NBC Edits Olympic Broadcast to Create Drama for U.S.

You know, it's easy to forgive NBC for a lot of the mistakes it's been making during its coverage of the 2012 London Olympics. Some of their programming decisions, as annoying as they may be, are probably the best choices for the network, business-wise. That doesn't make it convenient for American viewers, but at least there's a rationale there that seems somewhat forgivable.

But this is just silly.

According to Deadline, NBC edited some of Tuesday night's broadcast to make the U.S. competition more dramatic, and to build suspense for the women's gymnastics' team medal competition. Already a little outraged? Well, here's what they did:

Those who watched the competition for the medal live on Tuesday got to see Russia's Ksenia Afanasyeva fall flat on her face during her floor exercises. As the Russians were the U.S.'s biggest competition for the medal, that took away a lot of the pressure for the American team, who would go on to win the gold.

But when the floor exercises were aired again on Tuesday night, Afanasyeva's fall was edited out, to make it seem just a little less likely that the U.S. would triumph. As Deadline put it, this decision "is unthinkable since [Afanasyeva]'s the reigning world champion for floor exercises. Her mistake devastated her Russian teammates, who were visibly shocked and upset to everyone but NBC viewers... NBC also avoided showing the standings. This is a manipulative and insulting way to cover an sporting events."

This isn't the only controversy NBC has dealt with for it's coverage of the Olympics. There's the big gaffe, which was cutting away from the Opening Ceremonys' tribute to the 7/7 victims to show an interview with Ryan Seacrest and Michael Phelps. Then there was the fact that it spoiled Missy Franklin's gold medal win before it aired the delayed competition. NBC certainly needed some good press, and it's not getting any.

What do you think? Is this latest move defensible, or does NBC deserve to fall on its face, too?

- The 2012 Summer Olympics

Written by: mcpherson
Aug 2nd, 2012, 9:12 am


Level 1
Since: 05/Apr/12
Message Posted On Aug 2nd, 2012, 5:20 pm
Yes, NBC deserves the criticism, and have demonstrated clearly why they are usually at the bottom in the war of broadcast networks. However, the thinking also highlights a general flaw in how the American television industry still sees the world. The idea that you can divide the world into markets and delay releases of shows is one they are holding onto tightly. They back laws inhibiting freedom on the internet in the hopes of keeping that same system. It is an international world. Why not embrace and work with that idea instead of trying to keep these outdated methods in place? If anything, the NBC nonsense has shown how ridiculous the current model of distribution is.
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