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Record TV Coverage Planned for Summer Olympics

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Record TV Coverage Planned for Summer Olympics

Old 06-10-04, 09:43 AM
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Record TV Coverage Planned for Summer Olympics

Record TV Coverage Planned for Athens

By Amalie Benjamin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 10, 2004; Page D01

NBC yesterday unveiled an exhaustive programming schedule that will ensure the Athens Olympics receive more air time than the past five Summer Games combined, although much of that coverage will be taped rather than live.

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports and Olympics, said during a conference call yesterday that the network plans to televise 1,210 hours over 17 days, more than 70 hours each day on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo and Telemundo and in high definition on NBC's HDTV affiliates.

Television coverage of the Olympics has increased dramatically over the past few Games. In 2000, 441.5 hours of Olympics were shown from Sydney, and every Olympics before 1976 received less total TV time than is planned for one day of the Aug. 13-29 Games.

But TV viewers still will see only about 300 hours of live coverage, mostly during morning hours because of the seven-hour time difference from Greece to the East Coast.

NBC plans to hold key events for the large prime-time audience, even on weekends, rather than showing them live. Swimmer Michael Phelps's potential bid for a record-tying seventh gold medal could come early on Saturday, Aug. 21. But those eager to see his performance will have to wait for the tape delay telecast in prime-time that evening.


"The prime-time coverage will be very close to what it's always been in the past," Ebersol said. "We're obviously looking to the largest possible audience during the time they're available."

Ebersol also said that the prime-time Olympic slot has been reduced from five hours to four hours for the Athens Games.

Another first will be NBC's use of high definition broadcasts, which are available to less than 10 percent of homes with television.

"The vast majority of these increased hours will all come from our exclusive HD coverage," Ebersol said. "We're pretty pleased we were able to do this at the last minute. It is pretty clear to us that we will be able to do the entirety of the Winter Olympics from Torino [Italy] in high definition."

But much of the 399 hours of additional HD programming won't be original. The network will play an eight-hour segment, then replay it twice before offering a new eight-hour show. Only six high-profile sports will be available to the few homes that can watch HDTV: swimming, diving, gymnastics, track and field, the medal rounds of basketball and the men's soccer gold medal final.

"This is really an experiment, the first of many we'll see with the Olympics," said Randy Falco, president of the NBC Universal Television Networks Group. "We're going to start to use new technologies going forward."

NBC also will use Telemundo to deliver the first exclusively non-English broadcast of the Olympics in the United States. The station will show nearly as many hours of Olympic programming as the entire country saw during the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Every one of the 28 Summer Olympic sports will see air time on one of the NBC networks, forcing NBC to find broadcasters with expertise in events as diverse as team handball and field hockey.

Finding some of those sports on the extensive NBC coverage might be a challenge, however, especially with some sports being seen on as many as four networks.

Gary Zenkel, executive vice president of NBC Olympics, said viewers would be able to find programming schedules through several platforms, including the network's Web site.

I'm not surprised about the tape delay, but it still deserves a particularly tape delaying coverage on weekends.
Old 06-10-04, 09:56 AM
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Olympic tape delays make Baby Jesus cry.
Old 06-10-04, 10:24 AM
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My NBC affiliate doesn't broadcast in HD.
Old 06-10-04, 12:18 PM
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I'm glad I get CBUT (the British Columbia affiliate of CBC) because they show all the important events live.


There's nothing like watching the 50m freestyle finals at 2am.
Old 06-10-04, 05:59 PM
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Why don't they show it live AND rebroadcast at primetime. I mean I'm not that much of a stickler but there is something less endearing about watching taped sports.
Old 06-10-04, 06:11 PM
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I hope to set a record this summer for least amount of Olympics coverage watched.
Old 06-10-04, 06:18 PM
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hopefully there will be atleast 1 hour of Team Handball
I doubt it tho
Old 06-10-04, 06:33 PM
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Bring it on baby!
I love the Olympics.....tape delay blah blah blah.

What, is this the first time they're going it? I'd rather get to see the whole event that miss it because, uh, I have a job and can't take two weeks off to watch TV all day.

I could do without the profiles....now those do suck!

Women's indoor volleyball....oh yes!
Old 06-11-04, 08:18 AM
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Originally posted by Exzavier00
hopefully there will be atleast 1 hour of Team Handball
I doubt it tho

Yeah - forget about that and stuff like volleyball (not beach) and table tennis - sports that I really would like to see.

I guarantee you that 95% of the primetime coverage will be devoted to gymnastics, track, 'Dream Team,' swimming, and diving.


