Gumbel's 'Real Sports' returns to air before real sports

This image released by HBO Sports shows Bryant Gumbel hosting "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" from his makeshift studio in Florida. The series returns on April 28. (HBO Sports via AP)
This image released by HBO Sports shows Bryant Gumbel hosting "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" from his makeshift studio in Florida. The series returns on April 28. (HBO Sports via AP)

NEW YORK – The HBO television show “Real Sports” is returning from a suspension forced by the coronavirus before the real sports themselves begin again.

Host Bryant Gumbel will preside from his Florida home in Tuesday's episode of the sports news magazine, which is attempting to navigate technical issues and strike the right balance in dealing with a pandemic that has changed every viewer's life.

The March episode was canceled, both because some necessary travel proved impossible and the worry that some segments would appear tone deaf at a time when the sports world was put on hold, Gumbel said.

April marks the 25th year that “Real Sports” has been on the air, and it barely made its anniversary month.

The host will appear Tuesday in a roundtable with sportscasters Mike Breen, Joe Buck and Jim Nantz. The show will have a story about quick pivots, such as a company that switched from manufacturing lacrosse helmets to protective gear for medical workers, and another piece on sports entities that moved too slowly to cancel events.

Gumbel said he understands people who might believe that stories on sports aren't right for the moment.

“But I also think you run the risk of overdoing it if (coronavirus) is all you have to offer,” he told The Associated Press on Monday. “We're like every other operator right now. We're trying to strike a very difficult balance between being responsive to what people want to know, and being responsive to that point at which they say, OK, I've had enough. Give me something else.”

The absence of sports right now isn't really an issue for the show, he said.