It’s been a very very long time since I’ve seen an article on a mainstream website and ripped it to shreds. This one I could not pass up. Yesterday afternoon Yahoo’s Chris Chase wrote a piece on how we will miss NBC’s Olympic coverage should they lose the rights beginning 2014. Looking at the title I gave myself a false hope that it would be a well-reasoned and persuasive argument to force me (and countless others) that there is a good point to be made. Instead, the following was busted out:
For all the network does wrong in televising the Games, it also does a lot right. NBC provides simple, restrained coverage, something that’s a lot harder to do than it sounds. Take Thursday night’s figure-skating competition: The network aired 35 uninterruped minutes of skating with pitch-perfect announcing, a minimum of manufactured drama, no annoying graphics and direction that followed the action, not dictated it.
On another network we may have had meaningless blather from sideline reporters or cluttering, uninformative graphics on the screen. Instead of sticking with a tight camera shot of the skaters after their routines, there could have been countless shots of fans and coaches. (Dictating action, not following.) This sounds like easy stuff, but it’s amazing how many networks get it wrong.
I vehemently disagree. First off, it’s not pitch-perfect announcing when Scott Hamilton is screaming. Not only does this seem to be a clear jab at ESPN — rumored to be the likely Olympics TV hosts if they win the bidding rights — but it’s a weak argument based on 35 minutes worth of figure skating coverage. That doesn’t make up for their appalling two weeks of tape-delays, terrible announcers, and disastrous handling of situations where the curling overran the hockey timeslot.
They chose to ignore sports so we could see Bob Costas fly over the city of Vancouver. When faced with ice dancing and USA/Canada in hockey, NBC shoved the latter to MSNBC because they needed to reach the female demographic. I refuse to give kudos to a network that doesn’t care about the sporting event itself, but the ratings it oh so craves because of their lousy primetime lineup. You want to know how I can qualify this statement? Endless camera shots and promos of Lindsey Vonn, Apolo Ohno, Shaun White, Bode Miller, and Julia Mancuso. Instead of enlightening the viewer about Ghana’s first ever winter Olympian we’re treated to Mary Carillo learning how to be a Canadian mountie. They substituted showing more than 7-8 out of dozens of skiers to illustrate to us what the Olympics WOULD HAVE looked like one thousand years ago with dragons and vikings (huh?).
BUT this is offset by giving figure skating fans uninterrupted coverage for over a half hour. If Chase didn’t point this out to me I would’ve never seen the light. I’m all for opinions for the other side, but this is a feeble effort.
There’s a lot more to talk about now that I’ve been forced to actually watch this monstrosity unlike the past two games, but I’ll leave that for another day, preferrably after the closing ceremonies.
Oh, and USA 5 Canada 2. That’s my gold medal prediction. Good luck to both teams and may the Olympics close with a bang.