CNN crowns Costas as backup for King

Deal allows him to sub while hosting own HBO show

NEW YORK — CNN has signed Bob Costas as a substitute host for Larry King.

Costas, who has a broadcast deal with NBC Universal and a cable deal with Time Warner, is expected to helm the broadcast about 20 times a year.

His first interview will air Sunday.

King, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of his show last week, inked a multiyear contract extension with CNN worth about $7 million a year in March.

May ratings averaged 970,000 viewers, down from 1.2 million since the beginning of the year, but he’s still CNN’s strongest primetime tentpole.

Costas will be King’s primary backup for the coming year; Nancy Grace, his previous sub, might do a show now and then.

For NBC, Costas hosts the Olympics, the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes and golf events. When NBC gets Sunday night football next year, Costas is expected to either host the pregame show or provide play-by-play.

His cable deal with Time Warner allows him to do the CNN gig as well as host “Costas Now” on HBO.

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