Bob Costas, who has helmed NBC’s Olympic coverage since 1992, announced on the Today Show that he will be stepping away from anchoring the Olympics. Mike Tirico, who anchored the daytime Rio Olympics coverage after joining NBC from ESPN in July, will be the new primetime anchor for the Olympic Games. His first Olympics will be the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.
This is not retirement for Costas, but rather a transition towards a lighter workload. Costas will not contribute to NBC’s Olympics coverage in 2018, his first time not being part of the Olympics since the 1980s. However, Costas will continue contributing to NBC’s baseball coverage and the MLB Network that NBC has a partial ownership in. One name that often came up when Costas discussing his future was Tom Brokaw, who stepped down from NBC Nightly News but still frequently appears on NBC’s news coverage to provide analysis and perspective. Costas said that his contract has a “Brokaw clause” and that he will take on a role similar to the newsman. Costas will anchor NBC’s coverage of the Super Bowl in 2018, however, because Tirico will be in South Korea preparing for the Olympics.
Costas said that the decision was his, but that conversations dated back five years and that he made the decision a year ago. He said on a conference call with reporters that he wanted to step away while he was still able.
“For a quarter-century, Bob expertly piloted NBC’s primetime coverage of the Olympics,” Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, said.
“It is with a tremendous amount of pride that I can simultaneously express our appreciation for Bob’s stellar, record-setting run, while also feeling very lucky that we have someone as talented as Mike to take over as our new primetime host.”
Costas said in a statement, “It has been both a privilege and an incredible personal and professional experience to have been part of NBC’s Olympic coverage all these years.”
“I’m especially appreciative of all the talented and dedicated people I worked for and with on those broadcasts. I always felt that, in a certain sense, I was carrying the ball for them. It’s been a wonderful run, but I just felt now was the right time to step away and I’m grateful that NBC left that decision to me.”
“The level and longevity of Bob’s tenure have left an indelible mark on American television and the Olympic Games,” Tirico said. “I am honored to call him a friend, humbled by this opportunity, and thankful to the many people who have helped make this possible.”
Tirico said that anchoring the Olympics was not discussed when he joined NBC.
“Bob Costas and the Olympics has been one of greatest pairings in sports broadcasting history, and there isn’t anyone better suited to inherit his mantle than Mike Tirico,” Jim Bell, the head of NBC’s Olympic coverage, said in a statement. “Mike’s natural gifts as a broadcaster and passion for storytelling are just two reasons he is the perfect choice to host the biggest, most distinguished sports event in the world.”
Tirico and Costas’s day was marked by media. They made the announcement on the Today Show and then held a press conference at 30 Rockefeller Center before also holding a conference call. Throughout the day the two also spoke with members of the media individually. There was also a photo (above) where Costas literally passed the torch to Tirico.