Bryant Gumbel, host of HBO's "Real Sports."

Bryant Gumbel, host of HBO's "Real Sports." Credit: HBO/Nathaniel Welch

Howard Cosell more or less invented sports journalism on television, including his mid-1980s show “SportsBeat,’’ so it was fitting that exactly three weeks before he died, one of the enduring pillars of the genre was born.

HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’’ premiered April 2, 1995, joining another show, ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,’’ which arrived in 1990.

It is easy to forget how important, and unusual, such programs were back in the 20th century, now that TV is full of sports magazine shows and documentaries. But they were.

Tuesday “Real Sports’’ marks a milestone with its 200th episode, featuring a typically eclectic group of reports on controversy around preparations for the Sochi Olympics, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw and live college animal mascots.

Will Gumbel then add one of his provocative closing commentaries? Given his sense for theater . . . count on it.

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