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Petitti Steps Up at CBS Sports

New CBS Sports Executive VP Tony Petitti says his short-term strategy is focused on building out its current assets, as opposed to acquiring new ones.

“Our top thing now is to take our properties and make sure we do the best job we can growing viewership,” he says.

On the heels of CBS Sports President Sean McManus assuming control of the network’s news division last week, CBS Sports Monday promoted Petitti to the position of executive VP. While McManus retains the title of president of the division, Petitti takes over day-to-day operations, while also keeping his executive producer title.

In a phone interview Monday, Petitti said the network is working on an extension with the PGA Tour and would like to increase its position in college football. On the other hand, he says NASCAR wouldn’t fit into the CBS schedule and Major League Baseball is not of interest to his network. “It’s more of a prime time vehicle now than it is anything else,” he says of baseball.

Petitti also said that CBS game technology should be sophisticated and streamlined. When a viewer watches a game on CBS, he says, information should be presented in a “very subtle way,” as opposed to too many in-your-face graphics and sounds.

“It is not done in a way that forces your eye to go to it,” he says. “We want the pictures to be the primary thing you are focusing on. We don’t want to distract you from the game.”

Petitti, executive producer of CBS Sports since 2002, is responsible for all creative aspects of production, as well editorial content for all sports programming. A three-time Emmy winner, Petitti is in his second stint with CBS Sports after serving as VP and general manager of WCBS in New York from 1999-2002. Prior to that he was senior VP of business affairs and programming for CBS Sports.

He also has worked for both NBC Sports and ABC Sports. A Harvard Law School graduate, he came up the ranks in the television sports world through the legal side, beginning at ABC Sports in 1988 as a general attorney. He later became VP of programming, before moving to NBC Sports as senior VP of negotiations.