Doug Gottlieb said family considerations were a major factor in his decision to leave ESPN after a decade to sign a multiyear deal to join CBS Sports. Gottlieb will be based out of Southern California, and he said the opportunity to work 15 minutes from his children’s grandparents and boyhood home played a big role in his decision. “ESPN made me an offer that I nearly could not refuse, and it was only vested by some quality of life things in the CBS offer,” Gottlieb said. Some aspects of his new role will be similar to those he had at ESPN, including hosting a three-hour afternoon radio show beginning Jan. 2. He also will serve as a studio analyst on CBS’ regular-season college basketball coverage, as well as the net’s joint coverage with Turner Sports of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Additionally, Gottlieb will host a daily show beginning this fall on CBS Sports Network. “I get the rare chance to do everything I’ve ever wanted to do, and then do it as close to my hometown as I want,” he said. Following yesterday’s formal announcement, Gottlieb took a few moments to reflect on his tenure at ESPN and share some thoughts on new ventures with CBS.
Q: Talk a little bit more about how the opportunity to return home and be closer to your family influenced your decision.
Gottlieb: My only wish at ESPN was to not do the 4:00-7:00pm shifts. And it wasn’t because I didn’t like the 4-7 shifts -- it was making money, it was rating well, it was very popular, we had been promoted and just gotten a podcast, et cetera, et cetera. But I’m a dad of three little kids, and my girls get off the bus at 4:00pm next year and they’re gonna be in bed by 7:30 or 8:00pm. I don’t think being a good dad is putting them on the bus and not seeing them again until it’s time to tuck them in at night. I was willing to do it, and I would do it again, but if I don’t have to and can still fulfill all my professional desires, it feels like the smarter move. They’re going to be around their cousins and grandparents. I didn’t grow up around my grandparents, but I’d love my kids to be able to do that.
Q: How much did the opportunities with the NCAA men’s basketball tournament play in your decision and what will be your involvement with that event?
Gottlieb: As a player you dream of playing in the NCAA Tournament and as broadcaster you dream of broadcasting the NCAA Tournament. And I’m going to get that opportunity. I’m not sure how much I’m at liberty to share, but I’ve been told it’s a major role. I wouldn’t leave ESPN to be tucked away and not seen. They’ve been great. I know they like people who work hard, I know they like people who have an opinion, and I do have a name in the sport and I’m excited to be part of a team. I’ve been told I’m not replacing anybody, I’m simply joining the team.
Q: How do you see either the format or subject matter of your radio show changing?
Gottlieb: People who listen to my radio show know that I use personal anecdotes and references a great deal. I’m a complete open book. I like to tell stories and use those stories to draw opinions on the biggest topics of the day. I am highly opinionated. I think the only changes formatically will be making it more interactive. More calls, more texts, more tweets. … The CBS Radio idea and the ESPN Radio idea are two very different things and I’m going to try and blend the two as best as I can.
Q: What are you looking forward to about the TV show and what is the vision for that project?
Gottlieb: I’m getting a chance to do a TV show. And I understand the number of homes it’s in, as opposed to the number of homes ESPN is in, is a fraction. On the other hand, I don’t know anybody outside my friends at ESPN that have a TV show. So I’m fired up about it. It’s a blank canvas and we have some really good ideas about it. We’re not going to try to "out-ESPN" ESPN. That wouldn’t be smart. It will be different and it will be unique.