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Highlights from NBC's Olympic coverage

Posted: Tuesday August 24, 2004 12:49AM; Updated: Saturday August 28, 2004 3:51AM
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(AP) -- A look at NBC's coverage of the Summer Olympics from Athens:

RATINGS: At least there's consistency. NBC's prime-time Olympic telecast on Sunday had an average audience of 26 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research. A week before, 25.7 million people saw the Sunday night telecast, and the exact same number watched Sydney's coverage during the comparable Sunday four years earlier. Nielsen says more people tuned in to the Olympics on all of the NBC-affiliated networks Sunday than on any other day.

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HIGHLIGHT: The sweet moment when Sweden's Stefan Holm won the high jump medal and sprinted over to the stands to hug his father.

LOWLIGHT: NBC's cameras immediately leaving Holm for an interview with the American silver medalist, Matt Hemingway.

SHOWBOATING: Track announcers Tom Hammond and Lewis Johnson rightly noted the showboat antics of American sprinters Shawn Crawford and Justin Gatlin in a men's 100-meter semifinal. Then they belabored the point. Hammond haughtily called for "a little dignity, please." If it was truly that important, then why was it ignored in the aftermath of Gatlin's gold medal?

QUOTE: "If Maurice Greene believes he is the greatest of all time, then he has to win this gold medal." -- Lewis Johnson, before Greene won the bronze in the men's 100-meter sprint.

HAMM ON GRILL: NBC's Andrea Joyce didn't duck the judging controversy, asking gold medal gymnast Paul Hamm four questions about it during an interview.

OH, SVETLANA: NBC has relentlessly made Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina a villain in these games, not without her help. Al Trautwig offered little sympathy when Khorkina's mistake on the uneven parallel bars took her out of the medal picture in an event she once dominated: "She messed up a skill that was named after her?" he asked. She may be bossy, she may be too full of herself, but it was hard not to be moved by the heartbreak on her face.

HOW ABOUT A CHANGEUP?: NBC has a certain formula for its prime-time broadcasts: plenty of gymnastics, water sports, track & field and Misty May whenever she's in the beach volleyball sand. Hard to argue with the ratings. Right about now, though, is when it all starts to feel the same. Changing the pattern, being spontaneous, might help. Isn't one boxing match good enough for prime-time? How about a badminton or table tennis match? The great variety of the Olympics is not reflected enough at night.

WHEN TO WATCH TUESDAY (TIMES PDT, SUBJECT TO CHANGE): NBC (12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.), track & field, diving, beach volleyball; NBC (8 p.m. to midnight), decathlon, women's 400 meter sprint, women's pole vault, beach volleyball and men's diving finals and gymnastics "Champions Gala"; NBC (12:35 a.m. to 2 a.m.), women's volleyball, track & field, weightlifting; MSNBC (11 p.m. Monday to 4 a.m. Tuesday), canoeing, Greco-Roman wrestling; Bravo (5 a.m. to 10 a.m.), baseball, women's volleyball, men's handball; USA (4 a.m. to 8 a.m.), equestrian; MSNBC (7 a.m. to 1 p.m.), men's soccer, women's water polo, cycling; Bravo (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.), synchronized swimming, equestrian; CNBC (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.), boxing quarterfinals; Telemundo (10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., 1:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.), soccer, boxing, baseball.

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

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