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NBC The Star Of Its Really Big Sochi Moments

By | Monday February 24, 2014 @ 8:05am PST

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198What with the recently wrapped Winter Olympics competition results being known well in advance of  NBC‘s various Olympics broadcasts, and the United States coming in fourth in number of gold medals scored, behind Russia (13), Norway (11), and Canada (10) (U.S. was No. 2  in overall medal count, behind Russia), many of NBC’s most buzz-worthy Sochi moments were all about — NBC. Which, presumably, is the future of broadcast network primetime Games coverage. How successful was NBC? Here’s a look at the 4 Big NBC Moments At Sochi:

Pinkeye

“I’m Bob Costas, sitting in tonight forcostas24 Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira,” Costas joked when he finally returned as NBC’s Primetime Games anchor after six days on the sick list while doctors treated his Twitter-trending double eye infection. The incident was historic, because it broke Costas’ 14-year Olympic anchoring streak and Vieira became the first woman ever to get the gig, if only temporarily.

Bode Miller’s Tears

When Olympian Bode Miller doubled over weeping as NBC peppered him with questions about his dead brother, after winning the Super-G bronze medal, social media response was savage. NBC Olympics EP Jim Bell insisted it would have been “irresponsible” of the network not to have asked bodemiller1Miller about his brother, who died in April, after setting up that storyline before Bode’s run. But what saved NBC, ironically, was Miller coming to the network’s rescue the next morning on Today show, saying interviewer Christin Cooper is “a sweetheart of a person” who he knows “didn’t mean to push” adding, “I do not blame her at all. I feel terrible that she’s taking the heat for that.” For years NBC has used this super-personal strategy in its Olympics coverage, thinking it connects viewers with the athletes and the Games. Also at Sochi, Meredith Vieira asked silver medalist Noelle Pikus-Pace about a miscarriage she suffered a few years ago and the role it played in her decision to come back from Olympics retirement. Read More »

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Deadline’s Best TV Stories Of The Week

By | Sunday February 23, 2014 @ 5:55pm PST

heroesnbcNBC To Bring Back ‘Heroes’ As 13-Episode Event Miniseries In 2015: Video
By Nellie Andreeva – On the heels of Fox reviving its iconic drama 24 as an event miniseries, NBC is doing the same with one of its most popular serialized dramas of the past decade, superhero series Heroes. Creator Tim Kring is back shepherding the 13-episode new standalone arc entitled Heroes: Reborn, which will air in 2015.

Matt Ryan Lands Title Role In NBC Pilot ‘Constantine’ Based On DC Comic
By Nellie Andreeva – Welsh actor Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior) is finalizing a deal to play the lead in NBC’s drama pilot Constantine, from Warner Bros TV. Based on the characters in DC Comics’ John Constantine stories, the project centers on John Constantine (Ryan), an enigmatic and irreverent con man-turned-reluctant supernatural detective who is thrust into the role of defending us against dark forces from beyond.

Netflix Agrees To Pay Comcast For Broadband Access; Public Knowledge Calls For FCC, DOJ Action
By Jen Yamato – There may be smoother streaming ahead for Netflix subscribers as Netflix has agreed to pay Comcast for direct broadband access. Comcast had previously denied Netflix’s request to connect to its broadband network free of charge, sending Netflix users’ streaming content through third party internet providers to access Comcast’s network.

piers1CNN’s ‘Piers Morgan Live’ Ratings Sink To Second Lowest Ever, CNN Ties Sixth Worst Primetime Result
By Dominic Patten – Piers Morgan’s rocky ratings just took another dive for CNN. On Tuesday, the Brit’s 9PM show had its second worst result ever in the all important adults 25-54 news demographic. With a total audience of 270,000 watching, Piers Morgan Live drew a mere 50,000 viewers in the demo. Read More »

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UPDATE: NBC Olympics EP Jim Bell Defends Bode Miller Interview About Dead Brother That Brought Him To Tears (Video)

By | Monday February 17, 2014 @ 10:50am PST

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198UPDATE: 10:45 AM: NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell said this morning it would have been “irresponsible” of NBC had the network not asked U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller questions about his dead brother, and U.S. skeleton racer Noelle Pikus-Pace questions about a miscarriage she suffered a few years ago, during its coverage of the two athletes’ respective medal wins. Bell insisted he’d do the same if covering any other sport, but that it’s especially important with “Olympics particularly, because people don’t know these athletes…It’s a bigger responsibility to share” this personal information, he insisted, in order “to get viewers to connect with those athletes…and their sports.”

bodemiller1Bell said he understood the reaction to particularly the Miller interview, and the public’s tendency to “take to Twitter to vent a little about it.” In the interview, conducted after Bode’s bronze medal Super-G run on Sunday and run at length during NBC’s primetime coverage last night, Olympics reporter Christin Cooper asked him multiple questions about his brother, as Bode choked up, and only ended when Bode doubled over weeping, then walked away. Bode’s brother died in April of an apparent seizure that may have been connected to a motorcycle accident.

In a phone call with press this morning, Bell maintained that, the “storyline about Bode” had been set up on the network’s Olympics broadcast the night before the interview, and he “felt it was important to finish it up.” He noted Miller himself took to Twitter to defend Cooper and that Bode had come on NBC’s Today this morning to tell viewers he did not blame her for the questions. “He said he thought it was fine and he stood by her,” Bell said, adding that should “take some of the temperature down on” the kerfuffle over that interview and the interview Meredith Vieira did with Pikus-Pace in which she asked the athlete about a miscarriage she suffered a few years ago. Bell, who was on the phoner to talk about Bob Costas’ return to the air tonight — a subject that quickly got overshadowed by questions about the Miller and Pikus-Pace interviews — said  “the way it played out was fine.”

In a statement about the Bode interview issued after Bode appeared on Today show,  NBC said: “Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal.  We understand how some viewers thought the line of questioning went too far, but it was our judgment that his answers were a necessary part of the story. We’re gratified that Bode has been publicly supportive of Christin Cooper and the overall interview.”

PREVIOUS, 6:10 AM: NBC This morning asked Bodenbcsochi__131202172913 Miller, in so many words, to come to the defense of its Olympics reporter Christin Cooper, who has been under fire since she caused Olympic skier to double over and weep, with repeated questions about his brother’s death during an interview. (Watch after the jump).

Cooper has taken a lot of heat for going way too far in that interview she did with Miller after he won a bronze medal in the men’s Super-G ski race Sunday. Cooper became a Twitter trending topic – and not in a good way — almost immediately after it aired in full during NBC’s primetime coverage of the interview.  “We’re not done until you sob, Bode!” said one tweeter, pretending to be an NBC Sports exec. Read More »

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