James Talmadge Brown (born February 25, 1951), commonly called “J.B.“, is an American sportscaster known for being the studio host of The James Brown Show,The NFL Today on CBS Sports and Thursday Night Football on CBS Sports and NFL Network. He is also a Special Correspondent for CBS News. He is also known for serving as the former host of Fox Sports‘ NFL pregame show Fox NFL Sunday for eleven years.
Born on February 25, 1951 in Washington, D.C. to John and Maryann Brown. Brown attended high school at DeMatha Catholic High School. Brown graduated from Harvard University with a degree in American Government. A standout on the basketball court, he received All-Ivy League honors in his last three seasons at Harvard University and captained the team in his senior year. His roommate at Harvard was Harvard University professor/philosopher/activist Cornel West.
After failing to make a roster spot when he tried out for the NBA‘s Atlanta Hawks in the mid 1970s, Brown entered the corporate world, working for such companies as Xerox and Eastman Kodak. Brown went into sports broadcasting in 1984 when he was offered a job doing Washington Bullets television broadcasts as well as an analyst job for The NBA on CBS, paired with Frank Glieber. He later moved on to an anchor position at WDVM-TV (later WUSA) in Washington and to some work at CBS Sports. Brown was rehired by CBS Sports in 1987, where he served as play-by-play announcer for the network’s NFL and college basketball coverage, as well as reporter for the NBA Finals (calling games with Tom Heinsohn during the 1990 NBA Playoffs) and the 1990 National League Championship Series. He also was host of the afternoon show from the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France and the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. While at CBS he also was co-host of CBS Sports Saturday/Sunday, a weekend anthology series.
Fox, and back to CBS (1994–present)
In 1994, Brown accepted the position of host of the NFL on Fox pregame show. He shared the set with former football players Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long and former coach Jimmy Johnson. Cris Collinsworth and Ronnie Lott have also appeared on the program during Brown’s time there.
From 1994–1998, Brown was the lead studio host for FOX NHL Saturday. He appeared in a similar capacity in the EA Sports video game NHL ’97, which used full-motion video. His voice appeared in Madden NFL 2001.
Following the 2005 NFL season, Brown left Fox in order to rejoin CBS Sports. Brown cited a desire to remain closer to his home in Washington, D.C., an opportunity that existed at CBS, which broadcasts The NFL Today out of New York City. Fox NFL Sunday is produced in Los Angeles.
Brown was removed from college basketball coverage for CBS after a one-year stint in 2007. However, he still hosts the college basketball pregame, halftime and postgame in the CBS studios in New York City while Greg Gumbel, the main host, is on assignment.
In 2012, following the murder-suicide by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher of his girlfriend, Brown opined on The NFL Today about the role men needed to take in the fight against domestic violence. He accused the league’s players of letting the NFL’s reputation for domestic violence go unchanged.
On September 11, 2014, in the wake of the Ray Rice domestic violence controversy, Brown again addressed the issue, wondering why in the two years since, nothing had been done to change the problem, and how the problem had actually become worse.