Costas’ ‘Tonight’ debuts … uh, tonight

NBA commish David Stern, NHL commish Gary Bettman and WBC welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather will go down as the first guests for Bob Costas’ new “Costas Tonight” hour-long interview show that airs on the NBC Sports Network starting at 5 p.m. tonight.

Costas paired up with an interview show is not new territory. It goes back to his sit-downs with all kinds of celebrities on “Costas Now” for HBO a few years ago, “Later With Bob Costas” on NBC back in the late ’80s and early ’90s and even “Costas Coast to Coast” syndicated radio show. The MLB Network has been using him to do sit-downs with former baseball greats from the past. Costas also recently contributed to the new NBC series, “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” getting Jerry Sandusky to make a fool of himself.

What you’ll get tonight, based on the interview transcripts (the show was taped Tuesday), is Bettman talking about how concussions are “a serious issue,” and Stern calling the Jeremy Lin phenomenon a “frenzy on a global scale.”

We’re most interested in Mayweather’s fair-weathered remarks about a potential fight with Manny Pacquiao while he squirms in his seat in Studio 8G at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (see video above).

Costas will also get a small parting shot at HBO by throwing out a question related to Bryant Gumbel’s commentary about the NBA lockout a few months back, where he called Stern “some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating the NBA men as if they were his boys.”

Bettman: “Let me answer first, because I worked with David for over 12 years. That is probably the most ignorant, stupid statement I’ve ever heard. Anybody who knows David knows that nothing could be further from the truth.”

Stern: “Thank you, friend Gary. I actually, you know, sort of enjoyed it to a degree because the flood of phone calls that I got from a very diverse community said ‘What is this guy’s problem?’ And I said, ‘His ratings are going down, it’s a slow news day, he wants some headlines.’ And I wouldn’t say anything publicly, it was taken care of by Charles Barkley and Jesse Jackson.”

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