How would you rate NBC's coverage of the Olympics?

Four Corners

February 19, 2010

A touch below great
Bill Kline

The Morning Call

NBC's family of networks earns a silver.

The highlights:

•Bubbly Dick Button on figure skating is an over-the-top treasure. He makes Dick Vitale seem like Debbie Downer.

•Superimposing one skier's run over another's run is James Cameron-like genius. It's like watching a one-on-one race as they hurtle down the mountain.

•Analysts impressively know their sport as well as Johnny Miller knows a golf swing. All ski jumps or bobsled runs look the same to me, yet somehow they notice in real time the tiny flaws.

The lowlights:

•Someone needs to disqualify Stephen Colbert. This is sport, not satire.

• Waiting until the end of its prime time telecast to show the medal ceremony for emotional American winners - often the most touching part of the Games.

wkline@tribune.com

Early decision hurts
Phil Rosenthal

Chicago Tribune

Coverage has been slick, glossy, carefully packaged and, occasionally to a distracting degree, often removed from real-life time considerations. Much like Bob Costas' hair.

Past Olympics have taught us not to think of this as a grand reality show, yet the great moments here have been straight-up sports. The competition can hold your interest even if you know the outcome. Technically, NBC nearly scores a 10, but the artistry isn't quite there. Pictures have outpaced descriptions, and news has trumped features.

Faced with death hours before the Opening Ceremony, NBC reran the awful luge clip until it felt cold and mechanical, like something from a video game, then yanked the tape, saying it didn't want to exploit. That shouldn't have precluded more aggressive follow-up.

prosenthal@tribune.com

Doing fans a disservice
Paul Doyle

Hartford Courant

U.S. skier Jake Zamansky spoke for many of us when he tweeted, "Can't wait to see how bad NBC covers ski racing today."

And it's not just skiing. After paying more than $800 billion for the right to broadcast the games, NBC is doing what they've done with the Games before.

So we're not surprised by the sappy features, the ridiculous tape-delays, the snubbing of non-U.S. athletes not named Sidney Crosby and the cheesy in-studio fireplace. The coverage is about what NBC has handed us in the past.

Bottom line: In this age of a 24-hour information flow, how can NBC possibly think prime-time tape delay coverage is acceptable? Prime time ratings are through the roof, so viewers are interested, but they are being underserved by the Peacock.

pdoyle@tribune.com

Times are very tough
Diane Pucin

Los Angeles Times

More Dick Button, please. That's my biggest wish from NBC's Olympic coverage.

Well, not quite.

The biggest would be live coverage for those in the Pacific Time Zone, which happens to be the same time zone the Olympics are happening in.

But enough about impossible dreams. It is too bad that we only get Button's sharply funny critiques briefly. After the men's short program, Button used the word "folderol." And it was perfect.

Also love Tim Ryan on skiing, but not analyst Christin Cooper, who made it sound as if Lindsey Vonn made dozens of mistakes in her gold-medal downhill.

And please help Cris Collinsworth, who is so superb on "Sunday Night Football" but so cloyingly, sweetly frothy with his feature pieces (the Shaun White one was interminable).

dpucin@tribune.com

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