For nearly 40 years, Bob Costas has been one of the most consistent on-air TV personalities, having spent just about all that time as the most recognizable face of the NBC Sports brand. From baseball to football to boxing to the Olympics, Costas has been there for it all, though recent years have seen less of him in front of the camera. And it sounds like the sportscaster could be bidding farewell to his longtime home much sooner than anticipated, as there's reason to believe Costas is seeking to exit his NBC Sports contract in order to leave the network entirely.
If reports are true, then it appears Bob Costas has been having discussions with both his own representatives and NBC execs, and those talks may lead to Costas being freed from his NBC Sports contract, which is currently not set to expire until 2021. And while neither NBC nor Costas have directly commented on the issue, the Today host did offer up more generalized comments that speak to his current state of mind. In his words to USA Today:
There was a very long period of time when NBC's programming suited my interests and abilities very well, from (late-night talk show) Later, to the news magazines, to baseball, the NBA and the Olympics. And after deciding on my own to leave the Olympics after having done a dozen of them, you just look around and say, 'What was once a perfect fit no longer fits that description.'
One doesn't need to be an expert in cryptology to pick up on Bob Costas' vibe there. He's clearly had some time to sit back and reflect upon his career as a whole, since he stepped down from much of his on-air duties in 2017. (He'd also said he'd be passing on his Olympic hosting torch to former ESPN analyst Mike Tirico.) Costas has since taken on more of a background role at NBC Sports, similar to Tom Brokaw's overseeer position above NBC News. But it seems clear that he's seeking something else.
According to the New York Post, Bob Costas is potentially seeking a hosting job for a new journalism-centered series that would sit him down for interviews and commentary features, with the sports angle being more critical than all-embracing. In recent years, Costas has been vocal about the NFL's medical issues, saying that football "destroys people's brains," which was in part why he opted out preset plans to host this year's Super Bowl. What's more, the new project would likely hit upon subjects outside the wide world of sports.
At this point, it's not clear how this situation will get resolved. Will Bob Costas fully say goodbye to the company that he's worked for in some capacity since 1979? Or will he remain partially tethered to NBC Sports while also being able to set up new TV projects outside of the network? I'd be interested in seeing how Costas' hosting skills would work at a place like Netflix, which has yet to find big breakthrough success with talk-commentary and sports programming.
Where would you like to see Bob Costas take his talents? Let us know in the comments, and head to our fall TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows are on the way to NBC and beyond.