February 16, 2006

More Falls And Skating Scrapes For NBC's Olympics: On Tuesday, "Idol" skated off with a crushing 11.4 rating/29 share to NBC's out-of-the-running 5.6 rating/14 share among adult 18-49 viewers. Even Fox's next show, "House," bested the Olympics with a 7.7/14. Worse still, NBC aired two of its most popular events--ice skating and downhill skiing....Younger viewers prefer, and are more loyal to, their TV shows.

posted by justgary to other at 04:15 PM - 30 comments

Ouch. I can see losing out to American Idol, but the other shows? Ouch. I wonder how their cable rating are. Anybody know?

posted by NoMich at 04:20 PM on February 16

And it's not only losing, but losing huge. With this kind of beating, is there any reason for the big 4 to keep showing the olympics?

posted by justgary at 04:24 PM on February 16

nbc coverage is so broken up,with no continuity,it is boring,the best so far is curling and that is daytime.The first night the first hour was a wasteof time and then they run it to midnight. If I were a sponsor I would want a hefty rate reduction from N B C for lousy programming

posted by arturo at 04:26 PM on February 16

Yes, I have to agree about the coverage. They are certainly making it difficult to watch. Instead of showing a whole event, they jump around constantly to several different events. There is a time delay, why not show the whole event at once?

posted by bperk at 04:44 PM on February 16

Maybe they'd do better if they actually showed these events live in the afternoon. I would imagine that figure skating would do well against Days of Our Lives or whatever the hell they show on TV at that hour. Then again, the audience is smaller anyway.

posted by mkn at 04:54 PM on February 16

1. All the mainstream storylines NBC was banking on (Michelle Kwan, Bode Miller, Apolo Ohno) have fallen seriously flat, and there's been nothing to fill in the gap. (Johnny Weir can't queen it up enough to make up the difference. Sorry, pal.) 2. NBC has done a horrible job of promoting the Olympics up until about two weeks before, and how many homes have MSNBC and USA anyway? 3. Half the country doesn't even have winter anymore. Thank you, global warming. 4. The best storylines are from other countries, which NBC seems to believe don't really exist. And... 5. American Idol is the #1 show on American TV. No program does well compared to Paula Abdul, whassisface, whassisface and that other guy. The comparison is bogus.

posted by chicobangs at 05:00 PM on February 16

I know in our house whenever American Idol is on our Tv is tuned in to it. when you can check the results on the internet or watch it during the day, the nighttime nbc coverage isn't that compelling. it doesn't help having a wife that doesn't know the difference between a bobsled or a luge. and thank goodness she hasn't been turned on to figure skating.

posted by erkno11 at 05:05 PM on February 16

Did somebody say the Olympics were on right now??? Seriously, who gets excited about the Olympics anymore? It was different when only amateurs were allowed in, and there was the whole East vs. West thing. Nobody I know cares about the Olympics anymore. They're more interested in the NCAA's & Spring Training.

posted by wildwoodbike at 05:36 PM on February 16

Johnny Weir can't queen it up enough to make up the difference. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say, "Then no one can." While the time difference is a much bigger problem for networks nowadays, I think the Olympics, and especially the Winter Olympics, are in desperate need of a reboot.

posted by yerfatma at 05:37 PM on February 16

I think the Olympics, and especially the Winter Olympics, are in desperate need of a reboot. I think they're fine and the people I know think they're fine. Maybe it's American perception that needs a reboot.

posted by mkn at 05:43 PM on February 16

Very inconsistent coverage for sure. All week every time I got interested in an event ski-jumping, luge, speed-skating, ect. they put as hour of figure skating in between. It was just too painful watch. Just now on the evening news, NBC gave the results of the events planned for this evening, no use watching now. The other night, I found myself watching just to see witch gate Bode missed. Programing in the day I could have watched or tivo in realtime. It also seems there is too much "human interest fluff "and background on the athletes for me. I don't care if their pop died because he was a door gunner on a soviet sub. Look like cable for sure 2010.

posted by kosmicdebris at 06:01 PM on February 16

the WINTER olympics suck the SUMMER olmpics are actually interesting to watch i dont know why all that white just gets boring i guess

posted by humans1 at 06:36 PM on February 16

This is not a good thing. This is not funny.

posted by Joe88 at 06:52 PM on February 16

let's face it..since ABC stopped televising the Olympics, the coverage has gone downhill faster than the skiers.

posted by samtana at 01:11 AM on February 17

Dear NBC, Cut the soft-focus crap. Show complete events. Let fans of a particular event tune in at a specific time to watch it. There's nothing more infuriating than missing an event you want to see because it's either passed over (no Americans, probably) or squeezed between lumps of figure skating or X-Games nonsense. You can show things live, then repeat them in primetime: they will get different audiences, and possibly repeat viewers if you throw in analysis and interviews. Just take the raw feeds and show them overnight on CNBC or USA, in lieu of infomercials. It's not difficult. This is what the BBC does. The BBC has live coverage on three of its interactive digital channels. It's getting an average audience of 3.1m, which isn't bad when it includes people watching luge heats in mid-morning. What are you doing well? The ice hockey and the curling. Because you don't have the chance to screw them up. You cover them as sports, not some kind of reality game-show. Oh, and it's 'Turin'. Thanks.

