Ok, ok, I know. Why can't the network show all the events live throughout the country? I agree with you. I think NBC has done a disservice to its viewers by not showing everything live, but unless something monumental happens, (like Michael Phelps going for a record-breaking eighth gold medal), that's not going to change. The network is pulling in too many viewers and raking in too much revenue to change its formula now.
Aside from the decision to go live or not, I think the network has done a solid job covering most of the events, but below are a few suggestions that might enhance the coverage. What do you think?
Get Bob Costas out of the studio: There was a lot of talk before the Games about how NBC was going to let Bob Costas go to more events, but I have yet to see that happen up to this point. There are certain times where Costas needs to be in the studio, (like when he interviewed President Bush on Monday night) but he doesn't have to be there all the time. If NBC would allow him to broadcast from different venues, the viewers could get a better feel for what is going on. Set him up like ESPN does with its College Gameday shows, which would also give him instant access to the athletes after an event. He's one of the best broadcasters in the business for a reason, give him the chance to show fans why.
Eliminate sideline reporters: I have never been a big fan of sideline reporters because I don't think they add much to the broadcast, and I can't say I've seen much in Beijing that would make me change my mind. How many different times can Andrea Kramer ask Michael Phelps how it feels to win a gold medal? How many different times can he say, "It feels great"?
Andrea Joyce interviewed Alicia Sacramone last night after her traumatic performance in the gymnastics final. Joyce asked some tough, but fair questions and Sacramone to her credit, answered each one of them. How many different ways can you get the girl to say, "I screwed up and I feel bad about it" though? Viewers didn't need the interview to see that Sacramone felt horrible, and was on the verge of tears -- the pictures said it all.
Kramer and Joyce are both talented reporters; NBC should give them the chance to go out in the field and put a few stories together. If an interview after the competition is necessary, the broadcasters on-site should be able to handle it.
More Bela: I touched on this last night but NBC would be wise to give Bela Karolyi some more airtime, especially on-site at the gymnastics events. He provides an emotion that few other analysts posses. You may not always agree with what he has to say, but his personality will keep you tuned in, because you'll want to see what he says and does next.
Create Olympic viewing guide channel: NBC has created separate channels for basketball and soccer, to go along with all the other platforms for Games coverage. Why can't they create a TV Guide-like channel for viewers to keep track of when and where their favorite events are coming on?
So you've seen what I think, what's your opinion? How do you think NBC has handled its coverage of the Olympics so far? Here are some more opinions from writers across the country if you need more food for thought:
-Leonard Shapiro points out that some of NBC's play-by-teams are actually commentating from television studios in the States and wonders why the network doesn't just send them over to Beijing? [Washington Post]
-Tom O'Neil wonders if the Opening Ceremony controversies might hurt NBC's Emmy chances. [LA Times]
-Richard Sandomir of the New York Times checks in with his thoughts on the live vs. not live controversy, believing that NBC is treating the Olympics as more of an entertainment, less like traditional sports coverage. [New York Times]
Photos via Getty Images.
- Bob Costas