Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Last Dance: Director Fishman gears up for his 39th Final Four

Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski isn’t the only person to retire after the last four.

It is also the last game for Bob Fishman, who is in the director’s chair for the 39th time for CBS and Turner’s coverage of the NCAA Tournament.

“Over the years we have become dear friends. I have directed every one of his national championships,” Fishman said. “I told him a couple of weeks ago ‘You know, I’m a fair coach, but it sure is. It would be nice to be together to celebrate our retirement together and maybe win a national championship. That would be really cool for me.”

Fishman will direct TBS’ coverage of Saturday’s national semi-final and Monday night’s title game. Fishman, along with the top team of Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill and Tracy Wolfson, have made all of Duke’s games to date.

Many people may not know who Fishman is, but he has directed some of the most memorable events on CBS since leaving the news division in 1975. He directed the original “NFL Today” studio show with figure skating at three Olympic Games, including the memorable performance between Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding at Lillehammer in 1994, and the 1992–93 World Series, which was played by Joe Carter in 1993. Best remembered for the game-winning home run, to give the Toronto Blue Jays their second title.

“It’s much more than just being perfect, technically perfect. It’s also the sixth sense she has for storytelling, where she needs to be and where she needs to go. After all, it’s a visual medium,” Nantz said. , which this weekend will call its 31st Final Four. “He’s the man who provided images that will outlast us all.”

Fishman, who has won 16 Emmy Awards, has also directed 27 US Open Tennis Championships and 20 Daytona 500s, which first aired live in 1979 and featured the memorable post-race fight between Kale Yarborough and Donnie Allison. was shown.

“I have said it many times. If there is Mount Rushmore in sports production, then Bob Fishman is front and center,” said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus. “It is hard to imagine that someone would have an equally diverse career in directing As much as it was his. It’s just remarkable.”

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But of all the events he has hosted over the years, his favorite is the NCAA Tournament.

Fishman’s first memorable tournament shot came in 1982, when Michael Jordan of North Carolina hit a game-winning shot against Georgetown. Seconds later, Fred Bown’s infamous trade took place where he bowled the ball to James Worth, who he mistook for teammate Eric Smith.

Two years later, Fishman caught the scene on coach John Thompson’s Georgetown bench while giving Brown a huge hug late in the championship game against Houston.

One of the more notable Fishman celebration shots came in 1983 with North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano running for someone to hug after troubling Wolfpack Houston. He was a camera in the upper left corner of the arena that was supposed to focus on the big celebration. It was the only camera that got Valvano in the midst of last-second madness.

Fishman has also gone on to lift Villanova over North Carolina for Chris Jenkins’s 2016 buzzer-beater, and Kansas beat Memphis in overtime in the 2008 final.

Of the 13 last four visits of the Duke under Krzyzewski, Fishman made 12 of them. The only one he missed was in 1990, when he was undergoing treatment for bone cancer.

When CBS aired its first NCAA Tournament in 1982, less than half of the games were on network television. CBS covered the entire tournament in 1991, but viewers were at the mercy of the network as to which games they could watch. It wasn’t until CBS joined forces with Turner in 2011 that all games became available, with four channels using the first weekend.

When Fishman had his first Finals Four in New Orleans in 1982, CBS had six cameras. He’ll have at least 22 of them this weekend in the Superdome, including the Robot Skycam and Railcam.

Fishman said that even though a lot has changed because of technology, the same principles have remained in place throughout – getting the shot right while making sure the focus remains on the game.

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“We now have all the toys we need that enhance transmission. This is true when we get overloaded sometimes. But my focus has always been to keep up with the game and not get lost on all equipment,” Fishman said. “Make the best decision for the audience with the camera shot and when it’s appropriate we call cutaway shots. Not always on guard to get the ball up the court, but with close ups to show the spirit of the game Taking a few chances. The original coverage is still what it is now, we just have more toys to play with.”

Nantz can’t even imagine the last time he saw Fishman make a broadcast error. During last Sunday’s Academy Awards, Nantz was shocked by Kevin Costner’s solace about film directors and how they apply to sports.

“Directors don’t get as much praise in sports television, but it’s a living animal here,” Nantz said. “There’s no second take. You don’t have time to set up shots on the fly. You have to make 1,000 decisions inside one broadcast. It’s not cookie cutter. It’s instant decision-making.”

“I am lost in admiration for everything Bob Fishman has done.”

During the first two weeks of the NCAA Tournament, Fishman has gotten emotional a couple of times, but has said that there are other things he looks forward to doing. He hasn’t ruled out a return to do some more sports television work down the line.

“I’m trying not to think about Monday night’s championship game. I’m sure I’ll be doomed when that ‘One Shining Moment’ tape last rolls around.” “My family is going to live in New Orleans, and you know I’m ready to move on and do some other things in my life.”

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