For the viewer, Monday and Tuesday evenings played out much the same. With little advance notice, a major news network promises an exclusive with a major figure in the Penn State scandal who has remained largely silent. With a quick press release and some social media goosing, the network hypes the appearance as best it can. It was only the actual broadcast and fallout that differed. NBC was praised effusively; CBS utterly destroyed.
It's inevitable but unfair to compare the two, because they came about through two completely different circumstances. The Sandusky phone interview came about by the work of a "booker," a producer at Rock Center whose primary or only job is to reach out to newsworthy people and get them on the show. It's not an easy job and it takes a certain mentality—part pitchman, part therapist, part agent—to convince a reticent subject that not only should they go on TV to tell their story, but they should do it for your network. NBC's booker landed attorney Joseph Amendola, likely through the promise of getting Bob Costas. Since Costas is the biggest and most dependable name in the field, Amendola knew he'd be getting the national attention he wanted, but also wouldn't be ambushed with an interrogation. It was a good get for NBC, and remember, the Sandusky phone-in was an unexpected bonus.