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On this last episode of the year, J.D. Allen, Keith Allen, and Matt talk about the Christmas Day airings of the Spartan World Championships on NBC, and the World’s Toughest Programs that were on CBS and CBS Sports.

Find out if their take, jibes with your thoughts. We’ve never used the word jibe in a podcast description. We just did, so there. Happy end of 2016!
Todays Podcast is sponsored by: 

Ascent Protein – Food For Athletes. (“And no protein farts!” – MBD)

Listen using the player below or the iTunes/Stitcher links at the top of this page. 

History Channel’s -The Selection: Evolution 4 Recap

Evolution 4: Weeding out the Weak

When I saw the preview for episode 4 I knew this was going to be a tough one for the candidates. 14 candidates remain as we start episode 4, mid-season for the 8 part series. By now they have proven that they are physically able to move on, but are they mentally capable of moving farther into the show?

At the start of the episode they are taught some basic concealment skills for tonight’s evolution. Basically they are given 4 hours to create a place of concealment in the hopes that the instructors do not find them. They are divided into 4 teams;

  • Team 1 – Candidates 12,19,28
  • Team 2 – Candidates 3,14,15,17
  • Team 3 – Candidates 6,11,20,27
  • Team 4 – Candidates 2,7,22

The Selection - search

At 0200 of day 5 the search begins for the teams. The instructors have 3 hours to find them. After about 90 minutes, Team 3 is the first team found, followed by team 1 and team 2. Team 4 manages to stay concealed until 3 minutes remain. And that was only because the instructor walked on the head of one of the candidates. Very good job of concealment on their part.

The candidates are then handcuffed with zip-ties and have a blackout goggle placed on their heads preventing them for seeing anything, It is at this point during the instructor recap that they state that they think # 20 will be the first to break as the move into what can best be described as the “torture” segment.

The Selection - Praying

The candidates are brought as a group into a “resistance lab” where they are subjected to a number of different types of “torture.” This is where the “psych ops” begin on the candidates. They are subjected to being placed in a small box for long periods of time, having ice cold water poured over them, subject to “repetitive noises” (such as a crying baby), being moved into uncomfortable positions and being told to hold that position, and as #11 experienced, having electric sparks fly near your head. All of this going on while being “blind” , your hands are tied by zip-ties and the candidates are starting to feel the effects of sleep and food deprivation. This is also where the candidates start to drop, beginning with #20 (as predicted by the instructors) followed by #27 and #22. While they are physically able to do what is expected, they just don’t have the mental strength to go on.

The Selection - In The Box

Nine hours into the lab # 28 quits leaving 9 candidates. Into the 10th hour we lose another candidate leaving us with 8 remaining candidates remaining; candidates # 2, 3, 6, 11, 12, 15, 17 & 19. By this time they been in the “resistance lab” for 11 hours, and have gone 36 hours with no sleep. If you have ever gone without sleep, you know that one becomes irritable and unable to think clearly. And not having a sense of time (or sight) adds to the difficulty of the evolution.

They are finally freed from the handcuff and have the goggles removed by the instructors. They have completed this evolution. The instructors give them praise for completing this grueling segment and are told to eat and rest because as one instructor stated, “Now that we have cut the weak, we need to start cutting the strong.”

So we have 8 remaining candidates at the halfway point. Interesting to note that according to the shows beginning screenshots 80% of candidates fail special ops training. Based on that figure, we could expect to see 6 candidates to complete the show. With only 2 candidates needing to drop to make that percentage, and only half way through the 8 episodes, one can’t help but wonder if more than 80% will fail. Only time will tell.

Of the remaining 8 candidates, 4 of them come from OCR backgrounds; #6, #11, #12 and #19 . Way to rep the sport guys. And for you GORUCK fans, we have 6 GRT’s still in the running; #2, #3, #6, #11, #15 & #17

Read recaps of other episodes here:

Watch the episodes here.

All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks

History Channel’s -The Selection: Evolution’s 2 and 3 Recap

Ok boys and girls. A lot has happened since the first episode. We will get to the recaps of episodes 2 and 3 in a moment.

