NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus tried to split the baby and wound up butchering it this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013, when he said the network’s upcoming coverage of the Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi “comes with political and social issues” which NBC will address — “as they are relevant at the time of the game, as has always been the case.” Then, without missing a beat, he began to “we cannot wait to get to Sochi, very optimistic about the U.S. team, biggest Winter Olympics ever,” blah blah, blah, while TV critics in the hall tried to recover from the whiplash. Russia’s newly-adopted anti-gay laws have some calling for NBC to boycott the Games (The International Olympic Committee has said it will “work to ensure” that LGBT athletes competing in the games will not face danger or legal issues).
Among those calling for boycott, HRC President Chad Griffin reportedly wrote a letter to NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke, saying the media conglom has a “responsibility to expose this inhumane and unjust law to the millions of American viewers who will tune in to watch the Games.” Griffin said it would be wrong for NBCU “to air the opening ceremonies, which is an hours-long advertisement for the host country, without acknowledging that a whole segment of the Russian population — not to mention foreign athletes and visitors — can be jailed for an immutable aspect of their identity.”
NBC’s response – at the Press Tour anyway — was Lazarus’s baby-splitting act: “The IOC has addressed it with the Russian government and has been assured athletes, fans, and the media there will not be any issues with regard to what takes place during the Games,” he said. READ MORE »
I hate to say I TOLDJA but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences today announced its Oscar season schedule for 2014 and, predictably, with the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl taking every Sunday in February, the Academy moved the Oscar show to the first Sunday in March, the 2nd, as forecast here in a column on March 4th. I also predicted it would give them the opportunity to allow more time for seeing movies by moving the nominations back a week from where they were this year on January 10th (two weeks earlier than usual), and the Academy has done just that, moving the voting period back to where it has been in previous years with ballots going out December 27 and due back on January 8th (for 2013 ballots were mailed December 17 and came back January 4).
There were complaints from members that there just wasn’t enough time to see all the movies and then vote in that two week Holiday period, especially with so many other distractions of the season. This gives the Academy a lot more breathing room in making nominations but still allows for a six-week period between the announcement and the due date of February 25 for final ballots. This is important because it gives the public a lot more time to see the nominated movies and pleases exhibitors who have two extra weeks to exploit those nominations. Read More »
Are the Oscars moving even later into March next year? All signs say ‘yes’ and the Academy would be wise to announce this sooner than later.
Despite annual (and always wrong) media speculation (including a recent column in a well-known show biz trade) that the Academy Awards are planning to move a month earlier into January insiders have repeatedly told me the Academy’s Board has no taste for that, and as at least one former top officer in the organization told me over the weekend, contractually they can’t do it.
Though they haven’t yet announced any dates for the next Oscar race, the schedule of the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia February 7 through the 23rd puts a big crimp in any plans to keep the Oscars even on in its current berth on the last Sunday of February where it would run smack into the Closing Night ceremonies. In the past when this has come up the Academy has always moved the Oscar show to the first Sunday in March which would be on the 2nd next year. Quite frankly there is nowhere else for the show to go. Do the math.
With the Super Bowl already claiming Sunday February 2nd and the Olympics taking the remaining three Sundays, the earliest date available would be January 26th and every source with whom I have spoken tells me that is the date CBS is claiming for the Grammys next year (moving two weeks earlier than their February 10, 2013 date). Also getting the message are the major show biz Guilds which have all already staked out their 2014 dates and sprayed the territory. Read More »