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NBC Stops Pretending; CTV Doesn’t Have to Pretend

English: Photo of Ryan Lochte during 2008 Olym...

Ryan Lochte: A former WNYer

The Top 10 things I thought about the first weekend of the London Olympics:

1) Give NBC News credit. It isn’t trying to pretend it is carrying events live in prime time. Of course, in this social media world it would look pretty silly if it tried.

On Saturday night, Brian Williams led the “Nightly News” with the information that Ryan Lochte had defeated Michael Phelps decisively in the 400 individual medley and won the gold medal because Williams knew everyone already was talking about it. But NBC just showed still pictures instead of the video of Lochte’s win and Phelps failing to medal at all. Bad call. I would suspect the Nightly News and the Olympics might have two different audiences and there would be no harm to prime time if it showed a few seconds of a race that ran for more than four minutes.

To his credit on Saturday night, Olympic host Bob Costas told the audience that NBC won’t be showing anything live in prime time because of the five hour time difference between London and the Eastern time zone in the States. NBC’s prime time coverage starts at 1 a.m. London time, when even TV can’t ask for events to be live. Costas added the prime time coverage will be carried as it happened, which I think NBC used to refer to as plausibly live or some other nonsense.

2) Buffalo is embracing the London Games at almost its usual pace to the surprise of those who thought interest around here might have declined. The opening ceremonies had a higher a rating on Channel 2 (20.9) than the Beijing Games did four years ago. Saturday’s coverage was down about 6 percent from Beijing with a 15.3 rating on Channel 2. That wasn’t much of a decline when you consider all the extra hours NBC is carrying and the fact that NBC is streaming everything live. Sunday’s local rating recovered to a 17.7, which was down about 15 percent from the 20.9 for Beijing. Nationally, Sunday’s coverage had a 21.7 overnight rating, which was higher than the first Sunday in Beijing.  

3)  Maybe I wasn’t paying attention, but I didn’t realize Ryan Lochte was a Western New York native until he popped up in a commercial talking about growing up in Upstate New York. His bio notes that he was born in Canandaigua, a suburb of Rochester, but adds that he left for Florida with his family at an early age of about 5 or 6. Considering that, it was nice of him to give WNY a shout out. Since Buffalo makes just about anyone with a WNY connection its own, I’m surprised all the local stories don’t mention he is a WNY native.

4) Andrea Kremer did a good job interviewing Phelps after his Saturday loss. He seemed to be a loss for words, though he also seemed to blame his coach’s strategy in the race. Costas very kindly said that Phelps didn’t know how to react to an unfamiliar situation.

5) As expected, Ryan Seacrest is very comfortable doing interviews and also reporting on what is being said on the social networks about the Games. It wouldn’t be surprising if he took over for Costas as host in 2016 or was his co-host. CTV also has a segment on the social media’s reaction. I suppose it has a place, but if I wanted to know what the social media was saying then I’d go on Facebook or Twitter more often to find out.

6) Channel 2 sure is running its award-winning, uplifting “Better Days” about the City of Buffalo promo enough. It makes you wonder if it had any problems selling Olympic commercials. It also has premiered a promo about its investigative reporters which ends with the tag line “Get Ready.”

7) I confess I’ve been enjoying CTV’s live coverage in the afternoon, particularly the Lochte-Phelps battle Saturday. It enables me to go to bed at a reasonable time. I wish the Buffalo News would carry CTV’s live coverage plans and not just the plans of all of NBC’s networks.

8) Give CTV’s Brian Williams credit Friday  for accurately predicting the Parade of Nations in the opening ceremony would run long. Boy did it ever. Someone should have made director Danny Boyle hire an editor to trim the opening. It had numerous highlights and sensational moments, but was all over the place. I can’t say I’m blaming NBC for editing out a portion of the opening as much as some of its critics. I wish it had cut out more of the opening. I enjoyed the humor provided in the opening ceremonies by James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson), but the Mr. Bean bit went on way too long.

9) The award for candor goes to American breaststroker Brendan Hansen, who after winning a bronze medal Sunday said: “Honestly, I’m really proud of myself.”

10) NBC’s Al Trautwig should be proud of himself. He does a terrific job on gymnastics. After American Jordyn Wieber was eliminated Sunday from the 24 women qualifying for the all-around — even though she was fourth or fifth among all competitors — because of a silly rule that states  only two gymnasts from the same country can make the finals, Trautwig said she immediately “is one of the most sympathetic figures in these Games.”




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10 responses to "NBC Stops Pretending; CTV Doesn’t Have to Pretend"

  1. Tina says:

    I can handle the Channel 2 promos because it comes with a nice little tune. On the other hand, is there anything we can do to get rid of the annoying Fucillo commercials that run every 30 seconds?

    Jordyn Wieber got robbed. Her scores certainly didn’t reflect how well she really did.
    I am really loving Ryan Seacrest though and wonder if Matt Lauer can feel him creeping up behind him trying to take his job. It certainly seems like they are grooming him for something at NBC.

    • alanp says:

      Matt has nothing to worry about. Just signed a huge deal.

      • Tina says:

        I believe Ann Curry signed a contract as well and look at where she is. Some of the criticism over that whole fiasco was that it wasn’t Ann who was the problem but is really Matt Lauer as far as ratings are concerned. I don’t get it because I think he does a good job and is likable. Maybe they just need a scapegoat.

        • alanp says:

          I’m told Ann’s previous contract would have given her millions if she hadn’t been given a shot at “Today” host job. NBC now realizes that it would have better off it had paid the penalty. She was the problem. She’s a nice person but makes interview subjects feel uncomfortable. Matt is terrific.

  2. Mark Scott says:

    I wish Channel 2′s sportscasts would give us the results. At 6:00pm Saturday, Ch. 2 promoted the Lochte- Phelps event as being part of NBC’s prime-time coverage but did not give the result. C’mon, you’re a news show, not a promotional vehicle! Channel 2 did say results were available online. Well, I’m watching TV. If the network is providing results on its newscasts, Channel 2 should do the same!

  3. Jeff says:

    AP: We agree… It would be nice if all media recognizes that a good portion of the USA can easily receive signals from Canada. Directv has no channel data, the Buffalo News ignores it too. Local TV news never has anything about our neighbors. Maybe ch4 noon news could start a Canada segment? They can run it instead of the last 15 minute of filler they call “noon news”.

  4. Tom W. says:

    Last night during the 12am news, Patrick Moussignac announced his goodbye to Buffalo. Apparently he is going back to Connecticut to work there.

    • Tina says:

      One story is he decided to leave on his own. This may be true but he really wasn’t improving at all and I could always count on him messing up a story some way some how. Maybe it was a mutual decision.

  5. Donald says:

    The Channel 2 promotions made me laugh “get ready!” Get ready for what? Those reporters never do “investigations” anyways except for maybe Heaney who isn’t even a television reporter. I like Channel 2 but that seems like a joke and a stunt. What do you think AP?

    • alanp says:

      I agree. I do think Heaney has quickly adapted to TV from print. The promos remind me a little of Channel 7′s old ones for its troubleshooter.

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