Being an Obstacle Race media site, we of course want to highlight OCR athletes when talking about an event. In my first review I pointed out folks that were OCR racers based on those my editor and myself knew were involved with the sport. The History Channel bios for the candidates don’t always mention OCR/GORUCK affiliations. so we may have missed a couple of folks. Just want to give a shout-out to a couple more candidates from those worlds:

  • # 6 – Dylan Davis
  • # 14 – Johnny Larios

Good luck guys. Now let’s look back to our regularly scheduled review.

Evolution 2 : Hell & High Water

Good Morning Candidates!!! Anyone that has gone through military basic training can relate to the awakening that was given the remaining 25 candidates. The look on the faces of the candidates is priceless. WTF in a major way. It was also during this sequence that we heard one of the instructors refer to candidate #30 as “Time Short.” While this was happening 2 of the candidates dropped leaving 23 as the day begins.

The Selection - WAKE UP

During the first candidate review by the instructors of the episode we learn that candidates #11’s age is 45 years old and that he is the oldest candidate. They also picked a new team leader for the day, during this segment tagging #23 for the job.

During the breakfast consisting of MRE’s, candidate #18 drops because of health issues. We also lost candidate #29 when they were being loaded up for the next evolution I refer to as “BUDS” leaving 21 candidates remaining.

At the beach, this is when the “Hell and High water” happens. Candidate # 23 is made the team leader. It was during this segment of the episode that we saw the loss of an early fan (and instructor) favorite #30. The swim to the buoy just was not in the plans for him. He gave 110% of himself but sometimes that is just not enough.

The Selection - #30 Drops

It was also during this segment that I had a letdown in regards to the reality of the show. During the buoy swim, some candidates were allowed to use flotations devices. I understand the safety aspect but it only adds fuel to the fire in regards to those that say it is not realistic.  I know that all the candidates had to pass a basic military PT test to even be considered, so why was a swim test not given if it was going to be part of the show?

The audience also saw candidate #11 take more of a leadership role. After the swim he could be seen trying to get other to overcome the cold. When all was said and done, 19 candidates remain.

The candidates end the episode with Zodiac Boat Drills. They may look light but they are a bitch to carry any distance. It was in this segment that #11 is made the class leader. During this segment we saw 4 more candidates drop, the sisters; #8 and #9, #23 and we see the first med drop of the show, #4.

By the time this episodes ends 10 candidates have dropped. A pleasant day at the beach was not in the works for many.


Evolution 3: Man in the Arena

There are 15 candidates remaining at this point and this is where it becomes more of a mental game for the candidates.

Candidate #11 is still the team lead when the group has their first barracks Inspection and it is not pretty. It was also during this segment that #11 gets reamed for calling the instructors “Inspectors.” He did this first in episode # 2. Because the instructors are starting to play more mental games, #11 seemed to be challenged a bit more than the other class leaders. But at this point it is to expected. As a team leader #11 did not follow-up through with his team to make sure things are done. Also during this time #11 was asked who he felt were the weakest candidates and he picked 2 females, #27 and #3. Will this come back to bite him? Or create dissention among the team?

The Selection - Inspection 2

Since this episode entailed a lot of walking, #20, whose toenail came off during episode 2, was questioned about his ability to continue. He sticks with it and moves forward. Also at this point #11 is replaced by #19 as the team leader.

The rucking aspect is comprised of 40lbs in their bags as well as their normal gear. The instructors also expect them to maintain a 12-14 min mile pace. While this sounds doable, jogging/walking with a backpack with that much weight is hard on both the back and the legs for those not used to it. It is during this evolution the team is to perform a Downed Pilot Drill. Basically create a litter with the materials given to them and transport a 200lb duffel bag (representing the downed pilot) back to the team pit. Multiple ideas were being thrown out by the candidates on the best way to do this causing confusion and potentially causing a time hack penalty in which one of the candidates would be tagged as a causality and would also have to be carried back to the pit. They finally got things moving with no time left. For those that have done a GORUCK event, you can probably relate to what was going on. This is something many GORUCK participants have experienced during tough’s and heavy’s. Along the return route there were issues and one of the candidates was tagged as a causality. It was also during this time #2 replaced #19 as class leader. We learn that candidate # 2 is a firefighter and he was better able to organize the team during this evolution and was able to complete it with only 2 casualties.

