Bob Costas is one of the most recognizable sports broadcasters in the world, largely in part for his work with NBC, particularly its Olympics coverage.
But there was a time when Costas could have left sports behind to do late-night and hard news on CBS.
The broadcaster explained on “The Marchand and Ourand Sports Podcast,” which aired Wednesday, how David Letterman attempted to bring him along to CBS, which subsequently resulted in an offer to do ’60 Minutes.’
“When David Letterman left NBC,…part of the deal [with CBS] was he controlled the hour after his,” Costas said. “…I had been a frequent guest with David and had a good relationship and he offered me that hour after his, which eventually went to Tom Snyder when I declined to do so.
“To sweeten the pot, CBS offered me a correspondent spot on ‘60 Minutes.’ I would have done the hour after David Letterman and been a correspondent on ‘60 Minutes.’”
Letterman left NBC for CBS in 1993 and the 90s were a time when NBC had the rights to many of the premiere sporting events, including the NBA Finals, World Series and Olympics.
“It was very, very tempting,” Costas said. “At a different crossroads of my life, I undoubtedly would have done it. At that time, NBC had a treasure trove of sports riches. I had a close relationship with Dick Ebersol.”
Costas added that his personal life also influenced his decision to remain at NBC.
“The ages of my kids — 7 and 4— and commuting between St. Louis and New York and as corny as it sounds, you can say to a little kid, ‘Hey you wanna go to a ballgame? We’ll stand by the batting cage we’ll say hi to Ozzie Smith. Wanna go to the Bulls game? We’ll watch Michael Jordan. Or let’s everybody go to the Olympics,’” he said. “A little harder to have a kids’ attitude perk up when you say, ‘Hey, I’m interviewing the Secretary of State. Wanna come along?’ So that was actually part of the decision.”