Once affectionately referred to as "Sportboy" by then NBC colleague David Letterman, boyishly genial sportscaster Bob Costas transcended his original specialty to become one of TV's more respected interviewers and cultural commentators. Armed with a lively intelligence, gently ironic manner, and a photographic memory, Costas demonstrated the impressive breadth of his interests and insights as host of the superior late night interview show, "Later with Bob Costas" (NBC, 1988-1994), as well as providing coverage for the Olympics, beginning with the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. He seemed equally comfortable with performers, filmmakers, artists, writers and political figures. Costas subsequently became a pundit of sorts, appearing on such forums as "Meet the Press" (NBC, 1947-2009), "Today" (NBC, 1951- ), and "Nightline" (ABC, 1979- ), offering carefully considered views on a wide variety of current events. In addition to hosting duties on shows such as "On the Record with Bob Costas" (HBO, 2000-04), he was also frequently in demand in Hollywood, lending his voice to projects like the animated feature "Cars" (2006). So substantial was his visibility and credibility, that at one point Costas' name was even put forth as a possible candidate for the commissioner of Major League Baseball.
Born on March 22, 1952 in Queens, NY, Costas started his broadcasting career at the Syracuse University stations WSYR-TV and Radio. He graduated to KMOX-AM radio in St. Louis, MO where he worked as the play-by-play voice of the American Basketball Association's Spirits of St. Louis. This led to regional broadcasts for local NFL and NBA telecasts for CBS Sports until 1980. Costas moved on to NBC Sports, initially as a sportscaster for pro baseball and college basketball. Gaining notice for his work with baseball analyst Tony Kubek on NBC's "Game of the Week," Costas was the network's first-string baseball announcer from 1983-89. He hosted several World Series pre-games beginning in 1982, announced the American League Championship Series multiple times since 1983, and emceed the All-Star Game pre-game shows from 1983 onward. Costas' notoriety spread as he hosted the late-night portion of the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea. His smooth baritone voice also lent itself to afterhours programming, evidenced by his first solo interview show, "Later with Bob Costas" (NBC, 1988-1994). He also hosted his own nationally syndicated weekly talk radio show, "Costas Coast to Coast," from 1988-94. Continuing to branch out from live game coverage, Costas began making recurring correspondent appearances on the televised news magazine "Dateline NBC" (NBC, 1991- ).
During and after the run of "Later," Costas hosted, provided commentary, or merely made guest appearances on a wide assortment of TV specials including "Diamonds on the Silver Screen" (AMC, 1992), "Bob Hope: The First 90 Years" (NBC, 1993), "Last Call! A Cheers' Celebration" (NBC, 1993), and "One on One: Classic Television Interviews" (CBS, 1993). His celebrity status was further authenticated by several feature film cameos as himself in "The Paper" (1994), "The Scout" (1994), "Open Season" (1995), and "BASEketball" (1998). Costas was also tapped by a cable news network as part of the rotating host roster for "Internight" (MSNBC, 1996-2000), a nightly talk program featuring conversations with newsmakers from politics, entertainment, sports and everyday life. Always in demand for cameo appearances, he played himself in a memorable 1996 episode of the sitcom "NewsRadio" (NBC, 1994-99), a 1998 episode of "The Larry Sanders Show" (HBO, 1992-98), and a 1999 episode of "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC, 1995-2004), along with several appearances on Robert Wuhl's sports agent sitcom "Aril$$" (HBO, 1996-2002). He found a permanent home at HBO as the central figure behind the interview series "On the Record with Bob Costas" (HBO, 2000-04), a weekly sports talk/magazine series that focused on topical sports issues and personalities from the playing field, front office and entertainment world.
Costas kept busy at the cable network with hosting duties on "Inside the NFL" (HBO, 1977- ) for five years, beginning in 2002. After he served as the primary host of NBC's coverage of the XIX Winter Olympics in 2002, his next cable show was the one-hour sports magazine "Costas Now" (HBO, 2005-07). In 2005, the broadcaster was also named as the regular substitute host for Larry King on King's eponymous CNN talk show, on average conducting approximately 20 interviews a year in King's stead. More entertainment work came his way with a cameo in the Denzel Washington sports drama "Coach Carter" (2005), and voice roles in Pixar's "Cars" (2006) and on episodes of "Family Guy" (FOX, 1998- ) in 2006. Costas provided commentary on "NBC Sunday Night Football" (NBC, 2007-08), and once again led coverage for "Beijing 2008: Games of the XXIX Olympiad" (NBC, 2008). He reteamed with American documentarian Ken Burns to narrate the sequel "Baseball: The Tenth Inning" (PBS, 2010), having provided similar duties for the first film in 1994. Later that year, he braved the cold once again to lend his expertise to the pageantry of "Vancouver 2010: XXI Olympic Winter Games" (NBC, 2010).