Joe Buck Gets his Own Show On HBO: He's No Bob Costas

Marisa ScolamieroAnalyst IJune 16, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 3:  (U.S. TABS AND HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Sports caster Joe Buck attends Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel May 3, 2005 in New York City.  (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)

Bob Costas has been one of the most notable voices in sports broadcasting for a long time. Costas has transformed himself from being just an every day sports broadcaster into a spectacular interviewer and host of shows such as "Costas Now".

From 2004-2008, Costas hosted "Costas Now" on HBO, which he wrote and produced. It featured segments with some of the top people in sports like Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Hank Aaron, and many others.

He asked questions that maybe brought out a side of athletes that fans couldn't see on an every day basis, good or bad. He consulted with a group of sports panelists about a variety of topics, and they always seemed like a group of friends sitting around talking about the happenings in sports, rather than people forced to sit together and converse.

Costas had a way of establishing a good rapport with his guests, whether he knew them or just met them backstage. Bob was always that relatable guy who could make even the most up tight of athletes crack a smile while still sounding eloquent.

HBO recently gave Joe Buck his own show called "Joe Buck Live". The show is filmed on the same stage where "Costas Now" was shot, with a similar format. There is a severe flaw in the design, however.

The first episode aired last night. Buck opened the show doing a type of monologue as if he were Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien. There's nothing wrong with introducing the new show, but having Buck look through a telescope into "Bob Costas' house" to see Bob wearing a Hawaiian shirt and reading a book with his dog in a matching Hawaiian shirt is just plain stupid. Any attempt at humor was pretty much a waste, and Buck looked more like a fish out of water than anything else.

Buck's interview segments were the most tolerable part of the show. Considering he covers the NFL and MLB, where he is knowledgeable about the players and what goes on around the leagues.

His first guest was Brett Favre. It was Favre's first big interview since undergoing knee surgery. The question of the hour was if Favre was going to retire for real this time or possibly play for the Minnesota Vikings. Naturally, Favre didn't give a direct answer on whether he's hanging it up or not, and quickly, his segment was over.

The next part featured Buck interviewing the Mets' David Wright. They showed them talking over lunch in a restaurant in New York City, and walking around the streets to get a little bit of a sense of what it's like for Wright on a daily basis. It was a solid interview, because Buck wasn't outside of his element.

When the show returned to the studio, Buck was seated with NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin and Chad Ochocinco. Buck kept harping on the point that Ochocinco craves the spotlight, to which he kept saying he has his own spotlight (whatever that means).

Buck is used to being on the air and not having the person he's talking to sitting next to him. If he wants to keep bringing up a particular point and beat it like a dead horse, the person is not usually there to contest him. In a short interview, the audience doesn't want to hear the same question askedespecially if it is likely to produce no answer or information from the first time it was asked.

The final segment was with actor Paul Rudd, Artie Lange (a.k.a. Howard Stern's side kick on his radio show), and comedian Jason Sudeikis. Rudd and Buck are apparently old friends so that explained the actor's appearance on the show. Lange is a comedian known for being somewhat brash, to put it mildly, which didn't sit well with Buck for most of the segment. Lange seemed to take over that portion of the show, and while he was getting laughs from the audience, Buck looked less than happy to take a back seat on his own show.

More than that, there really was no purpose for those three to be on the show. If the show is supposed to be centered on sports, I'm not exactly sure where they fit in, aside from being fans.

Three more shows of "Joe Buck Live" are supposed to air throughout the year, and hopefully, as time goes on, Buck will learn how to roll with what his guests say. If he continues to come off as annoyed as he was last night, he's going to be out of the studio and back in the broadcast booth before he can shake his head.

Some people simply can't make the transition from a sports commentator to the host of an hour-long show, where the guests are going to say unexpected things.

Bob Costas made it look easy for the four years that "Costas Now" was on the air. Even though "Joe Buck Live" is filmed on the same stage as "Costas Now", it is clear that Joe Buck is not even close to the kind of host Bob Costas is, and would be better off in the broadcast booth where at least there are commercial breaks.

An hour of Joe Buck is just painfully too long. HBO would've been better giving Michael Irvin his own showat least that would've been entertaining.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.