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Author Topic: Olympics on TV  (Read 4431 times)
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Desmond
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« 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!"
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Desmond
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« Reply #1 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) Sad
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Vivian
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« Reply #2 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. Smiley
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17RoushFan
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« Reply #3 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.
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 tuned in to watch some commercials, but when they went to break, i saw a nascar race!
ronbarnes77
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« Reply #4 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.
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sally
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« Reply #5 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.
Sally
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Desmond
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« Reply #6 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 :? )
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jw
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« Reply #7 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.

   Notes:
    - 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.
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ronbarnes77
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« Reply #8 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.
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Desmond
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« Reply #9 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:
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ronbarnes77
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« Reply #10 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.
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jw
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« Reply #11 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

Mini-Features:
1. Bud Fresh TV-:31
2. Coca-Cola-:32
3. AT&T-:31
These mini-features are highlights or video vignettes of venues.
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ronbarnes77
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« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2004, 03:32:54 PM »

do this include primetime coverage only?
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Desmond
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« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2004, 04:27:53 PM »

JW,

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 Tongue
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Desmond
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« Reply #14 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?
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