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12/31/08 3:07 PM EST

Costas to play part in Network debut

Host will interview Yogi, Larsen during perfect game re-airing

With mere hours remaining before the ball drops, so to speak, for the new MLB Network, veteran sportscaster Bob Costas has joined the party.

The Network announced on Wednesday that Costas, an eight-time sportscaster of the year, would host a conversation with Don Larsen and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra to be interspersed during a New Year's Day airing of Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, when Larsen threw the only no-hitter and perfect game in postseason history.

That game, airing on television for the first time since its original broadcast, will begin an hour after the MLB Network marks the largest debut in cable television history. The network will go on the air at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday with the one-hour "Hot Stove Live" studio show, followed by Hall of Fame broadcasters Mel Allen and Vin Scully calling Larsen's gem.

Fans can see view a video preview of Costas' interview with Berra and Larsen at the MLB Network Web site.

Costas has been honored as Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association a record eight times. He also won the Sports Emmy for "Outstanding Studio Host" every year from 2002-06, and he has won nearly two dozen Sports Emmys over a 30-year career.

The MLB Network is projected to launch in approximately 50 million cable and satellite homes on Thursday, exceeding any other cable television launch by 20 million homes.

Ultimately, the highlight show "MLB Tonight" will anchor the new network's live programming for the new Network, airing from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. ET or at the conclusion of the last game played on the West Coast. Until the start of the season, "Hot Stove Live" will feature a panel of experts to give viewers a look at pending trades, free-agent signings, rumors and news.

Aside from the New Year's Day debut, "Hot Stove Live" will air regularly throughout the offseason at 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.