Greg Anthony, who has never called an NCAA tournament game in his nearly 10-year career as a broadcaster, has been promoted to the No. 1 college basketball analyst spot at CBS, and will almost certainly be announcing the 2014 Final Four.
How did this stunning decision come to be?
The move, which was announced last night and caught nearly everyone in the announcing industry by surprise, was spearheaded by David Berson, the new President of CBS Sports, with a significant nudge from Turner executives, sources say. Berson officially took over in June, but sources say he was making moves behind-the-scenes before then. His first change was promoting football analyst Brian Jones from CBS Sports Network to the CBS Sports studio on Saturdays.
Berson’s predecessor, Sean McManus, loved Clark Kellogg, and tabbed him to replace legendary Billy Packer in 2008.
[Ed. For those who didn’t bother click the link, Sean McManus is still at CBS. He’s the chairman of CBS Sports.]
But CBS now shares the NCAA tournament with Turner, which will be airing the Final Four and Championship in the coming years. Sharing may not be the most accurate description – one source pegs the financial split as 80 percent Turner, 20 percent CBS. Those two figures have not been previously reported.
Turner clearly had a say in Anthony replacing Kellogg, regardless of what the networks say. Anthony has been a studio analyst with NBA TV for the last few years, so Turner is extremely familiar with his work. A quick breakdown of CBS vs. Turner at the Final 4 next season:
Game: Nantz (CBS), Kerr (Turner), Anthony (Turner)
Pregame: Gumbel (CBS), Barkley (Turner), Smith (Turner), Gottlieb (CBS), Kellogg (CBS)
One source who was privy to the conversations between the two networks said Turner also prefers Marv Albert to Jim Nantz in the play-by-play spot and Ernie Johnson to Greg Gumbel in the studio. (Johnson was the studio host on TBS during last year’s tournament.)
Are any of those changes on the immediate horizon? If Turner had its way, yes. But given that Turner just got one of “its guys”* into the Final Four, it might be a year or two before the other changes happen.
A CBS spokesman would only say Anthony is “no longer a studio analyst,” but said no NCAA tournament decisions have been made.