The Hollywood Reporter Names 2013's 35 Most Powerful People in Media
This story first appeared in the April 26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The face and soul of the Olympics, Costas drove the London Games to historic ratings with 219.6 million viewers. Yet popularity never blunts his edge -- he can still lace commentary with controversy like no one else.
Costas spurred clamorous debate about the NFL's well-documented gun culture weeks before Newtown and earned global plaudits for calling out Olympic organizers for declining to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Munich tragedy. Often pressed into service by NBC News for reasoned analysis on stories that jump the line from sports (on Today and Meet the Press), the married father of two adult children conducts his most incisive interviews on NBC Sports Network's Costas Tonight.
But random talk-show appearances even yield essential truths: During a September visit to Conan O'Brien's TBS late-night show, he aimed a dart at his own network for pre-empting The Who's Closing Ceremony appearance at the Olympics for Animal Practice: "Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend [or] monkey in a lab coat. … When it comes to the tough calls, NBC usually gets 'em right."
Costas, 61, maintains network brass "know it's a joke," adding: "Conan had a history with NBC, so it's half a joke on Conan. I wouldn't have said that to Jimmy Kimmel."
MOST DESIRED "GET": "I asked Jack Nicholson for an interview years ago, and he said: 'Bobby, Bobby, you're a nice kid. How can I put this nicely? No f--ing way!' "