Forty Under 40: Bess Barnes
JOHN PAUL FILO / CBS
Company: CBS Sports / CBS Sports Network
Title: VP, college sports programming
Where born: Bloomington, Ind.
Education: University of Michigan (BBA)
Career background: ESPN Remote Production (production assistant), 2002-04; ESPN Programming (associate, planner, manager, director), 2004-12; CBS Sports, 2012-present
Family: Husband, John; daughter, Addison (1)
Favorite apps: CBS Sports, Delta, Yahoo News Digest, Amazon.
Favorite way to unwind: Catching up on TV shows on my DVR or reading.
Guilty pleasure: Online shopping.
Worst habit: Loud talking, especially when I’m on the phone.
Cause supported: Blood donation, with the Red Cross.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Condoleezza Rice: I’d love to play golf with her at Augusta National.
I have a fear of … : Heights.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Hike into the Grand Canyon.
2014 will be a good year if … : Michigan returns to the Final Four, I’m there to see them win, and the tournament scores record ratings.
She caught on as an associate producer, eventually moving over to the programming side of the business after two years. Barnes was happy at ESPN and never considered leaving. But the prospects of working with Berson (a former colleague at ESPN) and the job overseeing CBS’s college relationships was too good to pass up.
“While difficult to leave ESPN, it was an easy decision,” Barnes said.
Berson said his choice was natural, too.
“Everyone loves working with Bess,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with her for over 10 years, at ESPN and CBS. She’s smart, hardworking, passionate, always looking for solutions, and full of positive energy.”
With CBS’s roster including TV’s top-rated college football package and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Barnes is a frequent
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.
This season, CBS chose the LSU-Georgia game over Ole Miss-Alabama, based in part on input from on-air analyst Gary Danielson.
“I remember vividly that Gary’s argument was that the LSU-Georgia game doesn’t happen very often … because they’re not in the same division,” she said. “I remember having an email exchange with Dan about it later on Saturday night. That was the determining factor.”
— John Ourand