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Bob Costas leaves HBO for MLB

Like a new baseball team trying to make a splash with a big free-agent signing, the new MLB Network has added Bob Costas to its on-air roster. Costas has signed a cable-exclusive deal with the network, which made its debut on January 1. This means Costas he will no longer appear on HBO (or CNN, where he's filled on Larry King Live on occasion). Costas' work for NBC Sports is not affected by the deal.

Costas is going to do play-by-play for at least some of the MLB Network's 26 regular-season game broadcasts, and will debut an interview show, "MLB Network Studio 42 with Bob Costas," on Thursday night. The show will feature an interview with Joe Torre, in the middle of a publicity blitz for his controversial-in-New York book "The Yankee Years." (Studio 42 is named in honor of Jackie Robinson; Studio 3 in the network's Secaucus, NJ center is named for Babe Ruth.)

This is a natural fit for Costas, a huge baseball fan who did play-by-play for NBC during two different periods when the network had rights to MLB games. There has been speculation at times that he considered leaving NBC because he missed covering baseball. Now he's got the best of both worlds: an outlet for his baseball work, and his studio hosting for the NFL and Olympics on NBC.