National News

February 10, 2014

Olympic Viewing: Who’s reading lips?

Highlights from coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics:

LOOKING AT ASHLEY: One of the most scrutinized Olympic moments over the weekend had more to do with lip-reading than athletic competition. TiVo said that the one moment people rewound their DVRs to watch more than any other on Saturday night was when unhappy American skater Ashley Wagner looked at the scoreboard to find her scores after skating to Pink Floyd. She wasn’t pleased. Her one-word response looked about as sour as her expression. Facebook also said Sunday that Wagner was one of the most talked-about subjects on the popular social media site over the weekend. Facebook’s most discussed topic, however, was the moguls performance of Canadian sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, who took gold and silver.

RATINGS: An estimated 25.1 million people watched NBC’s prime-time Olympics coverage on Saturday night. That’s the biggest Saturday night audience in February for a broadcast network since the Vancouver Winter Games of 2010. The audience is down from the 26.2 million people who watched the comparable Saturday night coverage four years ago. The first Saturday in Turin eight years ago, when the time difference also prevented live prime-time events, was 23.2 million.

MOMS: Seeing American gold medal slopestyle winner Jamie Anderson in a commercial right after she is shown clinching the medal feels cheap, like hearing a song being used as an advertising jingle while it’s still at the top of the charts. No doubt NBC was paid handsomely for the spot, but it doesn’t do the network any favors, either. Instead, it reminds viewers they are seeing a canned TV show instead of a sporting event. When it’s considered a weakness that the time zone difference doesn’t allow for any live competition in prime-time, hard to understand why you would want to underline the point.

FEATHER DOWN: Yes, the strength and athletic skill required of Olympic-caliber ice dancers is undeniable. But it’s that much harder to take seriously as a sports event when two Russian skaters have a point deducted from their performance because a feather from the woman’s costume fluttered to the ice. It seemed unremarkable to NBC analyst Johnny Weir, who just came from that world, but kudos to Terry Gannon for not letting the inherent ridiculousness of the moment slip past.

BIG BEN: As if it wasn’t scary enough, the NBC Sports Network graphic that compared the height of the ski jump with Big Ben and the length competitors are airborne with a football field effectively illustrated the sheer nuttiness — oops, we mean bravery — of the athletes who participate in this sport.

CONGRATS: American female medal winners stick together. Gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, silver medal-winning skier Julia Mancuso and silver medal-winning snowboarder Hannah Teter all tweeted congratulations to Anderson for winning gold. Tweeted Teter: “You are a boss!!”

ICE BOX: It might take NBC’s Mary Carillo until May to thaw out from her visit to Siberia for a travelogue. Enjoyable for viewers, though maybe not for her, since she stood out on a snow-covered tundra when it was 43 degrees below zero. The report did feel a little airbrushed, however. For generations the idea of being “sent to Siberia” was fearsome and deadly enough to cause shudders halfway across the world, and that history deserved some examination.

TWEET OF THE NIGHT: “The NBC Olympic coverage of Siberia looks more like Chicago than I feel comfortable with.”

GOLD ZONE: The “Gold Zone” is rapidly becoming the most popular element of NBC’s digital package. Modeled after the “Red Zone” NFL show that distills big moments in football games as they happen, the “Gold Zone” rapidly whips fans from venue to venue during the day for live competition.

CROSS COUNTRY: The competitors lost their breath, and Chad Salmela nearly lost his voice analyzing the long-distance cross country skiing race. Give him credit, though, for bringing excitement to an event that was — to most people outside northern Europe — a bunch of unpronounceable names darting through the woods.

UPCOMING: Competing in the super combined, American Mancuso attempts to win her fourth Olympic medal on Monday.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Remembering an officer slain after bombs went off

    Like many other youngsters, Sean Collier wanted to be a police officer. Unlike most, he brought that dream to life — and then died doing it, becoming a central character in one of the most gripping manhunts the nation has ever seen.

    April 18, 2014

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87

    Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez crafted intoxicating fiction from the fatalism, fantasy, cruelty and heroics of the world that set his mind churning as a child growing up on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

    April 18, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

    Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business.

    April 17, 2014

  • Armed robber was never told to report to prison

    After he was convicted of armed robbery in 2000, Cornealious Anderson was sentenced to 13 years behind bars and told to await instructions on when and where to report to prison. But those instructions never came.

    April 17, 2014

  • Hot models at this year’s New York Auto Show

    With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the U.S. auto industry. Here are some of the vehicles debuting this year. The show opens to the public Friday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Study: Diabetic heart attacks and strokes falling

    In the midst of the diabetes epidemic, a glimmer of good news: Heart attacks, strokes and other complications from the disease are plummeting.

    April 17, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Thursday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:

    April 17, 2014

  • Players protest rehiring of fired Minnesota coach

    The University of Minnesota-Mankato football team Wednesday boycotted the fired head coach who won his job back in an arbitrator's ruling last week, nearly two years after fighting accusations of child pornography and other misconduct.

    April 16, 2014

  • A year after background check defeat, modest goals

    Democratic worries about this November’s elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Barack Obama’s effort to pass new curbs on firearms.

    April 16, 2014

AP Video