It’s not like NBC is getting everything wrong. Their “parent cams” are a thing of beauty. But the network has been criticized for acting as though their tape-delayed broadcasts are happening in real time and occasionally spoiling the results with their own commercials.
Here are five ways the network has flubbed their Olympics coverage.
Pay to play
The US is five to eight hours behind London (based on where you live), so NBC is delaying its airing of popular events such as gymnastics and swimming until primetime. While not everyone can take a break in the middle of the workday (especially without costing U.S. companies a billion dollars) to watch the events, many viewers would prefer to see Michael Phelps race Ryan Lochte in real time.
NBC does have a livestream where you can watch volleyball and discus throwing to your heart’s content — provided you have a cable or satellite subscription.
Silence the critics
It’s not as if it’s a secret that NBC is putting out some of its Olympic content well after the fact, but that doesn’t mean the network wants that broadcast all over Twitter.
Case in point: UK journalist Guy Adams had his account suspended after NBC lodged a complaint to the social media company. Twitter has a partnership with the TV network and alerted them to Adams’s tweets, which blasted NBC for not airing the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics live. Both companies quickly apologized and Adams was back to tweeting a few days later.
There’s no doubt the Olympics inspire patriotism, and viewers love to see their countries rack up the medals, but NBC has been accused of focusing too much on the U.S. Not only did they cut out a tribute to the 52 victims of the 2005 London bombing in favor of a Ryan Seacrest/Michael Phelps interview, but the U.S. dominates the conversation, even in the sports they’re not winning.
According to Deadspin, during NBC’s primetime coverage on Wednesday, August 1, John Orozco was mentioned 20 times, while Kohei Uchimura was only mentioned 15. Orozco placed eighth, and Uchimura won the all-around gold medal for men’s gymnastics.
Fair and balance beams
Evidently, NBC’s producers feel that American viewers care more about watching the U.S. womens’ gymnastic team warm up than they do about Ksenia Afanasyeva’s heartbreaking misstep.
The Russian gymnast fell during her floor routine, but NBC edited it out of their broadcast in favor of showing Aly Raisman taking a tumble during her warm-up (doing a move which she later edited out of her routine). While somehave accused NBC of trying to manufacture suspense, the New York Times points out that, if nothing else, the network simply missed out on airing a dramatic, emotional moment.
Because NBC has so much time to edit its footage (what with the time delay and all), some viewers were offended when Bob Costas’s commentary about gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas was followed by a promo for the network’s new show Animal Practice. The spot featured the show’s monkey, Crystal, competing on the Olympic rings. Directly before, Costas had said, “Much of America has fallen in love with Gabby Douglas. Also safe to say that there are some young African American girls out there who tonight are saying to themselves, `Hey, I'd like to try that, too.’”
Monkeys have been used as derogatory slurs for African Americans, but NBC released a statement saying, “[N]o offense was intended.”