Secure your sequins and squeeze into those spandex, ice skating is in season. Through 14 days of Olympic Coverage there’s been naught but a single night where audiences weren’t subjected to ice skating in some form—the Opening Ceremony. Apparently by “coverage” of the Olympic Games, NBC meant a spotlight on skating in all its forms.
Despite a limited love for the sport, admittedly accredited to an inability to see past the pageantry nor distinguish between a salchow and axel jump, through this past weekend I had set a personal record in viewership—that is until Ice Dancing dominated Monday’s lineup and I was finally forced to put the games on ice.
My personal preference aside, the chorus of complaints from viewers has continued (and climbed) through the weeks. The USA-plus plan for coverage, using downtime in skating to show snippets of other events (often on delay from earlier in the day) leaves something to be desired—like seeing other countries compete in any of the events. Those on the West Coast are riddled with ridiculous three-hour lag times, despite having clocks tuned to the same time-zone as Vancouver and real-time access to results. Ignoring mass-interest in another episode on ice, US versus Canada in hockey, NBC excommunicated the event to cable’s MSNBC, a news network; 8.22 million fans followed (again, a near record in ratings), but we’re left to guess what the game would have drawn if offered en masse on basic cable.
Not long ago much was made of NBC’s creative use of ratings to endorse Leno’s return to the late night lineup, a policy they’re playfully pulling back out of their PR pocket . While its true viewership has vaulted past Turin—my attention isn’t for entertainment, it’s for endurance.
NBC is surviving on the success of America’s record run of medals and increased interest in more extreme events, while falsely assigning credit to their own “premier programming.” If the path to seeing Shaun White grab gold leads through tassels and toe loop jumps, then so be it—but my attention and affinity for the network is on thin ice.
Here’s to uncovering a universally understood maxim heavy hitters, the pleasure of a few work-free days!