I hope to set a record this summer for least amount of Olympics coverage watched.
I think I watched 1 hour of the Sydney Olympics. This may break that.

I much prefer the Winter Olympics.
Old 06-11-04, 08:21 AM
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Originally posted by Red Dog
I much prefer the Winter Olympics.


Me too.

Funny, before the 2002 Olympics came here I didn't want them. Now that they've come and gone, I'm eager for them to return.
Old 06-11-04, 08:41 AM
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Unfortunately, NBC always seems to go overboard with backstories and "personal interest" stuff instead of focusing on the actual events, so I'm sure that out of the 70 hours per day, at least half of it will be about childhood traumas of gold-medal contenders, and athletes who beat incredible odds to make it to Athens.
Old 06-11-04, 10:28 AM
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I'm not surprised about the taped coverage either - considering when the Olympics were in ATLANTA a few years back, the majority of events shown were STILL TAPE DELAYED!

I just hope NBC sticks to actually showing us EVENTS. The last Olympics aired were about 30 percent events and 70 percent vignettes about the athletes, where they came from, etc...which was rather dull to watch.
Old 06-11-04, 10:37 AM
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Originally posted by Shannon Nutt


I just hope NBC sticks to actually showing us EVENTS. The last Olympics aired were about 30 percent events and 70 percent vignettes about the athletes, where they came from, etc...which was rather dull to watch.

ABC was the originator of this storytelling method of Olympic coverage. The network suits believe it is the only way to get chicks to watch the Games.
Old 06-11-04, 11:10 AM
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I don't mind the tape-delay at all thanks to TiVo. I have three DirecTivo's and will add an HD DirecTivo shortly. I wasn't planning on watching anything live anyway.

70 hours/day of programming is 20 hours of commercials, 10 hours of shameless self-promotion, 20 hours of fluff pieces. That leaves 20 hours of actual sports. Since most of that will be repeated, often more than once, I figure I can watch everything in 4 to 6 hours a day.
Old 06-11-04, 11:10 AM
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Originally posted by Shannon Nutt
The last Olympics aired were about 30 percent events and 70 percent vignettes about the athletes, where they came from, etc...which was rather dull to watch.
You didn't find the story of the lactose-intolerant-grew-up-on-a-dairy-farm-in-Iowa-but-turned-into-a-world-class-Olympic-wrestler inspiring?
Old 06-11-04, 12:15 PM
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I rarely watch the olympics. mainly because the stuff I'd watch doesn't get shown
I watched part of the winter olympics only because my friend was in the stands at the event I was watching
Old 06-11-04, 12:19 PM
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Looking forward to the HD coverage, but my NBC station is hit and miss. They often place thin blue bars along side the image, which is SO annoying, but for the Tonight Show, it fills the screen. I hope they utilize the entire 16:9 image space for the Olympics.

I plan ta watch as much as I can without losing my job. Love the Summer Olympics. Not a fan of the Winter Games.
Old 06-11-04, 12:27 PM
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Are they going to catch all the bombs going off too?
Old 06-11-04, 02:19 PM
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Yeah, sad to say, but the ratings would probably go through the roof, should some terrorism occur.
Old 06-11-04, 05:19 PM
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They damn well better show fencing this time!
Old 06-11-04, 06:14 PM
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The idiocy of not showing things live is confounding. It was one thing to not show live events in previous years, but by now with the spread of the net everyone will know what happens well in advance of all the big events.

Sigh. I wish I could get my c-band dish fixed before the games. I'd love to watch this on the CBC again.

I mean, can you imagine showing the classic USA/USSR hockey game on tape delay these days, as they did in 1980?
Old 06-11-04, 10:04 PM
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Originally posted by dstrauss
[B]The idiocy of not showing things live is confounding. It was one thing to not show live events in previous years, but by now with the spread of the net everyone will know what happens well in advance of all the big events.
This has been a problem for a while...I pretty much didn't go near my computer for two weeks during the 2000 Games....or watch ESPN because they broadcast the results.
Old 06-12-04, 12:30 AM
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And, as usual, there will be no coverage of Tae Kwon Do. No, no, its all right, its not like I would actually wanna see Dominque Bosshart fight or anything. I mean, its not like I know her or have fought her or anything. Bastards!
Old 06-12-04, 12:49 AM
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So...can we expect a Top 50 Moments From 1200 Hours Of Olympic Coverage from das...?
Old 06-12-04, 02:53 AM
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I'm definitely gonna be watchin' a lot of the Olympics.

I went to high school with a kid whose gonna be reporting for NBC cuz he's Greek & speaks Greek. Speros Dedes.

He does reporting for the YES Network (Yankee's Network) and NBA TV.

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