Fri, September 20, 2013

Tilleyvision: NBC still hates America

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency


Maybe Bob Costas can convince his NBC bosses to give the American viewers what they want. (WENN)


Dear America: NBC still hates you.

I don’t want to keep harping on how badly NBC has been treating its viewers during these London 2012 games, but the final slap in the face for Olympics fans south of the border was Saturday’s men’s 4 x 100-metre medley, the final swimming event of these games and the final Olympics appearance, full stop, for all-time medal champion Michael Phelps.

As CTV, BBC and various other broadcasters around the world showed this historic sporting event live, what did NBC do to honour its homegrown Olympic superstar as he won his final gold medal? They showed a preliminary round water polo match between the U.S. and Serbia, choosing to tape-delay Phelps’s final swim by several hours. Even though it was Saturday, and the bulk of viewers were likely not at work.

The rage on Twitter was instantaneous, with the #NBCfail hashtag once again lighting up with hundreds of tweets. “NBC failing to show live coverage during the week is one thing, but water polo over the last Phelps race on Saturday afternoon is awful,” said one fan. “If NBC were the sole channel to report weather, you would get tornado warnings at prime time only,” fumed another. “NBC = Not Broadcasting Correctly,” said yet another.

Even entertainment critic and journalism professor Jeff Jarvis, who had been taking a few days off from bashing NBC, leapt back into the fray: “#nbcfail at serving its audience, at journalism, and at technology. A fine FU to the public they imprison (but depend upon).”

A journalist friend of mine told me the rage of a vocal Twitter minority doesn’t represent the opinion of the slack-jawed viewing public at large, and proof of this is in NBC’s slight ratings gains for London 2012 over Beijing 2008. But when you consider CTV’s latest viewership numbers show a whopping 89% increase in overall viewership versus Beijing, while NBC’s night-to-night ratings are fluctuating between single-digit gains and slight losses, I think NBC’s mistreatment of its audience is indeed causing some Americans to tune out. But hey, at least all those prime time commercials are paying the bills.

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Regular Olympics-watchers know that records in many sports – particularly athletics and aquatics – tend to be short-lived. As advances are made in training, equipment and even timekeeping, the best get even better.

So how much faster have swimmers become over the decades? A slick animated graph produced by the New York Times compares American swimmer Nathan Adrian’s 47.52-second gold medal time in the 100-metre freestyle to the medal-winning times in that event from every Olympics in history. Check it out here: www.bit.ly/historyswim

In addition to learning that the 100-metre swim in 1896 took place in the Mediterranean Sea with hollowed-out pumpkins as lane markers, I found this a fascinating example at how competition in one sport has increased over time. Can’t wait for the 45-second barrier to be broken. BY A CYBORG.

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As we await the Olympics’ biggest yet shortest athletics event – the men’s 100 metres – on Sunday, it’s time to pay a visit to the best sprinting video game ever made: QWOP.

You don’t know QWOP? Oh, you’re in for a treat. Players use the Q, W, O and P keys to control their on-screen runner’s thigh and calf muscles as they try to run 100 metres as quickly as possible. Sounds simple, right? Um, sure.

Give it a try at www.bit.ly/qwoprun if you want to witness what lies at the opposite end of the Olympic speed and grace spectrum. And remember, “everyone is a winner.”

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Analogy fail of the day: “It’s almost like rowing where you’re going backwards towards the finish line, but actually not quite the same.” – CTV track cycling analyst Curt Harnett explaining how attention is focused on the back of the pack during an elimination race.