SBD/Issue 97/Sports Media

CBS Moved Quickly To Get Obama On During College Hoops Broadcast

CBS Learned Friday Of Obama's Intention
To Attend Duke-Georgetown Game
President Obama's guest appearance on CBS' broadcast of Saturday's Duke-Georgetown basketball game "came together quickly," according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Though the White House "knew early last week that he would attend the game at Verizon Center," CBS officials only learned of it on Friday. CBS Sports Producer Bob Dekas said he informed Georgetown SID Mike Carey if he was "in communications with the White House, we'd like to have the president come over and do some commentary during the game, and if he addresses either team before or after the game, we'd like to be in the locker room." That request was "e-mailed to the White House," and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs "recommended it." Gibbs yesterday said he spoke to Obama late Friday afternoon and joked, "You've been in the booth on sports that you knew a lot less on than college basketball, but this sounds like a lot of fun." Gibbs said Obama "jumped at the opportunity," and Saturday morning, a White House detail "met at the arena with the CBS contingent." CBS announcer Verne Lundquist said the meeting dealt with "where the president would sit, which headset he'd use, who else would be at the table, and what the camera shot would be." Lundquist: "We agreed on an angle that would eliminate the potential for anyone to make an improper gesture or hold up an improper poster behind us" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/2).

MAKING IT WORK: SI.com's Richard Deitsch gave kudos to Dekas and CBS director Suzanne Smith for "providing viewers with some amusing shots of Obama chatting it up" with Lundquist and analyst Clark Kellogg "while staying within the framework of the game" (SI.com, 2/1). SPORTINGNEWS.com's Dan Levy wrote of Obama, "Whether you like his politics or not, he does seem like a regular guy, and a knowledgeable basketball fan" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 2/1).

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