NBC = Lose

Posted by Unrepentant Escapist

February 25, 2010 -- 11:03 p.m.

"To quote Mary Carillo’s former mixed-doubles partner, John McEnroe…”You cannot be serious!” NBC isn’t showing the second group of skaters because it needs to broadcast a feature about Carillo spending time with lumberjacks in Canada. And it didn’t break any ground, seeming like another excuse to put Carillo in a goofy outfit. Sorry skating fans, NBC thinks logs make better programming right now than skaters."

--From the NYT Liveblog of skating.

Wow. NBC did such a poor job of covering figure skating tonight, I'm not sure I'm ever going to watch their Olympic coverage again. That was ridiculous. Only showing the final group? Lara Lapisto must have had the skate of her life to make the jump from 10th to the top 6, given Rachel Flatt's clean program. Her free program score beat out Miki Ando and Mirai Nagosu. It's especially impressive because the NYT blog says she had technical difficulties. Akiko Suzuki managed to move up from 11th to 8th. They both must have had great programs. And what do we get? LOGGING. A few nights ago, they spent their opening ten minutes on a random plane flight. Because that's what we all tuned in to see, jokes about peanut packages.


Oh, and the people who've done the skating packages--those little clip films--need to be slapped. The riculous font ice dancing stuff was bad enough, but the whole "five days-three days-right now" thing was just dumb. Let's show a minute of people getting their pictures taken! Ooh! Exciting!

In the past, I've like the segments because they actually introduced us to people, but this year, they're just trying to get us all revved up with dramatic imagery and lame music. I don't know why NBC thinks it needs to turn figure skating into the superbowl.

And it's not as if NBC doesn't have multiple networks. Couldn't they pick one to show all the skating? They must not want to split the sponsors by dividing it between multiple networks. But since women's figure skating is like THE defining event of the winter games, the jewel of the advertiser's crown, why not show more of it? Showing so few skaters is just putrid. I mean, NBC just got smacked down by the Ol' Gray Lady, for goodness sake. And they deserved it.

Bottom line, I don't think I can wade through three hours of coverage about stuff I don't care about for figure skating anymore. I just can't. And I can't seem to download the software NBC tells me I need to watch the videos on their website, either, so they lose in multiple ways. I try to download it and it takes me to a blank page. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The only worse moment in NBC's coverage during this games that I can think of is the time they spent staying with a ski race when it was snowing. The entire time, the announcers said. "Well, fresh snow is death to the course, so none of these guys have a chance of medalling. Oh, there goes another guy, but he has no chance of medalling, either." And this went on for an hour...

Though of course, the lowest point EVER must have been when NBC barely covered the Hamm medal debacle in 2004. So I wasn't exactly enamored with their coverage in the first place. Too jingoistic.

It makes it worse because of the choice of skaters they showed. I get, they wanted to show it live for east coast viewers...but they chose to show the pre-recorded skate of Cheltzie Lee, who ended up in 20th, instead of the skater who was on the ice at the time: Kwak Min-Jung of South Korea, who scored almost 20 points better and ended up with the 12th best free program score. Perhaps because Lee's mother is American? One wonders why they bothered to show her score instead of another skater or...another logging segment.

This was the last straw. From one outraged figure skating fan to you, NBC: I hope the loggers paid you a lot for that little p.r. stunt, because you just lost any respect I had for you. And I didn't have much in the first place. Not even my beloved Scott Hamilton may be able to fix this wound...

ESPN is making a bid for the next Olympics. They say if they win, they'll show everything live regardless of what time it goes. Well, they've got my vote. Even if having the games in Sochi would put figure skating in the mid-afternoon, at least we'd get to see more of it. Bet they'd handle the online stuff better, too.

On the skating itself: The skates we did see went well. Kim Yu-Na rocked the house. I thought Rachel Flatt was underscored. If she'd been able to skate the whole program with the energy she showed at the end, it would have been even greater.

I wonder how long Kim Yu-Na will dominate? She's so young, and it doesn't seem like there are many skaters who can take her place. They talk about Mirai Negasu as a rising star...but when the 'risen star' is only a few years older, it's hard to take such talk seriously. Kim Yu-Na could probably take back to back golds, if she wants too.

I wonder what she does with all her money? That's the thing about getting by on $20,000 a year. The idea of getting $8 million a year just leaves me a little bemused. What would you do when you're too old to skate and have so much money sitting around? Would you work? Found a bunch of charities? Play golf all day?


  1. Luisa Perkins said...

    What a total FAIL. I hope ESPN scores the gig (yes, people (here, at least) still use that word :D) and makes good on their word.

  2. Lee Ann Setzer said...

    Did or didn't the Canadian miss a whole element in the long program? The crowd sighed as if something bad had happened, and it _looked_ like she skipped something...then she got the bronze anyway. I didn't see the short program, so maybe she burned that one up.

  3. Unrepentant Escapist said...

    She did have one mistake, but her lead over the short program and some mistakes by other competitors kept her up top.

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