Sunday, July 29, 2012

NBC massacres the Olympics Opening Ceremony

So what did I think of the Olympics Opening Ceremony? Well, I have to tell you that by the time we USA viewers were actually allowed to see anything without illegally circumventing the Internet (or something), I was fit to be tied.

Oh yes, so that the NBC network could milk its advertisers for every last cent, we had to wait till "prime time" to see anything. That was 7.30pm on the east coast and 6.30pm Central time, which is where I am.  (6 hours behind London.) The west coast didn't get it for two hours after I started watching. Meanwhile, on the NBC news, we had every bloody journalist on the payroll "live from London" telling us what they absolutely could NOT talk about, and reminding us that we had several hours to wait. Grrr....

Then - Piers Morgan (in London) took to Twitter and, despite his Translaticness knowing that American Tweeps couldn't yet watch the proceedings, tweeted the big surprise about who would be lighting the torch! If there was a twit and a wazzock of the 2012 Olympics, it wasn't Mitt Romney as the newspapers claimed, it was feckin' stupid Piers Morgan. Unbelievable.

So, when we finally started on the US version of the Opening Ceremony, we first had to sit through a few dozen montages about various Olympic team athletes. Now, we'd been sitting waiting for several hours to see anything "live"; couldn't they have given us the meaningless background stories (about school nicknames and domestic pets, no less) during the run-up? I mean really?

And then there was the constant, inane, superfluous and often clueless chatter from various NBC celebrity commentators like Bob Costas, Meredith Viera and Matt Lauer. This person ranted about it in a very succinct way, so I'll just guide you over there in case I self-combust. Let's just say, it wasn't great commentary.

Oh and we had to cut away for commercials every five minutes, but there was a funny angle to this. Bearing in mind that the entire thing was pre-recorded, our commentators kept saying "While you were away..." then telling us what we'd missed; as if, a) we had gone to make a cup of tea when really, we'd been sitting still, waiting patiently for the ceremony to return, and b) it was not a pre-recorded event and they couldn't have shown us anything they wanted to.

Give me strength. (And I'm not even mentioning the fact that they skipped entirely, any references to the tribute to 7/7 victims. God no; not in an election year. Hadn't Mitt Romney served up enough controversy?)

So yes, the Opening Ceremony was fantastic, put a lump in my throat etc, but I have to be honest, I was effing and blinding slightly distracted by the crap coverage on this side of the Pond.


  1. I've been looking forward to this Olympics since it was awarded to London, couldn't wait for the Opening Ceremony.

    The New York Times was live-blogging the ceremony, and loving it. I was reading as it happened and was very excitedly looking forward to being able to finally see it a few hours later.

    Oh, was I disappointed. Even if I muted the commentary, the editing and cuts for commercials ...

    I'm sorry, but they butchered it. And I'm even more sorry that, in spite of all the negative comments about it, NBC is just happily counting their stats, unconcerned about the valid criticism from so many, and will likely ruin the Closing Ceremony too. I hope they won't ...

  2. I waited until we could get the BBC version. I'm so glad I did. The commentary is bad enough on NBC, but the insult of omitting the 7/7 tribute (which was also a tribute to the general struggle between life and death, so hardly 'not tailored to a U.S. audience') was just too much. What a mess.

  3. NBC is just a disaster, we are switching over to watching on the computer/ipad hooked up to the TV to get the BBC coverage. Not only are they crap at covering our events, they don't even cover their own - the US swimmer winning the world record was not shown live but saved for primetime....

  4. So it's about 4pm right now in London (10am in Chicago) and I'm sitting listening to a post mortem of the gymnastics that happened YESTERDAY. Surely there's something going on right now that we can be watching rather than listening to this drivel?

  5. It is bad isn't it?! The commentary was hideous, my friends on twitter were complaining that they had Trevor Nelson doing the BBC commentary but I was thinking god i'd give anything for BBC commentary around about now!

    I've taken to watching the sports on the NBC website which is slightly better - it's at least live that's one thing. After flicking through the TV channels this morning and noticing that only ONE of the sports was live it is getting ridiculous. It's ok watching it online but you have to link it up to your online cable provider.

    Makes you miss the BBC!

  6. Only saw a second of it in a restaurant. I hate watching the news or any presenters here, the Brit ones leave are so much more intelligent

  7. I didn't mind the editing when it got to the athletes parading in, as a bit of speeding up was good by that point! But I didn't know that there was any reference to 7/7 or that Abide with Me was sung. I was wondering what I was missing during the commercials, of which there were many, many... even more than the usual annoying total in the US.

    (We get various US dramas on DVD, and an episode that's an hour over there is 40 mins on DVD. How annoying are those commercials?! I'd have to record everything so that I could fast forward through them if I lived there.)

    I had no idea who the commmentators were, but they were pretty inane most of the time. I still enjoyed watching it though.

    I'll have to check out the BBC version now I'm back in the UK and compare them.


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