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Nantz nixes ABC offer, reups with CBS Sports

NEW YORK — CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz reupped with a new five-year contract at the Eye web, turning down an offer to host ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Nantz, 38, has been re-negotiating his contract for several months, and spurned overtures from ABC News chairman Roone Arledge to remain in the sports world at CBS, where he’s worked for the past 12 years.

Olympic assignment

For his loyalty, Nantz Wednesday was named primetime anchor for the 1998 Winter Olympics, solidifying his position as the “primary voice” of CBS Sports. He’ll continue to anchor the network’s PGA and Masters tournament golf coverage, provide play-by-play coverage of college basketball and will also anchor a new “College Football Today” half-hour pre-game show to begin in September. Nantz also plans to contribute occasional segments to CBS News, but will no longer call college football games.

“I’m thrilled this day has arrived,” Nantz said. “I feel like I’ve grown up at this network.” Despite an “agonizing stretch” over several months, he opted to remain at CBS because “I feel there’s a lot of unfinished business for me in the sports world.”

Offered more money

He would not confirm talks with Arledge about joining “GMA,” but said ABC’s offer “was of great intrigue and interest,” and said of his ultimate decision, ” I did not go where the most money was; it wasn’t even close.”

Other sources said Nantz was offered Charlie Gibson’s co-anchor slot at “GMA,” but disputed rumors of a potential $2.5 million payday there. ABC News declined comment. Earlier this week, Joan Lunden confirmed plans to step down from “GMA” after 20 years, although her replacement has not yet been named.

Nantz’s decision to stay is a big vote of confidence in CBS Sports prexy Sean McManus, who until joining CBS last year worked for Nantz’s agent, Barry Frank, at International Management Group. “From our standpoint there’s no finer talent right now in the world of sports broadcasting,” McManus said.

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