Globe-trotting CBS journalist Lara Logan adds 'sports reporter' to her resume

Janet Montgomery and David Tennant in "Spies of Warsaw."
Janet Montgomery and David Tennant in "Spies of Warsaw."
Posted: April 04, 2013

* 60 MINUTES SPORTS. 9 p.m. Wednesday, Showtime.

WE'RE USED to seeing CBS newswoman Lara Logan in the world's hot spots: Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan.

But Bristol, Conn.?

On Wednesday, the globetrotting "60 Minutes" correspondent will add the home of ESPN to the list as she profiles sportscaster Chris Berman in the April edition of Showtime's "60 Minutes Sports" (where he tells her that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens deserve the Hall of Fame).

"60 Minutes Sports"? Lara Logan?

Covering sports isn't "totally new" for her, the CBS chief foreign-affairs correspondent said after a Showtime news conference in January, citing the piece about rock climber Alex Honnold that she'd done for "60 Minutes."

But the reporters at the long-running news magazine are being asked to do more of it.

"These days, Jeff Fager ["60 Minutes" executive producer and CBS News chairman], when you call him up to talk to him about Mali or Benghazi . . . he's like, 'Uh, can we talk about that later? What sports stories are you working on?' Like literally. Literally!" she said, laughing.

"I do like to do it. It's kind of liberating, too, because Showtime, being longer and being '60 [Minutes] Sports,' you can do some stories there that you might not have been able to do at '60 Minutes.' "

Logan, who grew up in South Africa and went to work for a newspaper there at 17, said that she'd done "tons of cricket and rugby stories," including the one that inspired the film "Invictus," about Nelson Mandela and the 1995 rugby World Cup.

As for American sports, "I've been working for an American company for more than 10 years. My ex-husband was a professional basketball player in Europe, so basketball's probably the sport I know the most about, from being at many, many, many games and learning about it from him, as a player.

"And living in America, you know, it's all around you. I would never pretend to be anything that I'm not - I'm not a sports person, I'm not a sports expert. There'll be some stories that Armen [Keteyian] is far more qualified to do than me, so I wouldn't attempt them, you know what I mean?

"But when Ed Bradley did Michael Jordan, he didn't do Michael Jordan because [Bradley] was a basketball expert, he did Michael Jordan because he's one of the greatest sportsmen of all time."

A competitive swimmer in school, Logan said that she used to vomit before races, she was so nervous. She eventually forged a doctor's note that said "I had an irregular heartbeat and . . . I never swam again."

She's gotten tougher.

Because - though Logan told a reporter who'd asked how she leaves her children (a son, 4, and a daughter, 3) behind for dangerous assignments, "Honestly, I don't think I could do it without Valium and red wine" - she mentioned a recent bout with breast cancer almost casually and only in the context of probably not making her quota of "60 Minutes" stories this year. ("Everything's fine" on the cancer front, she said.)

She also didn't flinch when another reporter asked about being sexually assaulted and beaten while covering the Egyptian revolution two years ago.

Had she put it behind her?

"I think everything that happens in your life, especially events on that scale, stay with you forever, right?" she said. "I mean, am I traumatized, do I have bad dreams? No. When I came back from Egypt I was like almost elated. Because . . . I was dying in that square. And so I never thought I would see my children again.

"And the first few days in hospital was tough, because I was home but I wasn't home, and my daughter took her first steps . . . and I missed it."

Logan, whose CBS biography mentions the assault in the first paragraph, said that in speaking out she's "conscious of all the women - and men, the many men who wrote to me - who never get to talk about what happened to them, who live with this terrible secret and dark shame."

Asked by Fager, as she lay in a hospital bed, what she wanted the CBS News statement to say, "I said, 'I want you to tell people that I was sexually assaulted.' . . . If they had said in that statement, 'She was attacked,' I can't even begin to tell you" what that would have meant instead.

Also on Wednesday

It's a busy night for premieres, with a BBC America miniseries, a DirecTV drama, an ABC sitcom and a TV Land "reality" show (ranked in order of watchability):

* Spies of Warsaw (9 p.m. Wednesday and April 10, BBC America). David Tennant ("Doctor Who") and Janet Montgomery ("Made in Jersey") play star-crossed lovers in this two-night romantic thriller about espionage in pre-World War II Poland.

Based on a novel by Alan Furst, "Spies" breaks no new ground - unless you call having the French characters speak with British accents breaking ground - but if you're a Tennant fan (or even just a fan of 1930s knitwear, which is gloriously featured here) you're probably going to love it anyway.

Tennant plays Jean-Francois Mercier, a widowed French officer and aristocrat attached to his country's embassy in Warsaw, whose real job is trying to help determine Hitler's invasion plans.

Montgomery is Anna Skarbek, a League of Nations lawyer who's living with an impoverished Russian writer named Max (Piotr Baumann) when Mercier comes sweeping into her life.

* Rogue (9 p.m. Wednesday, DirecTV Audience Network). DirecTV, not content to be merely the savior of other networks' shows ("Friday Night Lights," "Damages"), is now in the original-series business.

The satellite provider's new drama, "Rogue," stars Thandie Newton as Grace, an undercover police officer out to find the person responsible for her young son's death - a quest that leads her into a dangerous liaison with Jimmy Laszlo (Marton Czokas), the crime boss she's meant to be bringing down.

Dark - both tonally and in actual lack of light - "Rogue," like ABC's "Red Widow," is meant to be fueled by the energy of a kickass mother's love. Newton's good, but as Grace gets deeper and deeper into Jimmy's world, she (and viewers) risks forgetting what brought her there in the first place.

* How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) (9:30 p.m. Wednesday, 6 ABC) should be a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks that their life is a sitcom.

Claudia Lonow, an actress ("Knots Landing") turned TV writer, and her young daughter moved in with Lonow's mother and stepfather after a divorce some 15 years ago. She's been trying to get a show on the air about the situation for about 12 of them (a long time, but not quite as long as the title).

Maybe you just had to be there.

The cast is great: Sarah Chalke ("Scrubs") is Polly, the newly single mom, and Elizabeth Perkins ("Weeds") and Brad Garrett ("Everybody Loves Raymond") play her oversharing mother and stepfather. But the show's so frontloaded with crazy, it felt as if the pilot might actually go on for the rest of my life.

If this is Lonow's story, the genuinely funny parts must have been lost in translation.

* Forever Young (10 p.m. Wednesday, TV Land). Place five people over 70 and five people under 30 inside a "palatial petri dish" and watch things get real? Not on this show, where the participants, for starters, have all been lied to about what the show's about (always a bad sign).

Then there's the game-show component - a quiz administered by Mark L. Walberg - where hilarity's meant to ensue, but mostly doesn't. No matter how long you live, you'll regret every minute lost watching this one.


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