Remember these guys? Of course you do. I think Bob Costas and Tom Hanks have achieved a kind of celebrity nirvana. They have ascended to the rarefied realm of those celebrities who are so well-liked and generally respected that they no longer do anything.
Both were, a decade or two ago, at the top of their respective professions. Then they leveraged their reputations as deafeningly mainstream (yet talented in a non-threatening way) to stop doing what it was that brought them to our attention in the first place, without losing our respect for their ability to do it again, should the mood strike them.
I have no idea where Costas goes for 23 months, but he shows up in that 24th month to do the Olympics. Hanks seems to produce random solid TV programs and occasionally helps out other talented filmmakers who, by comparison, seem edgy (Clint Eastwood, The Coen Brothers, Pixar).
At some point, their mainstream American appeal extended so broadly in every direction that it wrapped around and met itself on the other side, creating a spherical particle field of positive associations. I bet they, more than any other celebrity duo, could knock on a door and be invited in for dinner, without the host’s fear that they would be boring, egomaniacal, violently unstable, or sleep with their daughter.
NOTE: One possible chink in this ascendant-celebrity theory of mine is that, after writing 220 words about Bob Costas and Tom Hanks, I am suddenly very, very, very bored of this topic.