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Mike Tirico is taking over for Bob Costas as NBC’s Olympics host

Bob Costas, right, passes the torch to Mike Tirico, who will make his debut as NBC's prime-time Olympics host, replacing Costas, at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Bob Costas, right, passes the torch to Mike Tirico, who will make his debut as NBC’s prime-time Olympics host, replacing Costas, at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
(Virginia Sherwood / NBC Sports)

NBC’s longtime Olympics host Bob Costas is handing the torch to Mike Tirico for the 2018 Winter Games, the network announced Thursday.

Tirico will debut as the prime-time host for the network with the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, ending a run for Costas that began in 1992.

Costas, 64, said in a conference call that it was his choice to leave the job after 12 Olympic Games — including 11 as prime-time host — and that he made his decision known to NBC executives more than a year ago. It was not announced, he said, so it would not “get in the way” of the network’s Summer Games coverage in Rio.

“It’s better to leave before they drop hints,” he said. “I didn’t want it to get to that point.”

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Costas noted that he is not retiring and will continue to appear on NBC Sports and NBC News programs. He will also do play-by-play for baseball telecasts on the MLB Network. He has been with NBC for 37 years.

“I decided a transition, not a retirement, was in order for me,” he said. “I feel like I have a whole lot of years left in broadcasting and I want to use them wisely.”

Tirico, 50, joined NBC Sports last July after a long career at ESPN that included handling play-by-play duties for “Monday Night Football.” He was the daytime host of NBC’s Summer Olympics coverage in Rio last year and served as host of the network’s pregame show for “Sunday Night Football.”

Tirico said taking over the prime-time host’s chair had not been agreed upon before he jumped to NBC. But Costas said Tirico’s arrival at the network made him more comfortable with his decision to exit.

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“Mike has all of the tools in the toolkit necessary to do a good job,” said Costas.

Tirico could have a long run in the role as well. In 2011, NBC agreed to pay $4.38 billion to the International Olympic Committee for the rights to broadcast the Games in the U.S. through 2020. The deal was extended through 2032 for another $7.75 billion.

stephen.battaglio@latimes.com

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Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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UPDATES:

1:15 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Bob Costas and Mike Tirico at an NBC Sports news conference.

8:02 a.m.: This article was updated with additional background information.

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This article was originally published at 7:35 a.m.


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