The Selection -Downed Pilot

There were a number of interrogations during this episode. It was during his interrogation that #19 admitted his faults during the evolution. He was also asked who he felt were the strongest candidates remaining and he choose  #11 and #12 and had high praise for #11’s mental fortitude.

The PT also gets a bit more challenging as the team is subjected to “sit-up” hell. Over 1000 done!! Kudo’s to completing that PT.

The Selection - 1000 situps

In the closing moments of the show the interrogation of #11 took place. Candidate #11 has become a fan and instructor favorite so it was interesting to hear of his reasons for being there. This was an emotional segment for #11 .We also learned that they were required to memorize a creed for the show and #11 repeated it (This is where the title of episode comes from.)

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic”  delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 (Source: http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html)

The Selection - Number 11

Only 1 drop during this episode, smallest amount to date. While some may say this evolution was too easy so drop rate was low, I tend to believe that the 15 candidates that started the episode were more prepared mentally and physically for what awaited them.

The show enters episode 4 with 14 candidates left. While there are still a couple that I am surprised are still remaining, I am impressed by those that are. As I mentioned in regards to the “floaties” used in episode 2 this took something away in regards to the realism, but for the most part they are being pushed. I reached out to a couple of people that I knew that had gone through Special Ops training and they generally had positive things to say about the show. Again they, like me, realize it is a TV show and that the reality of it may not be as authentic as some viewers would like.

By now many viewers have picked a favorite candidate. Would love to know who yours is. Reply in the comments and let me know.

Read recaps of other episodes here:

Watch the episodes here.

All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks


History Channel’s – The Selection: Evolution 1 Recap

The Selection - Opening

Evolution 1: Dip In the Fire

The premise of History Channel’s “The Selection” is simple; place men and women, known as candidates, with no military background, and have them endure the same or similar training that US Special Forces go through and see how they do. There are no awards, prizes, medals (or for the GRT’s reading this, patches) given to the winner(s) of the challenge. It is an exercise that pushes the limits of the mind and body.

As someone that grew up in the military, as well a vet and GORUCK GRT, I am aware of the different aspects of military training having witnessed and experienced some of it myself. I have the utmost regards for those that have endured the training required to become a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger or Green Beret. I know my limits and this show far exceeds those.

The Selection Squats

So at this point you might be wondering, “What does this have to do with OCR’s?” In regards to the shows premise, not a damn thing.

There is nothing in the OCR world that can prepare you for this…

Not Spartan Hurricane Heats, not World’s Toughest Mudder, Nothing.

Oh those events may give you a taste but cannot mentally or physically prepare you for what awaits. But in regards to the candidates themselves, (all participants on the show are referred to as candidates and are given a number, not a name) The Selection does have some ties to OCR:

  • #7  is Justin Dieter, came in 2nd to Junyong Pak in the first two World’s Toughest Mudders back in 2011 and 2012
  • #11 is a co-founder of Obstacle Racing Media, and former GORUCK employee, Christian Griffith
  • #12 is Ryan Kent, a current member of the Spartan Race Pro Team
  • #13 is McCauley Kraker, a former Spartan Pro Team member and ORM contributor.
  • #19 is Logan Nagle, who recently completed 75 miles in last month’s World’s Toughest Mudder

The Selection - Night Log

Before the shows airing, I became aware of the negative comments being posted on the History Channel Facebook Page for The Selection and honestly was quite bothered by all the disparaging comments being made about the people that were on the show. Especially in light of the fact that the show had not aired yet publicly. Most bothersome was the comments made by active and former military regarding the show and the participants. I would think that they would welcome the opportunity for civilians to experience a bit of military life and perhaps gain a better understanding of what it takes in regards to being Special Ops. But I digress…

For those of you that have done a GORUCK Tough or Heavy, the opening episode may remind you of the Welcome Party that usually starts these events.  But unlike a GORUCK event, you are not punished and pushed in the way seen on the show. But much like the welcome party, it is during this time you start to see the candidates drop out. Within the first 10 minutes of the show, we see the first drop-out. While there is the essence of team building and support, this all comes down to the individual.

