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Highlights from NBC's Olympic coverage

Posted: Saturday August 21, 2004 4:36AM; Updated: Saturday August 21, 2004 9:27AM
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NEW YORK (AP) -- A look at NBC's coverage of the summer Olympic games from Athens:

RATINGS: Carly Patterson vaulted NBC into the winner's circle, too. The network's prime-time Olympics coverage was seen by 31.7 million people Thursday, the biggest audience yet for the Athens games. The comparable night in Sydney four years ago drew only 23 million people. So far, the Athens games have drawn 17 percent more viewers than Sydney, according to Nielsen Media Research.

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HIGHLIGHT: The little things enhanced NBC's coverage of Patterson's gymnastics gold. Airing a tape of her poor routine on the uneven parallel bars from earlier this week just before Thursday's performance was shown enabled even laymen to understand how she nailed it the second time. The announcers also wisely stayed silent during her climactic floor routine, letting the suspense build naturally. And an interview with Patterson, where she fumbled for words when asked about Russian rival Svetlana Khorkina, was priceless.

LOWLIGHT: NBC did little to clear the muddled picture surrounding American gold medal swimmer Aaron Peirsol's disqualification and nondisqualification. Bob Costas said the way the ruling was explained to NBC "may have made it seem that the disqualification didn't stand because of a technicality." But there wasn't any clear evidence presented that it was anything but a technicality. If the judges or governing bodies aren't being forthcoming, say so.

QUOTE: "Svetlana Khorkina has a stare that would melt Ivan the Terrible." -- gymastics announcer Al Trautwig.

PROMO TIME: NBC's lighthearted, original promos for its new comedy "Joey" make us want to watch. But a promo for the new drama "Hawaii" gives us the creeps. A detective hears a description of a neck being chopped off and says with a smirk, "That's a homicide." With beheading a favored tactic of terrorists in Iraq, that's bad timing.

WHEN TO WATCH SATURDAY (TIMES EDT, SUBJECT TO CHANGE): NBC (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), U.S. men's basketball vs. Lithuania, U.S. men's water polo vs. Russia, U.S. men's volleyball vs. Australia; NBC (8 p.m. to midnight), four swimming gold medal races, beach volleyball elimination round and track & field; NBC (12:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.), cycling, weightlifting and track & field; CNBC (2 a.m to 6 p.m.), rowing, soccer, beach volleyball, men's basketball, weightlifting and badminton; Bravo (4 a.m. to 9 a.m.), equestrian, table tennis and men's field hockey; USA (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), women's singles and men's doubles gold medal tennis finals; MSNBC (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), boxing elimination bouts; Bravo (midnight to 1 a.m.), archery and sailing; Telemundo (10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., 1:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.), boxing, soccer.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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