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General Discussions => General Chit Chat => Topic started by: Desmond on August 14, 2004, 05:28:25 PM

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 14, 2004, 05:28:25 PM
The Games are now underway in Athens after the usual minstrel show called the Opening Ceremony.

As the competitions begin, there are several things to bear in mind:

1. NBC, for some reason, does not cover the Olympics as a sporting event, but rather as part sports, part showbiz, and part soap opera.  

2. You'll have to wait a long time to see any particular event.  The schedule is manipulated so that the night's feature event is always last (close to midnight Eastern and Pacific).

3. With a seven-to-10-hour time zone difference between the continental U.S. and Greece, you'll already know who won the various sports and events.  The only reason to watch is to see the pictures for yourself, because of course NBC is withholding the "big stuff" for prime time in the States.  (There is some live coverage on the various channels, but only of preliminaries and obscure sports).  The events shown on "late night" are especially absurd, because, depending on where you live, the next day's events have probably already started.  (However, nothing should top the 2000 Games, which had only one live telecast and for which the other events were delayed as long as 28 hours, making the required lump-in-the-throat features even more unbearable.)

4. I don't know if this is true, but there has been criticism of NBC for overemphasis of American performers, even if they are not doing well in their sports.  (Sounds like Fox and Dale Jr. :lol: )

Now for my first PT-109 Award (named for a feature at the 2000 Sydney Games that had nothing to do with any sport but that made it because JFK was part of it).  OK, this is not directly the fault of NBC, but I have to mention singer Bjork's dress.  As she performed, parts of it peeled off and later landed in the infield beneath the athletes to reveal a map of the world.  How she avoided a wardrobe malfunction is beyond me!

As the Terminator says, "I'll be back!"

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 16, 2004, 04:01:32 PM
The second PT-109 Award from the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad (the event's official name) goes to a common technique which I saw yet again on Sunday--breaking the flow of coverage.

During prime time, the first game of the beach volleyball (Misty May and Kerri Walsh on one side versus a pair of Japanese) was shown.  Instead of returning for the second game, NBC switched to some gymnastics action.  After another commercial break came "Chevrolet Moments," an excuse by the network to bring out Jimmy Roberts to introduce a feature on the beach volleyball pair.  Then and only then did NBC pick up the action in the second game.

The least NBC can do is show the feature events in sequential order and devote more time to showing them.  This is what happens on the cable partners CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, USA, and Telemundo.  Of course, this will never really happen.  As long as NBC must make back billions of dollars that is paying the Olympic committees for broadcast rights--and as long as they are more interested in demographics than the essence of the sports that make up the Games--this unfortunate pattern will continue.

Have they ever thought of live coverage of all major events in the afternoon or overnight hours (depending on where the Games are held), with prime time rebroadcasts?  Sorry, that would be too easy.

There is another reason that seeing "Chevrolet Moments" made me uncomfortable.  My Buddy Wayne character drives a Chevrolet in NASCAR competition, and he would cringe at seeing how the Olympics have been chopped up like this with the Bowtie's support.  Then again, nobody ever asked him (or Dale Jr. or Tony Stewart, for that matter) :(

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Vivian on August 16, 2004, 04:51:37 PM
Desmond, just wanted to thank you for your updates.  I don't normally watch the summer games but I like to know what is going on so Thanks. :)

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: 17RoushFan on August 16, 2004, 04:56:06 PM
The worst one in recent memory I think wasn't Australia, but the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. Everything on CBS was a full day behind, basically. It is too bad that there isn't more live Olympic coverage, even 6 years later.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: ronbarnes77 on August 16, 2004, 06:00:10 PM
you need to get used to the fact nbc will never show any events live when they occur .many people want that to happen but nbc will not give up the primetime ratings.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: sally on August 16, 2004, 08:45:23 PM
I don't like the way they chop up the coverage, either, but applaud using several different channels to show other sports (READ: not the generally popular ones).  I have seldom been able to see any of the equestrian events, and this year, on BRAVO, I can see most of them!  That's a big improvement over previous years.  It's a way to let some of us that like the "offbeat" sports to get to see them.  
 What totally offends me is the daily "medal count".  The announcers tend to make competitors feel as if they are a failure if they don't win a gold medal.  Good grief!  I'd like to see any of THEM try to do something well enough to even qualify, much less win a medal.