Now many of us have our reasons for doing OCR’s and GORUCKs and one the best aspects of the show is the “interrogation” scenes in which the candidates are asked, “Why are you here?” The reasons why some of these people are here are inspiring. It adds a layer of vulnerability to these people that the audience can relate to. I think we can all, as OCR racers, relate to what drives these people to want to do this.

The Selection - Interrogation

During one scene of the show, the instructors made it clear to all the candidates that nutrition and fluid intake are vital. Again, we as OCR’s racers are familiar with the pitfalls of not keeping on top of both before, during, and after an event. Kudos to the instructors for making this a high priority.

Also of interest are the scenes in which the instructors talk about the individual candidates. This allows for you the audience member to develop a “bond” as it were with a candidate that you may be rooting for. In regards to Christian and Ryan, both of them receive positive comments from the instructors. It was during this sequence that the best line of the episode was given when discussing Christian, “#11 looks like a hipster Jesus.” If you know Christian, you will understand.


Christian Griffith – The Hipster Jesus?

By the end of the 1st episode, 5 candidates have turned in their patches, #1, #5, #16, #21 and #24, leaving 25 candidates (17% drop on day 1). I was really impressed by candidate # 30. He was giving 100% on the log when the rest of his team was not and did not let his small stature reduce his perseverance. Looking forward to seeing how far he goes. Candidates #7, #11, #12, #13 and #19 are still there and gave a good showing in the first episode. Ryan, #12 was picked as a team leader early in the episode and did a great job leading and motivating the rest of the candidates. And the instructors had high praise for Christian, #11.

Overall, I felt the episode was a good introduction to both the premise and the candidates. The instructors were fair but firm in the treatment of the candidates and appeared to be honest in regards to “weeding out” those that can’t cut it. They went looking for weak links and pounced when one appeared. The first episode set the stage for the remaining 7 episodes in regards to expectations of the instructors. Some of the candidate’s right from the start made you wonder, WTF? (Pink haired candidate #1 pops to the forefront.) Is this truly a military show? No! It has to market itself to the masses and honestly most people don’t want to see what really happens, but it does give a good representation of the training as well as the mental and physical endurance that Special Forces operatives go through.

Read recaps of other episodes here:

Watch the episodes here.

All photos courtesy of A&E Television Networks  ©2016 A&E Televisions Networks

CMC Returns With An All Star Team/Keith Allen Talks Obstacle TV

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We begin today’s show with on-site interviews from the (well received) return of Civilian Military Combine from last weekend.

You will hear from:

Amelia Boone – TV Commentator
Coach Pain – Pit MC
Robb McCoy – Finish Line MC
Rich Rosa -Managing Partner
Garfield Griffiths – Race Director/Mad Genius

Next up is a phone chat Matt B. and Keith Allen. They discuss the recent obstacle based tv shows we have seen so far in 2016. These include American Ninja Warrior, BattleFrog College/League Championship, The Spartan Race U.S. Championship Series and Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge.

It’s a lively 1 hour 19 minute episode to make up for the brevity of last week’s show.

Today’s show is sponsored by:

Spartan Fit  – Joe Desena’s latest book. 30 days to transforming your body and mind.
Rugged Maniac – $5 off when you use the code PODCAST on all races.
Obstacle Guard – Code ORM gets you 10% off all orders in the U.S.
 Click the play button below or click the iTunes or Stitcher links at the top of the page.

Tough Mudder Creates TV Show and WTM Qualifying Series.

