|The 3 Ways NBC's Olympics Have Struck Out
By: Shawn Paul Wood
Have you been watching NBC's round-the-clock coverage of the XXX Olympiad? According to Nielsen, an average of 28 million Americans are doing that thing. I have indulged a few episodes of swimming, archery, and whatever the hell handball is. However, looking at the name of the show got me thinking: "XXX Olympiad." Either the Olympics would get a lot more interesting if the broadcasters were in another adult-oriented industry or that represents three strikes and yer' out!
Since this is a family show (sorry, fellas), let's discuss the ample strikes NBC has provided its millions of viewers. What's sad about these Olympic Games are the numerous examples we have to select. It's like Christmas shopping for gaffes in what should be a polished televised broadcast. NBC had four years to practice and get it right; yet, here we are, making our list and checking it twice. Or more, depending on how often you feel like laughing.
1. Opening Ceremonies. I know what you're thinking: This is not going to be a rant on the nightmares that freakish trek through the Industrial Revolution and orphanages for the colossal bigheaded babies inspired. Oh no, this is Matt Lauer and Meredith "Why in God's name is she on TV" Vieira treating the Olympics like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Which reminds me; was your sales department on a commission BINGO challenge or something? Just how many times did NBC have to interrupt those riveting bed-jumping nubile loons for more political advertising and douche commercials?
Don't believe me? They interrupted Team USA coming into the stadium for an NBC promo. Yes, way. It's the parade of nations and NBC decided that would be a great time to showcase a cavalcade of its beleagured network. It's not like when they came back to broadcast that it was any better. Like, showing a nice shot of Stonehenge for some event hundreds of miles away in London?! Meredith mentioned that "Luxembourg is a small European country" and don't even ask how she pronounced a "small" African country called "Niger." Or perhaps you fancy Matt Lauer's hoity-toity, borderline racist remarks, "That Djibouti name sounds funny." And then there was his color commentary on Rwanda's "troubled past" that is "all good now." Yeah, that GENOCIDE. All good, indeed. Keep it classy, Captain Rogaine.
2. Ryan Seacrest. Sure, it's easy to pick on this guy, but why? Forget that national networks believe he is Dick Clark and now Tom Brokaw all wrapped up into one. Ignore the fact that it's an easy crossover from entertainment news to the real stuff. No, let's consider an interview with Michael Phelps. It was a nice, quaint poolside chat — Michael and friggin' Ryan Seacrest. And that would have been sweet, only it was in the middle of the opening ceremonies...and it pre-empted a tribute to London's subway terrorism victims. To wit, NBC retorts, "our program is tailored for the U.S. television audience." The Olympics choreographer thought it was a bad move. Americans thought it was a bad move, but there's NBC high-fiving themselves on an interview no one in the world cared to see.
And if you think NBC cares what you have to say, think again, America. NBC's Chief Digital Officer Vivian Schiller tweeted, "The medal for the most Olympic whining goes to everyone complaining about what happens every four years, tape delay." Unfortunately, she has all the reasons in the world do this because those ratings are making a killing. Then again, so is this broadcast. Oy vey!
3. #NBCFail. This is the hashtag heard 'round the world. In short, their broadcast sucks out loud. Let's take the oh-so-great Bob Costas beginning night one's coverage with "there will be no spoilers." Really, Captain Not-So-Obvious. Sure, there are no spoilers, namely with the results of EVERY friggin' event posted online six hours prior to that sentiment, including NBCNews.com. Yeah, that hurt. Even better, you will see some NBC flunkie get on the midnight shift applauding a special "encore version." Yeah, considering it's 6 a.m. in London, it's not like you have anything LIVE to show the public, right? NBC has attempted to thwart this little issue by downgrading social media, something they use ad-infinitum.
Darren Rovell tweeted, "NBC's ideal viewer is someone who doesn't get sports text alerts, doesn't appointment stream or get on Twitter." Classy, and while NBC is proudly broadcasting to the Amish community, may I present to Darren the 21st Century? And if that wasn't good enough, we have NBC pimping out one of its many home-bred productions, like "Today." They were so giddy to mention that they have the gold-medal winning Missy Franklin on their show with Matt and whoever is his sidekick these days. Only one issue — she hadn't won the gold medal yet.
The moral of this story, kids? Hashtags are not given in this world...they are earned. Mazel Tov, NBC. You earned your medal this year.
Shawn Paul Wood
is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here
or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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