Sorry.  Kinda got on a stump there.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 16, 2004, 11:03:09 PM
Thanks, Sally, for your opinions on the medal count.  Although I don't mind the "standings," I can understand how people would interpret the data.

For example, Michael Phelps has one gold and two bronze medals so far.  Although the bronzes came in events in which he was not favored, the hype was so great that some fans have already called him a failure.  And what if the U.S. basketball team leaves Athens with no medal?  Will they even be allowed back?  (Remember, they've already lost to Puerto Rico--by 19 points.)

As for the original purpose of the post, there should be fewer candidates for the PT-109 Awards this year than four years ago.  For one thing, prime time from Monday through Saturday is an hour shorter than a year ago, and NBC is promising fewer feature stories.  (Not that we'll actually see more sports :? )

Title: Olympics-Opening Cermony Commerical Report
Post by: jw on August 17, 2004, 12:40:28 AM
First of several updates:

  Opening Ceremony:
    1. Number of Commerical Breaks: 25
    2. Total Commerical Time: 1:00:24
    3. Features: 1 with a TRT of 3:12
        Feature was on Olympics Security.

    - The 2nd hour had only 5 breaks.
    - The 3rd hour had the most breaks with 8.
    NBC did show ALL 202 delegations in the Parade of Nations.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: ronbarnes77 on August 17, 2004, 03:38:37 PM
hey jw one thing to remember is that the commerical breaks came on a taped broadcast.also the parade of nations wasn't shown in it's entirety.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 17, 2004, 04:26:16 PM
Quote from: "ronbarnes77"
hey jw one thing to remember is that the commerical breaks came on a taped broadcast.also the parade of nations wasn't shown in it's entirety.

It's not clear what you meant by the sentence about the parade of nations, but the fact remains that all countries' delegations were shown on the screen, even if only for a moment.

Now, my third PT-109 Award.  It goes to NBCOlympics.com, the official web site of the coverage.  This morning, I learned that you can vote for the most emotional moment each day.  Of course, there's nothing wrong with having a lump in your throat, but it's cheap if someone wants you to have it every day.  Remember, this is what NBC's coverage is all about.

I'm with Staci.  I do most of my Olympic watching on the cable partners.  For one time, I get to watch sports I never knew existed.  For another, they're covered as sports events.  I wish NBC would treat the major sports the same way.

But I digress.  So much for a lack of award candidates :lol:

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: ronbarnes77 on August 17, 2004, 04:45:37 PM
what i meant by my comment was the fact that many small nations were shown for maybe 5 seconds in favor of showcasing big nations like the usa and china.this was not imo complete coverage.

Title: Olympics Commericals & Features-Saturday Primetime
Post by: jw on August 18, 2004, 06:43:32 AM
Total Commerical Time for Saturday Night, Aug. 14: 59:53
Total Commerical Breaks: 28
Features: 4 Full Features & 3 Mini-Features

Features Breakdown(including Introduction):
1. Michael Phelps Feature-about 2:40
2. Ian Thorpe-5:24*
    This was the Olympic Moments Feature
3. Blaine Wilson-1:33
4. Men's Gymnastics Team from China-1:31

1. Bud Fresh TV-:31
2. Coca-Cola-:32
3. AT&T-:31
These mini-features are highlights or video vignettes of venues.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: ronbarnes77 on August 18, 2004, 03:32:54 PM
do this include primetime coverage only?

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 18, 2004, 04:27:53 PM

Thanks once again for providing the commercial time breakdown.

I find that the commercials take up about 25 percent of the total time on air.  Is this more than at a typical NASCAR race, less, or the same?  I'm guessing that it's more, despite NASCAR's recent sinister attempts :P

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 19, 2004, 08:36:09 PM
Today at the Games...

Aaron Piersol won the gold medal in the swimming 200-meter backstroke.  But that's not the news.  The news is that he had been disqualified for an alleged illegal turn (whatever that means), only to see the decision reversed by the swimming federation.

All of this happened, in real time, in 30 minutes.  How long will it take for NBC to show the same events?  Just wondering.