Toughest Mudder 2017 two

“Toughest Mudder” will be the latest addition to the Tough Mudder (TM) events series. Along with TM, TM Half, and Mudderella, “Toughest Mudder” will launch with 6 events in 2017. These events are being recorded for broadcast on CBS Sports Network stations. Early word from TMHQ is that the events will run from midnight to 8am, although that, and many other details, are not yet set in stone. Here is some of what is known at this time:

  • 6 events to take place in 3 countries across US, Canada, and the UK in 2017.
  • Events to be televised on CBS Sports Network (with some additional online content on CBSSports.com).
  • $30,000 in cash and prizes awarded at each event in the series.
  • A new “Contender category” is being created for WTM 2017.  In order to be eligible for this “Contender Category” and prizes, participants must participate in a regional Toughest Mudder. Additionally, top competitors at the regional toughest level will run at the front of the WTM start wave and have top choice on pit location. (25 Mile minimum at a Toughest Mudder event)
  • There is an option for Tough Mudder to add additional Toughest Mudders for 2017.
  • 3 shows will air in December about this year’s World’s Toughest Mudder. 2 on CBS Sports Network, and one on CBS, Christmas Day.

Currently, Tough Mudder is the 4th OCR series to venture into network television. Since 2014, Spartan Race has aired 6 races a year.  Additionally, in June, they launched The Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge . Last Summer, BattleFrog launched a “short course” competition , representing athletes from various colleges from around the country. BF will begin airing The BattleFrog League Championship this week, featuring Ryan Atkins, Lindsay Webster, Jon Albon, and other “pro” athletes. CMC Race, which is returning after a 2-year hiatus under new management, will air a one-hour special on SNY.

You can catch up on WTM content going back to 2012 in our World’s Toughest Archive.

The complete press release from CBS/TMHQ can be found at the end of this article.

Official Press Release


 Tough Mudder, Inc. launches newest event, Toughest Mudder, to debut on
CBS Sports Network in 2017

 NEW YORK, NY (draft-not for release) – CBS Sports and Tough Mudder Inc., the leading active lifestyle and endurance events company, have agreed to a multi-year partnership that brings Tough Mudder to broadcast, cable and digital on CBS Sports, CBS Sports Network and CBSSports.com beginning this fall. The series will provide an inside look at World’s Toughest Mudder, the grueling 24-hour extreme endurance race in which participants and teams compete in one of the toughest events on the planet and the road to being named the World’s Toughest Mudder Champion.

In addition, Tough Mudder, Inc. will debut its newest event series, Toughest Mudder, in 2017. The next evolution of the Tough Mudder challenges includes six Toughest Mudder events in 2017 across North America and the United Kingdom with the option to add more in the second half of the year, which will be covered by CBS Sports Network.

The agreement with CBS Sports includes:

  • In both 2016 and 2017, CBS Sports will air a special, in-depth look at World’s Toughest Mudder. The 2016 edition debuts on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25 (3:00 PM, ET).
  • In 2016, CBS Sports Network premieres two programs that will both air in the month of December. Road to the World’s Toughest Mudder provides a comprehensive look at Tough Mudder leading up to the 2016 World’s Toughest Mudder event in Las Vegas. CBS Sports Network also will air a post-event roundtable show airing immediately following World’s Toughest Mudder on CBS on Dec. 25, featuring the top competitors from the 2016 event.
  • In 2017, CBS Sports Network will air coverage from the entire six-event Toughest Mudder Series, going behind-the-scenes as teams train and compete in the new event.
  • CBS Sports Digital will feature live streaming coverage of Toughest Mudder events on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports apps for mobile and connected TV devices, along with on-demand video content available across CBS Sports digital and social platforms.

“We are thrilled to partner with CBS Sports on this endeavor and to introduce our newest event series to the world,” said Will Dean, Founder and Chief Executive Offer of Tough Mudder, Inc. “This partnership enables us to further grow our community through another event series and to further expand Mudder Nation beyond its nearly 2.5 million global participants. The aspects of teamwork and camaraderie and the extreme mental and physical challenges that participants experience at our events are what make Tough Mudder truly unique. We are excited for the opportunity to bring the Tough Mudder story to life to millions more people through our partnership with CBS Sports and to introduce Toughest Mudder to people around the world.”

