The Olympics only started last Thursday and already NBC has been very disappointing. I’m Olympics-obsessed. When I traveled to the Olympics four years ago, I realized I could not avoid news and had to be okay with knowing results before I got to see some of the events. It’s impossible to attend all events you care about when they’re concurrent, clearly…
Normally, when I watch the Olympics, I watch everything NBC chooses to air (often very lacking) and I watch it in order. Though I’ve given up cable/dish and my DVR before, I cannot do without them during the Olympics. NBC advertised the Olympics this year as having more coverage than Vancouver and Torino combined. Wonderful! I was so excited about the extra coverage.
Now that we’re a few days into the games, I have a question for NBC, though. How much of your coverage is not original, but repeats of what you showed earlier (sometimes live, sometimes not)? I’m going to argue it’s a fairly large percent.
So far, 100% of the skating has been aired twice (sometimes more). During the day, the live (or closer to live) coverage has great commentary by Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir. Sadly, those who don’t have NBC Sports Network (quite a few of my friends) are totally missing this amazing commentary. That night, in prime time, the SAME events are re-aired… the viewer sees the same skating as earlier with different commentary. The primetime commentary is by Scott Hamilton, Tracy Wilson, & Sandra Bezic. I adore Scott Hamilton. I have for years. I’m thrilled that he’s still involved, but don’t see why I can’t hear him WITH Johnny Weir & Tara Lipinski. I haven’t watched every skating performance twice, so I’ve heard more of my preferred announcers (Johnny Weir & Tara Lipinski), but the times that I have listened to both, since I really wanted to see the performance again without replaying it myself rather than skipping it, I was disappointed with the primetime commentary. Perhaps it’s because Johnny and Tara are younger. I’m not sure. I definitely find them much more entertaining and it’s a shame those without NBCSN don’t even get the option to see them. They point out a lot of things not mentioned in the evening coverage I’ve found very interesting.
The coverage of Bode Miller’s first skiing run was aired three times. I watched it twice, since my boyfriend had missed it the first time, but I skipped it the third. In this case, the commentary was exactly the same.
Many other events have been re-aired, but each time they’re aired they showed the same snowboarders, skiers, ski jumpers, etc. I understand replaying the one main hockey game a day. It’s clearly labeled. But I think any repeated coverage should be CLEAR about being a repeat. They should mention that those who have been recording everything and watching in order have already seen this coverage. It should say “Replay” somewhere on the screen. The first time they did this, I thought I was imagining things and had to verify with my boyfriend that we’d already seen some of the events’ EXACTLY as aired.
I think the live coverage should have more of the event. While I understand this is apparently all online, there are spoilers online too. I don’t want to know who won the events before I see the events and I’m already about 6 hours behind. By this time tomorrow, I’ll be even more behind. I can’t afford not to work for the entire Olympics and need sleep, so it’s impossible to stay on track. If I went onto NBC’s website to see what I was missing, they would tell me about things that have happened that haven’t aired and that have aired that I haven’t gotten to yet. This isn’t a very good solution for those of us who love the Olympics enough to see everything possible.
There are many other things NBC could improve (a little flag by the NBC symbol when the skaters are performing, so you can see what country they represent if you can’t remember, showing the skater’s name until the music starts at least rather than flashing it quickly on the screen), but they are doing many things better this year and seem to be improving each time.
So far, I haven’t seen Andrea Joyce say anything rude to the competitors (she’s the one who always seems to point out that they lost gold instead of concentrating on the fact that they WON silver or bronze and are still better than almost everyone in the world), which is a welcome change. I like the addition of the music the skaters are using for their routines. Though I would normally recognize it and have seen some of the performances many times already, it’s nice to see the composers getting the credit they deserve.
I wish NBC hadn’t renewed. I think other companies might come up with better ideas for showing the Olympics and that all the channels could grow and learn from each other if they alternated the way they seemed to alternate in the old days. However, I’m glad that they’re getting better in some aspects. I hope one of these years they’ll be honest about their coverage and not repeat some events as often, but I’m not holding my breath.
Hope you’re enjoying what NBC wants us to see of the Olympics or (better yet) that you’re in another country and able to enjoy less biased coverage (the Vancouver coverage of the 2010 Olympics was truly amazing).