several NFL players, was thrilled about her foray into his profession.

“He’s a sports dude,” she said. “Yeah, he plays hockey, but he definitely loves football, as do I.”

The first Sunday night game is Sept. 8th, when the New York Giants visit the Dallas Cowboys. “Sunday Night Football,” which averaged 21.8 million viewers last season, is TV’s top-rated prime-time show.

Gaudelli said he contacted Hill’s reps Tuesday to let them know of the hire. Underwood said she expected to get pointers from Hill the next time they cross paths.

Underwood is signed up to star in NBC’s live broadcast of “The Sound of Music” also in 2013. While her familiarity with the network helped, she said, the two deals weren’t connected.

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