“The perseverance, strength, camaraderie and drama surrounding the Tough Mudder participants and events are made for television,” said Dan Weinberg, Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports. “We’re excited to showcase the action to our viewers, while extending our portfolio of programming into a new area of sports competition.”

The Toughest Mudder event series expands Tough Mudder, Inc.’s global footprint as an industry leader. It demonstrates the company’s commitment towards innovation with its newest offering for the fast-growing active lifestyle and endurance sports communities, encouraging team-building and facilitating World’s Toughest Mudder training.

After being inducted into Mudder Nation through way of Tough Mudder Half and Tough Mudder, Toughest Mudder is an eight-hour, overnight competitive race format designed for participants to truly find their limit and the next step on their road to becoming the World’s Toughest Mudder. Participants and teams will be ranked and over $30,000 in prizes will be awarded to the top finishers. The qualifying ranking, a minimum of 25 miles completed at Toughest Mudder events, will allow teams or individuals to qualify for the “Contender Category” at World’s Toughest Mudder and be eligible for prizing.

World’s Toughest Mudder
Known as one of the most extreme endurance events in the world, World’s Toughest Mudder, presented by Cellucor, is the only competitive event that Tough Mudder, Inc. hosts in 2016. Competitors are eligible to win a total of more than $170,000 in prizing, including a grand prize of $100,000 for teams that complete at least 100 miles together. Like all Tough Mudder events, World’s Toughest Mudder encourages Mudders to work together, help one another overcome obstacles and push past their physical and mental boundaries. While competitive in nature, World’s Toughest Mudder is about finding one’s personal limits and putting teamwork to the test, and hundreds of participants take part in the event as a team. The community aspect of the event drives thousands of participants from all over the world to participate each year, and even the top competitors help their fellow Mudders on the course.

The event will take place at Lake Las Vegas on November 12 & 13. Competitors take on 20-25 of Tough Mudder’s most challenging obstacles including The Cliff, Human Operation, and Gut Buster, in this 24-hour, timed event to be deemed the toughest man, woman and team on the planet. The course is a grueling, five-mile loop featuring diverse desert terrain, steep hills, mud pits and more. Prizes are awarded to participants who complete the most miles within 24 hours, and the team of two or more that completes 100 miles together wins $100,000.

To date, World’s Toughest Mudder participants have completed over 145,000 miles in aggregate including last year’s winners, Chad Trammell, Amelia Boone (three-time winner) and Team Synergysports.com who completed 95, 75 and 80 miles respectively.

 About Tough Mudder, Inc.:
Founded in 2010 with the launch of the Tough Mudder event series of 10-12 mile military-style obstacle courses, Tough Mudder Inc. has since grown to include Tough Mudder Half, an obstacle challenge bringing the thrills of Tough Mudder to a 5-mile course; Mudderella, an obstacle course series created by women for women; Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder, a custom event for children ages 7-12; and World’s Toughest Mudder, a grueling 24-hour endurance competition. The Tough Mudder family of brands is united by a commitment to promoting courage, personal accomplishment and teamwork through unconventional, life-changing experiences. With more than 2 million participants to date, Tough Mudder Inc. will put on more than 120 events worldwide in 2016. 

About CBS Sports:
CBS Sports, a year-round leader in television sports, broadcasts a portfolio of events on the CBS Television Network, including THE NFL ON CBS; “Thursday Night Football;” college basketball, including the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship; golf, including The Masters®, PGA Championship and PGA TOUR; college football, including the SEC ON CBS; and CBS SPORTS SPECTACULAR. In addition, the division includes CBS SPORTS NETWORK, the 24-hour home of CBS Sports; produces INSIDE THE NFL for SHOWTIME; and partners with CBS SPORTS RADIO and CBSSports.com in creating recognized leaders in sports radio and digital.

CBS Sports Network is available across the country through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.

Media Contacts:
For Tough Mudder: Jodi Kovacs, Communications Associate / jodi.kovacs@toughmudder.com

For CBS: Mariel Brady, Manager, Communications / Mariel.brady@cbs.com