Oh, and one more thing.  According to the report by AP's Beth Harris, the federation refused to say what they thought the violation was.  (She actually wrote, "No other details were immediately available," a phrase I hate.  Does that mean we'll never know since they couldn't find out "immediately?"  I see that all the time :x )  Was it because the official was biased against Piersol because of earlier complaints against another athlete?  Or was it because--bringing it back to the topic--they were trying to bait American TV viewers into trying to find it themselves?  Did NBC have a role in the reversal they cannot acknowledge now, because of the delayed broadcast here in the States?

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 19, 2004, 08:49:17 PM
OK, I'm back with something I planned to write before the Aaron Piersol thing broke.

The web site Jump the Shark (http://www.jumptheshark.com) has become famous for trying to figure out when popular television shows went downhill.  The site has a section about the Olympics.

Those who posted to the online forum cited many reasons for the decline of the TV coverage, including host Bob Costas, musician John Tesh (back when he covered gymnastics), the end of the Cold War rivalry, the inclusion of professionals in certain sporting events, and--my theory--the de-emphasis of sports in favor of a soap opera look.

A few said that the Olympics haven't "jumped the shark," but, tellingly, all of them cited the CBC coverage out of Canada.  They love the fact that CBC covers all events live, regardless of where in the world the Games are held.  One respondent even said that a Boston newspaper posts the names of bars that show CBC during the event.

Do you think that the International Olympic Committee can pressure NBC into changing its Olympic coverage here in the U.S.?  Naah, they just get too much money from them.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: ronbarnes77 on August 19, 2004, 09:47:42 PM
desmond what happen was this the official at first said that piersol made an illegal turn but did not use "official language" to explain the violation.the appeals jury then used this excuse to overturn the call.also i like the fact that nbc shipped out the soccer coveragr to telemundo(in spanish of course!).

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 20, 2004, 03:47:09 PM
More on the violation from the NBC telecast:  

The swimming federation gave two reasons the protest were upheld.  First, the written and spoken explanations were not consistent, and second, the original complaint was in neither English or French, which are the two official languages of the Olympics.

After watching the replays, I don't think the kick was illegal.

Also, the feature on the Greek baseball team was actually interesting and very good.  I must give NBC credit for once.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: ronbarnes77 on August 20, 2004, 10:09:34 PM
also desmond apparently the official is still claiming that he called it correctly .now i saw the replay several times and i don't think he violated the rules either. the silver medalist also agreed and by the way this guy is a class act if you ask me.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 23, 2004, 04:46:18 PM
It's now time for the fourth PT-109 Awards of this Summer Olympic Games.  It goes to NBC itself (no surprise) for some of the commercials shown during daytime coverage.

For those of you who complain about the ads during NASCAR telecasts, well, be grateful that you aren't hit with ads for shampoo, pain relievers, and cosmetics.  These commercials belong more on soap operas than sporting events, but then again, remember that NBC treats the Games as a soap opera anyway.

And those who complain about missed restarts at races due to TV ads?  It happened repeatedly during the portion of the show Saturday in which U.S. men's basketball "not-so-dream team" lost to Lithuania.  They were late coming back at least five times and some baskets were not shown.  Besides, the commercials just don't match up with what basketball fans typically see on TV.

At night, the ads are more representative of a sports event, but I think there are still some cosmetic/beauty ads.

P.S. Promos for the Southern, er, Pop Secret 500 weekend race are already airing on NBC.  We already know that France and Helton are wrecking tradition, now they remind us every half hour or so :P

P.P.S. The U.S. beat Angola 89-53 this morning.  Just what they needed :)

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: ronbarnes77 on August 23, 2004, 06:37:06 PM
hey desmond let me get your thoughts on the whole paul hamm thing okay?

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 24, 2004, 04:51:42 PM

Paul Hamm should not have to share his gold medal with the Korean, as some have suggested.  

Obviously, the precedent is the duplicate gold awarded to Canadians in pairs figure skating in 2002.  But the difference is that the results in this year's gymnastics was based on an honest mistake, not on corruption.

