For Bryant Gumbel, HBO’s ‘Real Sports’ is still a serious game – Los Angeles Times

During his 45-year TV career, Bryant Gumbel has gained a reputation for being a perfectionist.

Even famous friends have to clear a high bar. The late superstar Prince, a big fan of Gumbel from his “Today”  show days, got that pointed message when he offered to compose a theme song for CBS’ “Public Eye With Bryant Gumbel,” his 1998 prime-time magazine.

“He took a run at it and I didn’t like it,” Gumbel recalled in a recent phone conversation from his home in Jupiter, Fla. “After three tries I called it off. It was becoming embarrassing  — a guy who can’t read music can’t tell Mozart, ‘No, this isn’t good.’ But I own three Prince songs that have never seen the light of day.”

Gumbel applies the same rigorous standard to “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel,” which starts its 23rd season Tuesday on HBO. While sports TV coverage has become louder, faster and prevalent across digital video platforms, Gumbel and his crew have continued to meticulously turn out their monthly magazine of investigative pieces and in-depth profiles in artisanal batches. The host and veteran correspondents deliver narrations and conduct interviews with calm authority on an uncluttered screen.


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