SBD/Issue 204/Sports Media

CBS Sports Parting Ways With Billy Packer After 27 Years

CBS Not Bringing Packer
Back For 28th Season
CBS Sports today announced it will not bring back lead college basketball analyst Billy Packer for another season. Packer had worked for CBS since '82. Packer will be replaced by CBS in-studio analyst Clark Kellogg, who has worked for the net since '94 and now will partner with Jim Nantz (CBS). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Ourand & Lefton report Packer had been "working off one-year contracts." Greg Anthony, who left ESPN earlier this year, is "expected to replace Kellogg in the studio, though his deal hasn't been finalized" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/14 issue). Packer yesterday confirmed through a CBS official that he "no longer will broadcast for the network but is pursuing other projects in basketball." In Miami, Barry Jackson reports CBS "believed the time was right for a change and that Kellogg deserved a chance to work with Jim Nantz on the lead team" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/14). A CBS spokesperson said Packer still plans to be involved in college basketball, and he will work with new unnamed partners in an effort to advance the sport (THE DAILY).

REAX: On Long Island, Neil Best writes Packer was “famously stubborn and opinionated, but was at his best in breaking down strategy and anticipating its impact.” He also “regularly generated controversies” (NEWSDAY.com, 7/14). In DC, Patrick Stevens writes Packer has an “all-business approach that can come off on television as curmudgeonly or downright grouchy.” However, if Packer is “not on the air in some capacity or another at next year's Final Four in Detroit, it's going to seem very, very strange” (WASHTIMES.com, 7/14). But SPORTINGNEWS.com's Dan Shanoff writes Packer "wasn't just a curmudgeon; he was joyless, which made listening to him excruciating. His ouster is a great day for college hoops fans" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/14). AWFUL ANNOUNCING’s Brian Powell writes, “I have to say that today I'm pretty happy with this move. … In all honesty, I can’t believe he lasted this long.” Noting the net selected Gus Johnson to call second-weekend games during last season’s tournament, Powell writes, “For the second year in a row CBS has decided to make an amazingly smart decision for it's March Madness broadcast” (AWFULANNOUNCING.BLOGSPOT.com, 7/14).

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