Our Daily Dread: When NBC gets in the way of its ‘live’ self


AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
USA’s Bobby Ryan celebrates a goal against Canada by teammate Chris Drury in the second period of a preliminary round men’s ice hockey game at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada’s Dan Boyle (22), left, Sidney Crosby (87), center, and goalie Martin Brodeur (30) were in on the play.

We interrupt this “live” bobsled competition, right smack in the middle of a run that could possibly end in death, to go “live” to the hockey rink because we need to show you some major event taking place ….

Seriously, that’s what Bob Costas proclaimed on our NBC-programmed TV set last night, a little before 10 p.m. …

We should have seen this coming from three time zones away.


The scoop you couldn’t go to bed without knowing about –“live,” the last 16 seconds of the USA’s 5-3 victory over Canada. You gotta see this. All your pals will be talking about it Monday morning around that broken fax machine over by the receptionist’s desk that’s been vacant the last seventh months ago after she was laid off now we have to learn to learn the refill the damn unnecessary contraption by ourselves because someone still sends us faxes.

This hockey game, by the way, was an event we actually saw happened, turning a time that we care to refer to as live without quotes around it, exactly precisely and specifically three hours earlier. Way over on MSNBC non-HD. Per NBC’s instructions. Because it was buried in HD ice dancing.

The beauty agony of NBC’s Winter Olympic coverage originating from our Pacific Time Zone means we’re in a constant time warp of sorts that will never add up, no matter how many five-dollar Subway adds buffer reality from the truth of the matter.

Mark this down — we are at the breaking point in the NBC Winter Olympics when the network in charge, the one losing thousands of dollars in ad revenue, is now breaking into our taped coverage to bring us taped coverage.

Sure, it was once live at one time in another part of this country. But because we choose to live a better lifestyle in the part of the world the NBC does not fully acknowledge as a viable TV community, we continue to be force fed leftover byproduct.

What a bunch of ice holes.

It was curious enough that NBC joined those last few seconds, when the game had already been decided. Why not two minutes earlier, when the U.S. was clinging to a 4-3 lead, and Canada was merclessly firing shot after shot after shot at goaltender Ryan Miller, until they pulled their own goalie, Marty Brodeur, for an extra attacker — only to have that backfire on an incredible empty-net goal. None of that was worth watching on tape by backing up the time machine just a few clicks?

Instead, for your true live (in the East coast) dive in, you get the already-been-determined view of a game that’s over. Like joining a Bar Mitzvah when the frumpy custodian comes in with the pushboom to start sweeping up all the broken glass and empty dreams.

To add insult to insult, after some great analysis (again, what we already saw) from Ed Olczyk and Doc Emick — Eddie called the victory “tremendously tremendous!” — and an interview with Miller, Costas comes back, does some recap, goes to another dozen commercials, and NBC returns to have Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth live at the arena for their take on what just happened.

Now, an episode of “Sunday Night Football” breaks out.


Collinsworth, the former NFL player and current NFL commentator who knows a lot about football, says that U.S.-Canada game was so exciting it was “like Ernie Banks … let’s play two!”

Yeah, if you’re confused, we’re confused which sport he’s now referring to as well. It may as well be mixed curling.

Collinsworth added on the importance of this game to Canada: “You could take all the emotion from all the other sports all week and put them in one pile. This is the moment that mattered to them.”

Collinsworth added on Miller’s 42 saves: “Jim Craig was so awesome back in 1980 but if he were better than Ryan Miller, I’d be surprised.”

May we add that Collinsworth just stick to pigskin rather than vulcanized rubber sports?

Michaels, who knows a miracle or two when announces one, was so pumped up about what he just saw, you wish you could have joined him. Oh, wait, we did see it earlier. We know what he’s talking about. We saw all the Twitter accounts and blog postings and even a few Western Union recaps of what unfolded.

“When we walked into the building, it was just electric and it stayed that way until the very end,” Michaels said.

Then why didn’t NBC share that earlier?

Too late. Michaels couldn’t convey the essence of that three-hour game that, again, we saw because we took the time in our schedule to want to watch it as it happened.

NBC, which proports to care about hockey because it’s the only major network to carry NHL games during the season as well as the Stanley Cup Finals, blew its prime opportunity to bring the most exciting event of the Winter Olympics to the most eyes.

And when it tried to scramble to make up for its boner — no matter the fact that Olympic hockey will not deliver the ratings that a brother-sister skating team from England would bring dressed up Daisy Duke cowboy outfits touching, holding and sitting on each other in very inappropriate ways — NBC pucked it all up.

Sorry, but if NBC was trying to appeal to female viewers, my wife was coming out of her seat watching the U.S.-Canada hockey game. She couldn’t believe the intensity. Or the lack of penalties. Or the Canadian player who practically rode the U.S. player on his back into the boards and finally was called for a penalty.

But then, later in the evening, she settled in for her figure skating. Even as Tom Hammon called that pair “ridiculous” for their Aboriginal unoriginal costumes.

Ridiculous was an adjective used in that case in the proper manner. We agree it should also be used to describe NBC’s lack of full coverage of these Games.

From Vancouver.

Where, if you check your watch, it’ll be the exact same time as it is here in Los Angeles.

Nothing gets lost there in the exchange. Except NBC’s credibility.

O, Canada. Oh, NBC….

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