Bob Costas to Revisit Classic Baseball Films on New MLB Network Show (Exclusive)

The Olympians
Wesley Mann

Bob Costas is not afraid to speak his mind, as he did during the 2012 Summer Games' Opening Ceremonies when he called out the International Olympic Committee for declining to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre. “I’ve thrown my back out tilting at windmills,” says Costas. “So I might as well continue.”

Bob Costas is poised to take Hollywood out to the ballgame.

The MLB Network is launching Costas at the Movies, a five-episode series in which the sports broadcaster will interview the stars and filmmakers behind classic baseball movies, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.

Airing Mondays beginning Jan. 14, the 30-minute show will tackle A League of Their Own (1992), Bad News Bears (1976), Cobb (1994) and Eight Men Out and The Natural (1984). Each episode will be followed by a broadcast of the film discussed that night.

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“It combines two things I’m especially interested in: baseball and the movies,” Costas tells THR.

Costas hopes to learn details fans will be interested in, such as which actors were natural ballplayers and how the filmmakers feel about their work with the benefit of hindsight.

"They said Gary Cooper really couldn’t play baseball very well, although he was terrific in the way that he portrayed Lou Gehrig [in The Pride of the Yankees]," Costas says. "We know that Kevin Costner is a good baseball player and therefore is very credible. That's the sort of thing people like to know about."

Guests lined up for the five episodes include actors Tommy Lee Jones (Cobb), Tatum O'Neal (Bad News Bears) and Geena Davis (A League Of Their Own). Costas will also sit down with directors John Sayles (Eight Men Out), Penny Marshall (A League of Their Own), Ron Shelton (Cobb) and Barry Levinson (The Natural).

Costas, who is visiting Los Angeles to conduct the interviews over the weekend, says he has been impressed by how willing the actors and filmmakers have been to make time to remember their work.

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“Not only do they take pride in the work they did in these movies, but they don’t often get a chance to talk at length about it,” Costas says. “Everything now is a sound bite. The idea of getting to speak in complete sentences and actually recalling something that was an important part of your life and career I think appeals to people.”

Costas said there may be more guests lined up, but find below the complete schedule for Costas at the Movies guests as it stands now. The show airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on the MLB Network.

Monday, January 14 - Cobb
Interviews: Tommy Lee Jones (Ty Cobb) and director Ron Shelton

Monday, January 21 - Bad News Bears
Interview: Actress Tatum O'Neal (Amanda Whurlizer)

Monday, January 28 - A League of Their Own
Interviews: Geena Davis (Dottie Hinson) and director Penny Marshall

Monday, February 4 - Eight Men Out
Interviews: Director John Sayles

Monday, February 11 - The Natural
Interview: Director Barry Levinson


Twitter: @AaronCouch