posted by etagloh at 01:54 AM on February 17

etagloh's right. You know, I remember four years ago. NBC had the Olympics then as well, and they basically threw the entire curling tournament on CNBC and left it alone, and it was an absolute hit. Now, like the American women's curling team, they're just heaving shit around with no real plan. Chevrier & Duguid have stopped trying to announce which channel they're currently broadcasting on or whether they're live or not, because they can't keep it straight either. And curling's got it better than most of the sports. NBC has run a clinic in how to treat the Olympics like a dog's breakfast. I don't know who's got it next, but if I was the IOC, I would write better language into the TV contract to avoid this kind of don't-waste-my-time programming in the future.

posted by chicobangs at 07:37 AM on February 17

OK - everybody must find a way to watch the women's snowboard snowcross final (just shown on CBC about 20 minutes ago, live as far as I could tell). A classic Thrill of Victory, Agony of Defeat moment. If it ever gets to youtube I have to find that because I'd like to watch it again. And maybe again. NBC will have to show it since there is an American athlete in the mix.

posted by gspm at 08:07 AM on February 17

NBC has to shoulder the blame, and I hope the advertisers, the IOC and the USOC roast their asses for screwing up the coverage so badly. etaglioh has a great point...much like serious news, the BBC is putting a serious whuppin' on NBC. Their programming has more continuity and less homerism, and is much easier to watch. Screw NBC, they're about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 08:08 AM on February 17

The thing that really gets on my nerves is they'll say "...coming up after this." Then 40 minutes, 20 commercials, and 4 interviews later they actually get back to the event. I agree that on tape delay there is no reason to mix up the events the way they do. Perhaps they think you'll tune in to see the downhill and if they show you enough figure skating you will eventually like it.

posted by njsk8r20 at 08:12 AM on February 17

Another thing: NBC's primetime lineup is laid out before the damn events take place. The Beeb? Has a highlights package based upon what happens during the day. Now, it helps that the Brits don't have many locals to cheer on for medals, because you don't have to fit that ten-minute soft-focus pre-event package into the broadcast. But dear me, it's not hard to do this properly. It takes an unrighteous effort to screw up this badly. The people who care about the day's marquee events? Well, they've probably seen the results by the time they're slapped up in primetime. And get frustrated when the coverage is dragged out like a prisoner on the rack. It's driven by primetime ad-rates, isn't it? Well, that's arse. Stick it on live, you get people watching for longer periods, they see more ads.

posted by etagloh at 08:34 AM on February 17

Honestly, I think the problem is that the Games are in another time zone and people have difficulty watching something they can find the outcome of online. The broadcasters are faced with a real uphill battle. I haven't really been that upset with NBC coverage, but I watch more CBC - and they know how to do the Olympics. Very impressive.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:35 AM on February 17

Just for example, last night I wanted to watch the new snowboarding event. However, every time I put it on NBC, all they were showing is men's figure skating. I never got to see it. If the schedule said, tune in at 9:30 for snowboarding, then I would have been able to see it. But, I don't like every event. So for people like me, we end up missing what we want to see to avoid watching all the other stuff.

posted by bperk at 09:05 AM on February 17

But Weedy, the Olympics are always in another time zone. Nagano was in a way more unwieldy time zone than Torino, and that one was a piece of cake to follow compared to this. And even though the next one is in Vancouver, if they cover it like this, it still won't matter.

posted by chicobangs at 09:07 AM on February 17

My understanding has been that when the games (Summer or Winter) are in North America, the ratings improve substantially. I just stated it, poorly.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:10 AM on February 17

The delay definitely stinks. I've ruined the primetime coverage just about everyday because part of my routine is checking out espn(as is I'm sure the case with most of you also). THe snowboard cross finish last night was awesome. They should expand on the snowboarding to include that big trick event that sean white won at the xgames, and also open the half pipe to skiers, as well as letting the skiers compete in a big trick competition. The games at the winter olympics aren't reaching younger viewers, they need to think about expanding on what is working and what younger viewers want to see. Oh, and not showing what happened when the two snowboard crossers ran into each other in the semifinals but instead following the leader uncontested to the bottom of the mountain was ridiculous. Great camera work NBC, you missed the second best moment of the night....

posted by RyanJSchultz1 at 09:21 AM on February 17

All morning here, during the time of day when everything is actually going on, the only event being shown is the US/Russia curling match. Nothing about snowboarding, or hockey, or even any mention of the other three matches going on concurrently in that arena. They just don't exist. That's it. A curling match. No updates on other sports, no "this is also happening," no word from Bill Macatee or whoever back in the booth, no sense that this one match is part of anything bigger like an Olympic Games.

posted by chicobangs at 09:43 AM on February 17

I actually watched some curling last night. Those Johnson girls on USA are a couple of cuties. I am still having a hard time figuring out the rules. At first I thought it was shuffleboard on ice.

posted by njsk8r20 at 10:08 AM on February 17

Yeah. I wish they were better. The third, Jamie Johnson, is having an awful tournament.

posted by chicobangs at 11:40 AM on February 17

The little I've tried to watch has suggested you have to dig around all the channels to find stuff. I think we have stuff on: NBC, USA, CNBC, some HD channel that popped up out of nowhere and maybe one other. So just keep all that straight and you'll be fine.

posted by yerfatma at 11:51 AM on February 17

I just wanted to add to this thread and say that the live coverage of the biathlon relay on USA (6am start) is fantastic. It's a sign that, given the chance, NBC could deliver the Olympics that so many viewers want, but the advertisers and executives have suffocated the presentation. Of course, I'd like to tell this to someone at NBC, but I'm buggered if I can find a feedback form on the site...

posted by etagloh at 06:13 AM on February 21

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