Brown down for ‘Early’ tryout

Sportscaster tries to fill Mitchell vacancy

CBS sports announcer James Brown will take a turn as co-anchor of the “Saturday Early Show” as the network seeks a permanent replacement for Russ Mitchell.

Brown will join Tracy Smith for two weeks in February and another two weeks in April after the conclusion of March Madness. Brown is anchor of CBS’ NFL pregame show and play-by-play announcer for the Eye’s coverage of college basketball.

Mitchell, who is also anchor of the Sunday edition of “Evening News,” was appointed news anchor of the weekday edition of “The Early Show” in January.

Since then, the net has held a bake-off for the Saturday position, rotating in White House correspondent Jim Axelrod, correspondent Sharon Alfonsi and now Brown.

“I love the guy; he’s a terrific talent,” said CBS News veep Steve Friedman. “Sports people are used to dealing with live television, which is what morning television is. A lot of the disciplines are the same.”

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