Also, did you see and hear the brutal crowd reaction after Alexei Nemov was given a low score in last night's high bar finals?  Hamm couldn't perform for about nine minutes as the fans insisted that the judges change the Russian's scores.  No matter: Hamm won the silver and Nemov finished fifth.

But the point was made, as mob rule hit the arena.  Much like Talladega in April, except that nobody threw anything.

I just wonder if gymnastics officials will install something like green-white-checkers to ensure it doesn't happen again :roll:

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: ronbarnes77 on August 24, 2004, 07:07:57 PM
i feel that thew ioc should award  the korean a second gold medal  because  he would have won " but  for"  the judges mistake. it's unfair to have this guy's dream destroyed  because of something out of his control. also yes i saw the ruckus last night and i agree with the fans that score was way off  see the fans should boo because they pay the money and  anybody ignores them  tim dagett  talka about the gymmasts  deserving respect  but what about the gymmasts respecting the fans.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: kgregg on August 25, 2004, 08:46:39 PM
Quote from: "Desmond"
It goes to NBC itself (no surprise) for some of the commercials shown during daytime coverage.

Have you seen any of the Olympics in HD?  If not, be very glad you haven't (the pic quality is stunning, by the way.... no complaints here!)  

NBC was not able to sell much commercial time on its HD broadcast of the Games (HD broadcast of Games is *completely* different content from non HD broadcast).  Sony was the only company to buy commercial time from NBC.  Sony made only ONE commercial to be shown.  This same "Hey Todd" commercial for a Sony tv is shown again and again and again.  It is enough to drive you to drink (nevermind, someone already drove me there)  


Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: ronbarnes77 on August 26, 2004, 03:22:13 PM
:D i'm very glad i don't because i think that would drive me to start  drinking again

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 26, 2004, 04:06:32 PM
I did see a few minutes of NBC HD last Saturday at an outdoor shopping mall in Irvine, CA.  I think it was sponsored by Cox cable, which serves the area.

I agree with Kevin's assessment of the picture.  It's something I would be interested in exploring if I had the money to purchase the necessary set and service.

Also, NBC has introduced 40-minute commercial free blocks between 10:45 and 11:25 p.m. ET/PT every night.  It was obviously made to compete with local newscasts on ABC and CBS affiliates.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 27, 2004, 04:23:42 PM
It's time to name two new "winners" of the PT-109 Awards: Bob Costas and Dick Ebersol.

One of the great criticisms (at least here) of Fox coverage of NASCAR racing is that Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip insist on calling the action as if they were actually there.  Costas does something similar when NBC goes on the air at 8, 7 Central and Mountain every night.  He'll say something like, "Your dream of gold may well come true" or "You're trying to carry on a tradition."  Excuse me.  Is Costas secretly watching NASCAR coverage?  Or maybe Sam Flood gave him the idea after watching the competition.  After all, Flood (NBC/TNT NASCAR producer) is in Athens to produce track and field.

Ebersol is an easy target, but worth mentioning because he has admitted to the media that NBC doesn't cover the Olympics as a sporting event, as every other broadcaster in the world does, but as a "family entertainment special" (I think that's the quote from the Los Angeles Times).  As another reminder of this treatment, NBC aired a documentary Wednesday night about a form of the Olympic Games staged at Nazi prison camps.  The piece, narrated by Tom Brokaw, will re-air Sunday on Bravo.  Although Times critic Larry Stewart gave the piece a good review, it is still out of place at a "sports" telecast, just like the PT-109 feature in 2000 which inspired these awards.

One final thing: Miss the basketball games that USA Network has aired at 4:30 a.m. in this time zone?  Sorry, don't look for the highlights.  NBC holds them from rival TV stations/networks for a full 24 hours!  As Jim Rome says, "Nice!" :x

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Vivian on August 27, 2004, 08:17:36 PM
Although I have not watched much of the games, I think they should award a second medal to the Korean.  Much as I have heard and seen, the judge was wrong and IMO, they both should get medals.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 29, 2004, 07:39:30 PM
The Olympic Games are almost over, with only the closing ceremonies left.  But NBC is pulling one more trick on the viewing public.

Right now, the men's marathon is being shown.  This is the last competition of the Olympic Games.  Then we'll see the closing ceremonies, right?  Of course not; this is NBC.

