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NBC's coverage of the Sochi Olympics


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I think we're witnessing a changing of the guard before our eyes. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if come 2018 that any or all of Gannon, Weir, and Lipinski are on the varsity squad. Seemed like NBC brass was hesitant to put them in primetime because of a lack of experience. Having now done an Olympics, they'll be ready for primetime, both figuratively and literally, come 2018.

Terry Gannon used to cover figure skating when ABC was still the broadcaster of Worlds, Grand Prix and even Euros. I think one of his first assignments was 1985 Tokyo Worlds. The ABC team was Dick Button, Peggy Flemming, Peter Carruthers, Terry Gannon.

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Another political lecture from Bob Costas tonight.

Let me start: #NBCFail already trending on Twitter.

What site is this, if you don't mind my asking? Would love to see some of these comments. To me, that is such an ignorant comment. How is NBC minimizing their coverage? Is this someone who is blis

Terry Gannon used to cover figure skating when ABC was still the broadcaster of Worlds, Grand Prix and even Euros. I think one of his first assignments was 1985 Tokyo Worlds. The ABC team was Dick Button, Peggy Flemming, Peter Carruthers, Terry Gannon.

Terry Gannon started covering figure skating for ABC in the fall of 1995. He's basically been the voice of figure skating in the U.S. for the last two decades, so it's great that he's finally had an opportunity to call the Olympics this year. I'm sure he'll be replacing Tom Hammond when Tom retires in the next few years.

1985 Tokyo Worlds was Scott Hamilton's first assignment as a commentator. Those Worlds were broadcast by CBS, and Scott did the commentary with John Tesh.

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NBC's primetime figure skating team has been benched tonight for Terry, Johnny, and Tara. Based on the articles I've read over the past few days and the comments from NBC execs, I think this is probably Scott Hamilton's last Olympics.

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/02/22/johnny-weir-tara-lipinski-terry-gannon-to-host-olympic-figure-skating-gala-tonight-at-8pm-on-nbc/239203/

Really low viewership last night--under 15 million viewers despite Shiffrin's gold. Thursday's viewership was down quite a bit as well despite the ladies' figure skating. Last night has to be one of the least-watched Olympic primetime broadcasts ever:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/02/22/tv-ratings-friday-olympics-down-shark-tank-falls-2020-rises/239083/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Tvbythenumbers+%28TVbytheNumbers%29

Another political lecture from Bob Costas tonight.

I had no problem with Bob's editorial last night. IMO, NBC has been very tame during these Games on the political front--much more quiet than I thought they'd be. I thought for sure there would be at least one feature on Putin and the anti-gay law, but aside from a few interviews (mostly in segments with Vladimir Pozner), NBC hasn't mentioned it at all. Obviously, the focus of their coverage is the athletic events, but I was expecting a bit more from them this time. It'll be interesting to see what Bob says tomorrow in his final wrap of the Games.

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NBC's primetime figure skating team has been benched tonight for Terry, Johnny, and Tara. Based on the articles I've read over the past few days and the comments from NBC execs, I think this is probably Scott Hamilton's last Olympics.

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/02/22/johnny-weir-tara-lipinski-terry-gannon-to-host-olympic-figure-skating-gala-tonight-at-8pm-on-nbc/239203/

Really low viewership last night--under 15 million viewers despite Shiffrin's gold. Thursday's viewership was down quite a bit as well despite the ladies' figure skating. Last night has to be one of the least-watched Olympic primetime broadcasts ever:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/02/22/tv-ratings-friday-olympics-down-shark-tank-falls-2020-rises/239083/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Tvbythenumbers+%28TVbytheNumbers%29

I had no problem with Bob's editorial last night. IMO, NBC has been very tame during these Games on the political front--much more quiet than I thought they'd be. I thought for sure there would be at least one feature on Putin and the anti-gay law, but aside from a few interviews (mostly in segments with Vladimir Pozner), NBC hasn't mentioned it at all. Obviously, the focus of their coverage is the athletic events, but I was expecting a bit more from them this time. It'll be interesting to see what Bob says tomorrow in his final wrap of the Games.

