While some cable TV hosts are making their living off the Natalee Holloway case this summer, Bob Costas is having none of it.
Costas, hired by CNN as an occasional fill-in on “Larry King Live,” refused to anchor Thursday’s show because it was primarily about the Alabama teenager who went missing in Aruba. Chris Pixley filled in at the last minute.
“I didn’t think the subject matter of Thursday’s show was the kind of broadcast I should be doing,” Costas said in a statement. “I suggested some alternatives but the producers preferred the topics they had chosen. I was fine with that, and respectfully declined to participate.”
Costas’ manager declined to elaborate on what Costas didn’t like about the topic.
Thursday’s guests included Beth Holloway Twitty, the girl’s mother; a television reporter; and an investigator in the case. Seven of the show’s 10 guests talked about the missing girl, the other segments were about the BTK killer.
The Holloway case has been a big attraction on cable news networks during a slow news period, with Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren getting record ratings as she’s paid almost nonstop attention to it. Reports of Costas’ decision first surfaced on the mediabistro.com Web site on Friday.
“There were no hard feelings at all,” Costas said. “It’s not a big deal. I’m sure there are countless topics that will be mutually acceptable in the future.”
Wendy Walker, senior executive producer of “Larry King Live,” described it as a mutual decision for Costas not to do the show because he was uncomfortable with the subject matter.
“We love having Bob ... and since ‘Larry King Live’ covers an extremely extensive palate of subjects, there will always be shows that he will enjoy hosting,” she said.
The NBC Sports personality, also host of “Costas Now” on HBO, had agreed to be host for about 20 editions of “Larry King Live” this year. He’s done six, the network said.
His decision is reminiscent of Keith Olbermann, the former sportscaster who left his MSNBC news show in the late 1990s in part because he was asked to repeatedly cover the Monica Lewinsky story. Olbermann is back now for his second run at MSNBC.