After the winner is determined in the marathon, it will switch to taped coverage of boxing (Andre Ward won for the USA in, I think, the lightweight class) and taekwondo this afternoon.  When NBC returns tonight, it will show the United States in men's court volleyball (lost to Russia, no bronze medal), and then we can see the Olympic flame snuffed out.

Dick Ebersol will never say it out loud, but he prefers Games in Europe or (even better) Asia/Australia because he can better manipulate the coverage with fewer live events.  Then again, this is the same Ebersol who spent $15,000 to find out who Carly Simon sang about in the 1970 hit song "You're So Vain," with the condition that he keep the subject's identity secret, just as Simon always has.  There's a connection there somewhere.

As for JW, he must have a crazy schedule again; no commercial posts since the Monday of the first week.

I'll have one final post tomorrow.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Desmond on August 30, 2004, 09:32:17 PM
The Olympic Games have ended, and, as promised, here is my final post on the subject.

First, here's a story NBC chose to ignore.  Justin Gatlin, winner of the men's 100-meter race, is coached by Trevor Graham.  Graham was the informer who helped break open the case against BALCO for supplying athletes for the new steroid THG.  It has since been reported that seven other athletes Graham has coached have tested positive, and that some of them have received bans.  As far as I know, none of this information has been reported by NBC.  

Newspaper columnist Bob Keisser has also accused NBC of covering up or underreporting other examples of anti-American sentiment at the Games.  Here's the entire article:

http://www.presstelegram.com/Stories/0,1413,204~23174~2366520,00.html (http://www.presstelegram.com/Stories/0,1413,204~23174~2366520,00.html)

And another article from Keisser on the NBC coverage:
http://www.presstelegram.com/Stories/0,1413,204%257E23174%257E2367800,00.html (http://www.presstelegram.com/Stories/0,1413,204%257E23174%257E2367800,00.html)

Other observations:
--I think that Jim Lampley should replace Bob Costas as main Olympic host.  He has more experience at the Games than Costas and sounds more interesting.
--Yes, this is American coverage, but since when has it turned into a public-relations machine?  The medal winners are interviewed on late-night coverage, on the Today show, and starting tonight, on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  In other words: overexposure.
--The cable networks have been invaluable.  Many sports appeared on these channels that the public haven't heard of, but how the sports were presented on TV no doubt fired a spark in someone that will lead to a new opportunity to compete in sports.  Not everyone can play football, basketball, or baseball (or can race cars).
--NBC gets an F in journalism.  They wasted Jimmy Roberts on trips to the plaka (a place like Times Square) and athlete profiles that could have been used to discuss serious issues like doping and the treatment of American athletes.  During the Paul Hamm controversy, NBC was clearly on Hamm's side, apparently unwilling to hear from the other side.

That's it for now.  On to Torino, Italy, February 2006 and the Olympic Winter Games.

Title: Olympics on TV
Post by: Michael on August 31, 2004, 05:48:01 AM
Quote from: "Desmond"
Other observations:
--I think that Jim Lampley should replace Bob Costas as main Olympic host.  He has more experience at the Games than Costas and sounds more interesting.

Desmond, I like Jim Lampley, I really do, but the Olympics' Primetime coverage is Bob Costas's center stage, and if they ever took the cane, and yanked him off center stage and put him in Daytime, I would be the first one in the world to call NBC and complain. Poor Bob's talents are wasted on horse racing's Triple Crown, the U.S. Open and Ryder Cup golf tourneys these days on NBC. No World Series. No Super Bowl. No NBA Finals. Now, the three aforementioned events are all great (can't wait for the Ryder Cup-U.S.A. all the way), but even Costas has admitted to not having much knowledge when it comes to horse racing. Now, where can Bob be seen mostly? On HBO, hosting his interview show, On the Record, and the longest-running cable show of all-time, Inside the NFL. What's my problem with that? I don't have HBO. Yeah, Costas's life, and he'll do what he wants, that's fine. But, it drives me nuts seeing him reduced to doing things he doesn't have much expertise about. Joe Buck is always great at the World Series, and will be at the Super Bowl in February (Buck works for FOX, by the way), but he's no Costas. Not even close.