Insights from Super Bowl XLIII TV Director Mike Arnolds

From a Television Production standpoint treating the BIG GAME like it’s “just another game”, as much as possible, might sound strange at first but the approach makes sense. In a recent article on, Super Bowl LIII Television Director Mike Arnold shared some insights on how he approaches the game.

Failure is NOT an Option

With over 100M television viewers and advertisers taking chances with $5M ads, the stakes could not be higher for all the creative professionals involved with the production of the Super Bowl.

CBS will be deploying 115 cameras for the coverage this year, which is truly incredible and part of the mystique for viewers. I think we all have a vision in our mind’s eye of a single director staring at a wall of 115 monitors faced with the impossible task of choosing the exact right camera at just the right moment.

Obviously, it’s not quite like that but we know the task requires great experience and skill developed over many years in the industry. Although there’s 115 cameras, many of them of specialty cameras such as the pylon cams and extra angles for special situations. Director Mike Arnold points out that from his standpoint, there’s no need to keep eyes on all 115 cameras.

“I try to my focus on my key 20 cameras and let other people worry about the rest,”

Super Bowl LIII Director Mike Arnold (via

Just as the football teams should avoid getting overly hyped up or alter established routines, nor should the TV Production Staff. Treating the BIG GAME like it’s “just another game”, as much as possible, is logical and the recipe for success.

Focus on Story

Storytelling is always the key a concept that is focused on in the classroom and what drives every script, every outline…what is the story we’re telling. Although Football is a live event and unscripted, there’s always story.

The Broadcast Bridge article highlights storytelling, explaining how shot sequencing and the use of close-ups help to expose the emotion, the anguish, the elation of the game.

Paying Attention to the Announcers

Lastly, I want to point out the importance of having the visual match what the viewer is hearing…from the broadcast team in the booth.

Arnold said this year his shot selection will often shadow CBS Sports on-air announcer Tony Romo’s commentary, because the former quarterback has gained a reputation for seeing the entire field from a player’s perspective and how plays develop.

The Broadcast Bridge

You can check out the full article on The Broadcast


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