The Olympic broadcasts aren't the place to do that though. Leave it to the news and the build up - but during the Olympics it's only right that the focus is on the sport unless specific issues related to the games crop up. That's not turning a blind eye - that's showing respect both for the athletes and the viewers.

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Sure its low ratings because they have yet to show the olympics. many co workers just stop watching because of the coverage. So to all who think the olympics are the sporting event, think again. NBC is awful!

Yea, I'm betting that's not actually the case. The Olympics are 2 1/2 weeks long. How many people have the attention span to watch 3 hours a night (not to mention everything on during the day) for that long? Ratings always drop off during the 2nd week when people start to get burned out by the Olympics. And just imagine if the Summer and Winter were in the same year. :P Either way, I doubt it has anything to do with the coverage.

The Olympic broadcasts aren't the place to do that though. Leave it to the news and the build up - but during the Olympics it's only right that the focus is on the sport unless specific issues related to the games crop up. That's not turning a blind eye - that's showing respect both for the athletes and the viewers.

They stayed away from those storylines (rightfully so) for 2 weeks. For Costas to go off on a 2-minute rant like that on a light night like they had yesterday is hardly taking away from the athletes and viewers. Might have been a little awkward to use the Ukraine gold as the vehicle to get into it, but like Barcelona said, better for him to do it last night rather than during or after the Closing Ceremony. That we're talking about the political issues surrounding these games as little as we have is a sign that these Olympics have gone very well.

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Yea, I'm betting that's not actually the case. The Olympics are 2 1/2 weeks long. How many people have the attention span to watch 3 hours a night (not to mention everything on during the day) for that long? Ratings always drop off during the 2nd week when people start to get burned out by the Olympics. And just imagine if the Summer and Winter were in the same year. :P Either way, I doubt it has anything to do with the coverage.

Declining ratings over the course of the Winter Games is actually a relatively new phenomenon. Until 2006, the ratings typically grew into the second week and climaxed with ladies' figure skating, which used to conclude on the final Saturday until 1992 and then the final Friday from 1992-98. Even in 2006, the most-watched nights of the Games were the two nights of ladies' figure skating. Even before The Whack, the ladies' event used to get huge viewership--more than 40 million people in 1988 and close to that in 1992. From an American perspective, everything else in the Games led up to the big event, so viewership typically grew as the ladies' event drew closer.

With the sharp decline in figure skating's popularity over the past decade, the sport just doesn't carry and sustain attention for the Games in the way that it used to. There hasn't been a surge in viewership for the ladies' event in 2010 and this year, and I don't think it's just because no American lady has been in contention for the gold. Unless there's a resurgence in skating's popularity, I think it's going to be difficult to see the kind of gains in viewership for the Winter Games that we've seen for the Summer Games in the last decade. The new extreme events have been good for increasing the U.S. medal count, but they're still niche sports that don't have widespread appeal, and they have too many competing events outside of the Olympics (X Games, Dew Tour, etc.) for people to know which events are really important to follow. I doubt these sports will ever have the kind of appeal that figure skating had from the mid-70s through 2002.

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Well for one - the media's total trashing of the games up to the opening ceremony I don't think has helped things much. But your point to the figure skating thing holds merit.

I think in the US - the coverage has gotten AMAZINGLY US-centric to a fault. While i don't have the metrics or the youtube clips to prove it, I always remembered EXTENSIVE promo pieces on foreign athletes. I remember the Victor Patrenko beefcake segments of him around the Russian ladies and coming out of the water on the beach. I remember the little cybernetic effects they put together when they were promoting Midori Ito in '92. My point isn't so much that focus shouldn't be on US athletes as much as diverting lots of coverage to their main foreign rivals just made it feel like a *really* big deal when they beat them. I remember my friend's mother watching the '92 figure skating long program and audibly talking about how she couldn't believe Yamaguchi beat Ito (it wasn't that unebelieveable, but the buildup made it feel that way).

I remember the pullouts on Oksana Baiul in Sporting News and Sports Illustrated with the brakes slamming piece on her beating Nancy and Tonya LEADING UP to those Olympics. I remember the whole preview of how awesome the young Swedes were in '94 from their hockey team. Johan Olav Koss was Sportsman of the year that year...

