SBD/Issue 122/Sports Media

CBS Expands Gus Johnson's Role In NCAA Basketball Tournament

CBS' Gus Johnson
CBS announcer Gus Johnson this year is "back in the rotation to call games beyond the upcoming first weekend" of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, according to Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. CBS Sports Exec VP & Exec Producer Tony Petitti last year inserted announcer James Brown alongside Jim Nantz, Verne Lundquist and Dick Enberg as the net's four play-by-play announcers to call the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight. Brown's addition "pushed Johnson out of the group, and created some media and more Internet backlash." Petitti: "We care about how the viewers react, and are careful not to overreact ourselves. The NCAA committee felt the same way -- they saw Gus' connection to the game. And honestly, nothing against [Brown], but Gus called more games during the regular season and it made more sense to bring him back." Hoffarth notes there are YouTube "shrines built just for [Johnson], blogs and message boards that hail him as CBS' maddening, exuberant voice" of the NCAA tournament. Petitti said of Johnson, "Everyone has their own style, and we encourage it. And who can argue with the fact wherever Gus goes, we know we'll get a great game. It's the 'Gus Factor'" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 3/14).

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