Newsday’s Neil Best is reporting former print journalist/current television fixture Tony Kornheiser’s tenure as a “Monday Night Football” commentator is over. Kornheiser will be replaced in the ESPN booth by former Raiders/Bucs head coach Jon Gruden.

Kornheiser cited the grind of the travel schedule, which from the start has been his biggest complaint about the job. He has an intense fear of flying and tried to avoid doing so whenever possible.

Only six of ESPN’s regular-season games in 2009 are scheduled for the Eastern Time Zone (Kornheiser lives in Washington, D.C.), and there are games in Oakland, San Diego, Denver and San Francisco.

“When I looked at the upcoming schedule it was the perfect storm that would’ve frequently moved me from the bus to the air,” he said in a quote provided by ESPN.

“I kept looking at the schedule the past month and wanted to find a way to quietly extricate myself. If I could handpick a replacement of a football guy, I would cast a net and drag in Jon Gruden. He is the two things you most want — smart and funny — and has the two things I don’t — good hair and a tan.”

Surely Kornheiser — who never read a negative notice he didn’t immediately commit to memory — cited the having a tan criteria as a final tweak at those who suggested he needed one.