Ask any U.S. citizen how they feel about NBC’s coverage of the Olympic Opening ceremonies, and you’ll likely get a snarling answer in reply. The reason is obvious. The network went to commercial every couple of minutes, the commentators talked over much of the ceremony, and to add insult to injury, the big-hearted executives decided to eschew coverage of the tribute to British terror victims in favor of Ryan Seacrest’s vacuous interview of Michael Phelps.
Really, NBC? How is an inane interview that serves no other purpose than to garner enthusiasm and viewers for a sport more important than a tribute to innocent people who lost their lives? The tribute was specifically aimed at honoring the 52 victims of the London bombings that were later determined to be a series of suicide attacks.
The singer was renown Scottish vocalist Emeli SandÃ©, who sang “Abide With Me” while interpretive dancers played out a heart wrenching scene against a smoky backdrop accentuated by a glowing orange orb and soft lights meant to symbolize the sun, fire, hell, rebirth.
It was evocative. It was gut wrenching. It was understated and dignified, and in the end, it was quietly triumphant, as a little dark-haired boy was lifted from the pile of ‘bodies’ crouched around him. He was a beacon of hope for a more peaceful future, and the whole performance was really a tribute to everyone who has died through violence. This was perhaps the most important six minutes in the entire Olympic opening ceremonies, and yet, millions of Americans didn’t see it.
But instead of airing this loving tribute, NBC instead opted to plaster Ryan Seacrest’s pretty face on national television for the sole purpose of interviewing Michael Phelps the day before his racing began. It’s just one of the many reasons the network is nicknamed the No Broadcasting Company.
What’s even worse, Bob Costas, Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera couldn’t keep their mouths closed long enough for viewers to enjoy the ceremonies in peace. Bob Costas, in particular, threw out a number of insulting comments about some of the countries during the parade of nations, and Matt Lauer became the King of Stating the Obvious when he declared that, out of the thousands of athletes present, the majority would never win a medal.
On a final note, NBC’s live streaming only to cable subscribersÂ—another slap in the face to those people who actually prefer to watch events as they happen. You can’t even purchase a subscription specifically to watch the Olympics. Instead, you have to be an existing cable subscriber, otherwise you’re out of luck. Of course, you can try IP masking programs and other ways to get around this, but it shouldn’t have to be this way.
In short, NBC, you failed, and you failed miserably.
For those who want to see this beautiful tribute, you can watch it at this link here.