TCA: Olympics will be live. Do you hear us? Live!
The NBC brain trust behind the network's herculean Olympic coverage that begins Aug. 8 wants desperately to make one thing clear -- we're live!
With an intensity not unlike that of Dr. Frankenstein upon discovering the lightning-juiced status of his pet project, NBC executives emphasized during its panel Monday morning that the Summer Olympics in Beijing will feature live coverage. That's live, live, live -- as opposed to dead, dead, dead in the ratings that previous time-zone-unfriendly Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and Athens registered with American audiences.
A little more than half of NBC's prime-time Olympic coverage -- including swimming and women's gymnastics -- will be live, said Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC's Sports and Olympics. Of course, the live programming really is for the Eastern -- which has a 12-hour time difference with Beijing -- and Central time zones.
In the West, most prime-time programming will still be tape-delayed -- but only by hours, not by a half or full day as with the last couple of Summer Olympics.
For those who can't wait, the Web will be there -- live, live, live. NBCOlympics.com will carry some 2,200 hours of live events across 25 sports; users can choose from among 20 concurrent streams.
In all its platforms, NBC will provide about 3,600 hours of Olympic coverage -- more than the total of every previous televised Summer Olympics combined. By comparison, CBS broadcast 20 hours of events from the Rome Olympics in 1960.
One final note comes from Olympics anchor Bob Costas: He promised that the event's opening ceremonies will be "uber-spectacular."
-- Martin Miller