Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Media Views: NBC's Olympics Coverage Will Have a Familiar Look

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Media Views: NBC's Olympics Coverage Will Have a Familiar Look

Article excerpt

Let the games begin.

Er, well, they already have. But it becomes "official" Friday night, when NBC's onslaught of Olympics coverage swings into full gear when it televises the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Games, in Brazil. And there will be plenty of familiar elements of its coverage that will inundate the sports calendar for most of August.

Building storylines for viewers to follow has become a common theme for the network, albeit more relaxed than in days gone by. And, as usual, there will be a heavy concentration on American athletes. Capping the familiarity is the presence of Bob Costas, who is back as the prime-time host for the 11th time a record.

NBC again shows the opening festivities on tape despite there only being a one-hour time difference between Rio de Janeiro, where the event is to be held, and the U.S. East Coast. That allows the network to edit and package the production, as well as to assure that it is on in prime time in all American time zones (6:30-11 p.m. locally on KSDK, Channel 5).

But the short time difference from Brazil to much of the U.S. (it's two hours ahead of St. Louis) will lead to much live prime- time coverage of the competition. NBC is set to carry 260 hours of programming and showcase the most popular events including swimming, gymnastics and track and field. Add 10 other NBC-related networks plus digital outlets (nbcolympics.com and the NBC Sports app) that will be carrying events and more than 6,700 hours of programming is scheduled.

The coverage actually already is underway, as NBCSN has been showing early stages of soccer play since Wednesday.

Here's a breakdown of where to look for individual sports:

NBCSN * The primary outlet for U.S. women's soccer, as well as Team USA men's and women's basketball. It also is set to show some track and field, archery, boxing, cycling, fencing, field hockey, judo, open water swimming, rugby, shooting, soccer, synchronized swimming, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.

GOLF CHANNEL * There's no mystery as to what sport this network will show. It has 115 hours of golf programming scheduled beginning Thursday.

BRAVO * The primary spot for tennis, beginning Saturday and running through the men's singles gold-medal match on Aug. 14, the day after it has the women's final.

CNBC * Coverage includes basketball, volleyball, archery, beach volleyball, cycling, rugby, water polo and wrestling.

MSNBC * A mix of events including basketball, beach volleyball, rugby, soccer, volleyball, and water polo.

USA NETWORK * A variety of sports including basketball, beach volleyball, cycling, rowing, synchronized swimming, volleyball and water polo.

TELEMUNDO AND NBC UNIVERSO * The Spanish version of coverage appears on these outlets, with 273 hours of coverage planned. Featured is the Mexican men's soccer team, the defending champion.

SPECIALTY CHANNELS * There will be one channel devoted to basketball and another to soccer, covering most days of the Olympics.

COSTAS CORNER

Costas is a master in the Olympics studio, as his unprecedented prime-time run dating to 1992, would suggest.

"A lot has changed over that period of time," he said at a news conference before leaving for Brazil. "Each Olympics is unique unto itself. Each presents its own stunning backdrop, its own extraordinary competition and its own set of problems and issues because that's always part of it."

This year's games have a long list of potential problems, from infrastructure to the Zika concerns to political turmoil and reports of filthy and unhealthy conditions in some venues for competition.

"We'll have our fingers crossed that none of them intrude upon the real reason we're there and the real reason why people tune in, which is to see the Simone Biles of the world, to see a veteran like Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps try to add to their Mount Rushmore status," Costas said. …

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