SBD/February 1, 2013/Media

Sean McManus Talks About CBS' Plans For Super Bowl Pregame, Postgame Coverage

McManus said he hopes pregame coverage will have "something for everybody"
As CBS prepares to broadcast Super Bowl XLVII Sunday, CBS Sports Group Chair Sean McManus sat down with THE DAILY's Abraham Madkour and John Ourand to answer a few questions.

Q: Will Dan Marino address his controversy on air Sunday?
McManus: I think not, but that decision hasn't been made. Dan has made his statement, and I think that, as far as we're concerned, is all that CBS will be saying about it.

Q: How are you programming your pregame show?
McManus: There's hopefully something for everybody. The deeper we get into the pregame show, the more we'll be focused on football. It's a well thought-out pregame show that addresses all the subjects that responsibly we should address. We'll also have a lot of fun in it. It's a fun event. It's a fun day for America. It's a chance for America to escape and enjoy what really has become a great national holiday. There will be some serious elements. But there will be some really enjoyable and fun elements also. There are a lot of features. We have Rachael Ray in a cooking segment because what would a Super Bowl pregame be without a cooking segment. 

Q: What are some of the serious elements?
McManus: There is a thoughtful, and I think intelligent piece on player safety and concussions that our analysts have very strong opinions about. There's another piece --­ you like to have one of these pieces in every Super Bowl pregame show --­ on Aurora, Colo., and how that tragedy affected the city and affected some sports organizations there. It's tied into the awful occurrences at Newtown. That is a meaningful and important and emotional piece.

Q: What about the football elements?
McManus: The inside football stuff produced for the avid fan and the casual fan I think will be very interesting. People in America have heard what the pistol offense is. To hear our analysts talk about how that is different than a normal offense and how Baltimore is going to stop that -- and conversely, how San Francisco might be able to stop the quarterback who arguably has the strongest arm in the league -- is good. Dan Marino sat down with Colin Kaepernick. It's a fascinating story ­-- a guy no one had ever really heard of a year ago now is the starting quarterback in the Super Bowl. Shannon Sharpe sat down with Ray Lewis and there were no holds barred. Ray Lewis talked about all of the things that you would want him to talk about, including the incident in Atlanta over a decade ago. He addressed that honestly and forthrightly.

Q: CBS has had a bigger presence during Super Bowl week than any host broadcaster that we can remember. Why?
McManus: We have never, as a network, had this kind of presence at any event, much less the Super Bowl. We normally would start our coverage on Super Bowl Sunday at 11:00am. We started our Super Bowl coverage here at 9:00am on Monday in Jackson Square and have been on the air almost solidly since then. Three years ago in Miami, CBS Sports Network did no coverage at all of the Super Bowl, not one second of coverage. They're doing over 50 hours of live coverage this week, including leading right up into our pregame; including after we go off the air with our postgame show.

Q: What will you be looking for Sunday night when the broadcast network coverage signs off and the CBS Sports Network coverage starts?
McManus: Creatively, that it is seamless in terms of the coverage that we're giving our viewers on the CBS Sports Network. Secondarily, it would be how many people actually switch over. We're not expecting the majority of the people ­-- in fact from a corporate standpoint we want most people to watch "Elementary." That's the goal. But if there were people who were going to be turning to some other cable network, that those people would stay on CBS. That's the goal. It's ambitious.
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