"One Sunday I was sitting 24 floors above the street in my office, watching the Tour de France on our Sports Spectacular," says Sauter. "Now this was a great event to have on, but I was yelling at the TV because, one, we've failed to capture the beauty of the French countryside; two, we've failed to explain to the guy in Middletown, Ohio [Sauter's hometown] why this race captures the hearts and mind of Western Europe; three, we haven't told him what wonderful athletes these bicyclists are; and four, we haven't explained why their bikes are different from the Schwinn sitting in the garage. We failed to build the bridge between France and Middletown, which is something we will do next year."
The feeling around the halls at CBS headquarters in New York is that the Sports division is finally in good hands. "Van is the ideal man for the job," says Musburger. In time, though, sports may prove to be too small a world for Sauter. Already there are strong rumors that he'll leave Sports to become president of CBS News next year.