“Ernie is a professional broadcaster,” he said, “and he doesn’t have a problem negotiating through [tough situations]. He does it every night on Turner doing the NBA. Granted, it’s a different animal but it’s still basketball.”
He added that the situation might have been tougher if Mr. Johnson was unprofessional or a jerk; in actuality, Mr. Johnson, a winner of the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality, is among the most highly-regarded people in the business.
“The key for me it’s a lot easier if you work with good people,” Mr. Gumbel said. “If you’re working with good people who know what they’re doing, and you know what you’re doing you can kind of make it through the end.”
Mr. Gumbel said CBS and Turner are both loaded with talent. “We probably have ten different announcers who can do the Final Four and the national championship if necessary. We probably have 15 different analysts who could do it. So it’s nice to have that treasure chest of people who can fill in and fulfill different roles as necessary.”
Turner President David Levy agreed, saying the talent they assembled is the best in the business.
“Everything we’ve done for the tournament with talent is what we thought was best for the fans,” Mr. Levy said in an interview. “We’ve tried to put the best talent forward and tough decisions have to get made. There’s nothing wrong with Gumbel at all. He’s one of the best in the business, you know?
“But you can’t have two hosts.”
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