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Bob Costas Talks Olympics, Sandusky

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Marisa Guthrie profiles Bob Costas–the face of NBC’s Olympics coverage–in a wide-ranging cover story.

Among the topics of discussion, Costas’ interview with Jerry Sandusky, which netted him and “Rock Center” an Emmy nomination. Guthrie adds that since the Sandusky interview, NBC News has been making a concerted effort to have Costas on more often.

As Amendola was en route to New York — on an NBC-chartered plane — executives began to see promos for a CNN interview with him. “I expressed my displeasure in fairly colorful terms,” says executive producer Rome Hartman, adding that he does not know if Amendola made the last-minute and now-infamous suggestion to get Sandusky on the phone with Costas out of a misguided effort to make amends. “He knew, and we kept reiterating, that what we really wanted was an interview with his client.”

The segment on the Brian Williams-hosted newsmagazine ran for eight minutes, but Costas pushed for more. “I felt like they should have blown out whatever segment was after it,” he says. (It was a piece about Alabama’s controversial immigration law.) “They did make more time for it than they had originally formatted. Let’s put it this way: They had a big inning but left a few men on base.”

In retrospect, Hartman agrees, though he points out, “There was no shortage of damning stuff” in those eight minutes. “It was a phoner, and it was one of the most gripping interviews that any of us will ever see,” he says. “Bob was pitch-perfect. He was respectful on a human level, but he didn’t give a single inch.”

The discussion also touches upon the Olympics, and what Costas has planned for the Opening Ceremonies:

At the July 27 Opening Ceremony from London, Costas plans to call out the IOC for denying Israel’s request for a moment of silence acknowledging the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the 1972 Games. On the 40th anniversary of Munich, it’s a decision he finds “baffling.” When the Israeli delegation enters the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, Costas will stage his own protest: “I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he says, modulating his voice as if he were on the air. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.” Says Ebersol: “There’s a reality in business; there were times when I thought he got too forceful. But I’m very proud of the fact that Bob was able to be Bob.”

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