Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Open Season on Peacock

I'll admit, I'm somebody who complains A LOT about the shortcomings, quirks, and inequities in TV sports coverage.

Just listen to me. Like I'm some kind of expert. Sheesh.

Then again, I can't help it. It's like the inner director in me comes out, and I start bellyaching about all the camera angles, replays, and action I would have shown, instead of that bum in the network truck calling the shots.

I'm certainly not alone. Like anybody who sits IN FRONT of the boob tube, we all think that mastery of a remote is just one step short of being Roone Arledge.

So this may shock some of you, but I think NBC is doing a fabulous job of televising the Olympics.

"You're doin' a heck of a job, Peacock."

I mean it.

Sure, the network is losing their ass on these games financially. But that's due to a bid for the rights born of a much different non-recessionary time than now.

The complaints I have been hearing, are some of the most tired, predictable, and stupid ones I hear all the time.

"There's not enough action!"

"Too much studio time!"

"I hate the shmaltzy features!"

Happens just about every Olympics.

And don't get me started on the whole tape delay thing. Sure, NBC could show live events on their cable outlet during the day, WHEN they happen. Sure, NBC.com could stream that action live on the web. Sure they could charge for all of that.


They tried it. Olympics Triplecast. Google it. Not a raging success.

Only a junkie needs to see EVERY downhill run, every minute of a cross country ski race, or every ski jump. Speaking of which, doesn't anybody wipe out anymore on ski jumping? I'm not looking for more Eddie "The Eagle" Edwardses, but a little bit more than one perfect jump and landing after another would be nice.

And for anybody that thinks the USA-Canada hockey game should have been on NBC1 instead of MSNBC, you are nuts. I too love hockey, but it's ratings death. These games as presented by NBC finally ended American Idol's 222 night winning streak last Wednesday.

Sure it took Linday Vonn winning the downhill, and the fact that most of us KNEW that fact ahead of time to do it, but still. It's not like NBC doesn't have a clue.

The Winter Olympics are a delicious sampler platter of events and sports that we otherwise wouldn't give a crap about. I for one, have been savoring them.

And NBC's coverage has been fantastic in terms of artistic merit. The high definition has been stellar, and the super slo-mo replays sensational.

The camera angles, replays, and techno-gadgetry of the downhill and super-G races was nothing short of a visual orgy.

What, NBC gets no credit for this?

I think too many people very much over-rate the notion of more "action" instead of what is sometimes called "fluff."

Personally, the feature on injured snowboarder Kevin Pearce, his family, and his recovery was better than anything I've seen on TV in a long time.

So let the record show, I don't complain about everything. And NBC's Football Night In America remains a goat-sodomizing mess. But as for these games and NBC: good job, carry on!


  1. 'NBC's Football Night In America remains a goat-sodomizing mess.'

    Damn, I miss hearing you in the morning! It's this ability you have for turning a phrase that makes you such a unique talent.

    I do, however, remain disappointed that hockey was relegated to the fringe channel. I accept the logic of your argument. But as a hockey fanatic, I keep hoping that exposing a larger audience to great hockey will put the sport in a position to overtake gawd awful NBA basketball as America's #3 sport.

  2. I'll pick one nit. In men's freestyle arials last night the camera angle was such that just as the men were reaching the apex of their jumps, the camera was looking up into a giant cluster of 100,000 watt lights. This totally obscured the skiier and, in even a modestly darkened room, was almost painful to watch.

    You'd think someone in the production truck would have noticed and told them to move that camera a few feet.

    Aside from that, couldn't agree more. The peacock is doing a pretty terrific job and I am loving the coverage.

  3. I'm tired of hearing that "hockey is ratings death". There was tremendous interest in this game. If they had shown the game, the ratings would have been there. This is more about McDonald's ads in prime time and their inability to show as many of them as they can during a live sporting event that has very few breaks.

    Hell over 8 Million people found it on MSNBC a channel that is still in SD on most cable and satellite systems (but not FIOS, thank you Verizon) and a channel that half the country has removed from their programming guides by executive order of Glenn Beck. ;-)

    And you may say 8 Million isn't a lot but that's 3 million more than they were willing to settle for with the Jay Leno Show, 5 nights a week until the affiliates started screaming their heads off.

  4. I was upset the fringe channel (MSNBC2-356 on DirecTV) was lo-def. I would have been perfectly happy with the hockey games being on MSNBC1-355 in HD. They do it for Women's curling-yum yum. Why not Hockey?

    More importantly, since when did that douchebag Jeremy Roenick become an analyst? He makes Pierre Mcguire look like a genius.

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  6. I have to say I disagree on the hockey thing. What is NBC saying to all the hockey fans out there they expect to watch Sunday's Game of the Week when they put the marquee matchup thus far on their backup channel, not in HD? To me it says a big eff you to Gary Bettman and the fans.

  7. Agree the combination of Roenick and Milbury is just uncomfortable to watch. What's funny is they did the trumped up Crosby vs Ovechkin debate (who cares its the Olympics) twice last week. The first time Milbury took Crosby and JR took Ovi, then they did it again on Sunday and they switched positions.

  8. I, too, miss comments like 'NBC's Football Night in America remains a goat-sodomizing mess.'
    So just two quick points there: 1) Keith Olbermann needs not be on that cluster-goat of a show, and 2) Said Keith Olbermann is the reason I felt uncomfortable watching the game on MSNBC. It just 'don't feel right,' like giving to a 'Save the Whales' fund that is based in Saudi Arabia. It just ain't right...

  9. I can't remember the specific game, but viewers definitely missed at least one goal due to commercials. Even IndyCar races can afford to go side-by-side, and there's probably a dozen people watching those.

  10. The most anticiapted hockey game of the qualifying round not being on NBC was a disgrace. And it would have made sense for NBC to air USA-Canada hockey since NBC is the national network for the NHL, especially when the playoffs roll around. Why not promote the highest level of hockey when it's available? Oh, because hockey fans are loyal enough that they'll seek out the game and put up with standard def on MSNBC. Then NBC can roll in for the Stanley Cup Playoffs and pretend they love hockey.

  11. I haven't watched the Olympics. Every time I turn it on, there's either a commercial or an interview. I have 500 or so channels to choose from on FIOS, so I instantly switch to something else and forget I ever tried to watch the Olympics. I did watch some of the USA/Canada hockey game because I caught it during an actual sporting event, but that's it.