Updated: Why wouldn’t NBC have Costas host the Sochi Winter Games?

UPDATED Thursday afternoon: With an astute reader response below

2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - New York Rangers v Philadelphia FlyersThose running the NBC Olympics officially proclaimed that … wait for it … Bob Costas will host the network’s prime-time and late-night coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games from Russia that start a day before the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, Feb. 7.

Because Ryan Seacrest was already booked?

That means Costas will be the prime-time host for every single Olympic Summer and Winter Games that NBC has had since 1992, which will make him a 10-time host. Jim McKay hosted eight Games for ABC during his career.

Costas also did prime-time and late-night hosting for the 2000 Sydney Summer Games from Australia. He was the late-night host of the 1988 Seoul Summer Games from South Korea in 1988.

“With unmatched experience in the host chair, Bob’s historical perspective and expertise will serve as a foundation for our Sochi coverage both in prime-time and late night,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer of NBC Olympics. “There is no one better than Bob to lead us in telling the stories of the athletes and competition that captivate fans around the world.”


We’ve added this note from reader Miki Osep of Covina:

While NBC’s announcement that Bob Costas will be anchoring the Sochi Olympics seems like stating the obvious, there were reasons for that.

Bob was originally scheduled to cover the National Hopscotch and Jump Roping Championships.  This was NBC Sports’ attempt to cover every possible activity imaginable to attract more viewers.  I understand coverage of the National Tiddlywinks Championships are in the works.

As you may recall, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, ABC News had the three-anchor team of Frank Reynolds, Max Robinson and Peter Jennings.  At that time, I was working for KGTV, the ABC affiliate in San Diego, so I remember that format well.

NBC’s plan in Sochi was to use the three-anchor team of Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears during prime time, with Paris Hilton anchoring the late-night edition.  Paris would have been asked to say, “That’s cool” instead of “That’s hot.”  After all, these ARE the Winter Olympics.

Further, Kanye West, Russell Crowe and Alec Baldwin were to take turns hosting the “Who Should I Punch in the Face Today?” segment during the Games for some entertainment, since the WWF wrestlers had prior commitments.

While intelligence, insight and wit would have gone out the window without Bob at the helm, the overall quality of network television seems to indicate that those aren’t concerns anyway.  Besides, these young women would have attracted the coveted 18-49 demographic, and that’s what’s important.

I am 55, so the advertisers don’t give a rat’s patootie about me.  That’s why I watch a lot of PBS, as do many baby boomers.  “Downton Abbey,” anyone?

However, Bob has been at NBC for 33 years, and in an effort to keep Fox Sports from poaching him so he can cover his beloved baseball, the network acquiesced, and let him anchor the Sochi Olympics.

After all, CNBC just lost Maria Bartiromo to Fox after twenty years.  It wouldn’t look good if Bob left, too.

Now you know why NBC made the announcement about Bob.  Ryan Seacrest will be covering the hopscotch and jump roping championships instead.

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