Now it just seems like it's 'pick a pretty face' and push the heck out of it without any kind of context. Everything just seems like it should be a courination rather than a competition and to be honest, so when someone wins, it's just kind of 'meh, that's what we expected.' What's become more problematic though - is that even when these kids lose - it's still all about them with no context. Bodie Miller wins that bronze medal last week... the reporter blows through the US KID who beat him (who had for sale signs on his helmet leading into the games to get a sponsor - pretty incredible story brushed off) and doesn't even SPEAK to the Norwegean who won and goes right into her 'let's make Bodie cry into the arms of his girlfriend' bit.

Even with the Ice dancing contest.... it'd have been cool to see how Virtue and Moier handled being champions. How did their life change? How much more intense had their rivalry with Davis and White become? Were they losing a step? Who could be the new kids on the block? Just nothing there. Granted, there was some more well rounded coverage there compared to others, but still...

It's just weird- there's more coverage of the olympics than ever before but heading in, I always feel like I know less and less each year. I used to know AT LEAST who the top 5-6 figure skaters in every event would be and what to look for. Now i'm lucky if I know two and it's almost always the Americans. I'm not a pro-xenophobia guy or anything, but in any kind of narrative or story you've gotta have good guys and bad guys and I don't feel like they do enough of a job of shaping American figures through their competition which I think takes away from the interest. If it's already decided, why watch?

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Please...please...no more Mary Carillo. She is the worst journalist. I will never forget her almost racist commentary during the Beijing games. When NBC shuffles here over to the Westminster Dog Show, you're in for a show. Of a lady who knows nothing about what she is commenting about and asking a hundred questions.

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Yea, I'm betting that's not actually the case. The Olympics are 2 1/2 weeks long. How many people have the attention span to watch 3 hours a night (not to mention everything on during the day) for that long? Ratings always drop off during the 2nd week when people start to get burned out by the Olympics. And just imagine if the Summer and Winter were in the same year. :P Either way, I doubt it has anything to do with the coverage.

They stayed away from those storylines (rightfully so) for 2 weeks. For Costas to go off on a 2-minute rant like that on a light night like they had yesterday is hardly taking away from the athletes and viewers. Might have been a little awkward to use the Ukraine gold as the vehicle to get into it, but like Barcelona said, better for him to do it last night rather than during or after the Closing Ceremony. That we're talking about the political issues surrounding these games as little as we have is a sign that these Olympics have gone very well.

i don't have the attention span for the olympics. after i fell asleep to PS last night i decided i'm so totally over the olympics atm and i can't wait for the closing ceremony.

and okay, i'll bite. what did bob costas say? brb googling. oh i liked it. i'm so glad he said it. what do you want from your journalists, whitewashed coverage that ignores political realities so you don't have to feel guilty about supporting an olympics in a brutal dictatorial regime? well, too bad. the olympics will, now and in the future, be held in countries that abuse human rights. that's their right. and the world's free press will be there to criticize them.

you don't get a free pass, PR extravaganza just because athletes are involved. i can't believe i'm having to explain this to a forum of homosexuals. would you like to live in russia?

what would belle brockhoff say??

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i don't have the attention span for the olympics. after i fell asleep to PS last night i decided i'm so totally over the olympics atm and i can't wait for the closing ceremony.

and okay, i'll bite. what did bob costas say? brb googling. oh i liked it. i'm so glad he said it. what do you want from your journalists, whitewashed coverage that ignores political realities so you don't have to feel guilty about supporting an olympics in a brutal dictatorial regime? well, too bad. the olympics will, now and in the future, be held in countries that abuse human rights. that's their right. and the world's free press will be there to criticize them.

you don't get a free pass, PR extravaganza just because athletes are involved. i can't believe i'm having to explain this to a forum of homosexuals. would you like to live in russia?

what would belle brockhoff say??

Exactly. I said before the Olympics that my hope was that the politics of what's going on in Russia and the ancillary stories would overshadow the competition. And they most certainly different. Again, for this to be the only time on any of the 539 hours of TV coverage we got a small reminder of the realities of what's going on in Russia is all we could have hoped for. But yea, a few hours from now, the Olympics will be over and thks idyllic setting out together by Putin and his buddies will be over and it'll be back to business as usual for Russia

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