The background Fred Roggin has at the CNBC Olympic desk shows a Rio de Janero visage. But the studio is in Stamford, Conn.
Did you know: While all the NBC prime-time coverage of the Olympics comes out of Rio, about half of the total 6,800 hours of NBC-generated Olympics TV time is actually based on announcers calling the action off TV monitors in a giant studio in Stamford, Conn.
And more than half of the 30-odd sports covered are primarily a Stamford-generated broadcast.
While there are some 2,000 NBC employees in Rio, another 1,100-plus are at a 300,000-plus square foot facility about an hour south of ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., including anchors like CNBC’s Fred Roggin, above, and rugby play-by-play man Bill Seward.
We’ll talk to the two L.A.-based broadcasters about the experience, whether they’re just as happy being there instead of in Rio and how they mentally gear themselves into the task at hand, whether the viewers at home realize what’s happen and/or really care that much.
“So many of these sports, you’re calling it off a monitor anyway, and the technology is such that it’s a lot easier and it comes at no expense to the viewer to have these people in Stamford,” said NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell. “So for us it’s just a much smarter proposition overall if it doesn’t impact our quality in any way and we can manage things more efficiently.”
As sure as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West – a fact that Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff still may unsure about and will likely become an on-going punchline – HBO’s “Hard Knocks” shined as promised for the launch of a five-part series Tuesday night, somehow compacting several months’ worth of franchise relocation, UC Irvine training camp arrival and the team’s first Coliseum appearance into one enlightening and entertaining hour-long episode.
Touching on all the advertised story lines and more, starting from Goff’s journey on a Goodyear blimp ride above the South Bay, to center Eric Kush’s eclectic collection of tank tops, the one piece of news that came to light from Episode 1 is Rams head coach Jeff Fisher’s no-nonsense policy that led to receiver Deon Long’s release from the team on July 31 as the result of having a female visitor in his dorm room.
If there was a fortuitously fitting way to pay homage your personal hero, while at the same time putting the final line on your own professional life’s resume, wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity? Eddie Braun will literally do it, in the name of Evel Knievel.
Actor Charlie Sheen, left, with stuntman Eddie Braun.
The 54-year-old Hollywood stuntman and stunt coordinator from Manhattan Beach, content with getting his name in the closing credits while actors like Jackie Chan or Ben Affleck or Charlie Sheen take the glory, is apt to get his own headlines for taking his leap of faith in Twin Falls, Idaho on Sept. 17.
“I think this is a really a cool way to finish out his dream,” said Braun, a Hawthorne native sitting in a booth at the Kettle Restaurant near his home where he lives with his wife and four children. “This will be pure Americana, one moment that doesn’t have to deal with politics or race or anything.”
Those who want to climb aboard have opportunities at the website, www.evelspirit.com, which leads to a campaign with the intent of getting the public invested as well to raise $150,000 that will be used toward producing this as a live-stream Internet event. Here’s more on the story …
A Sept. 8, 1974 file photo of Evel Knievel as he sits in the steam powered rocket motorcycle that he hoped could have taken him across the Snake River Canyon in Idaho. (AP)
After Wednesday’s practice at UC Irvine, Rams coach Jeff Fisher was asked if HBO’s “Hard Knocks” cameras had led to any special meetings this week because it made any of the players apprehensive, act out of character, or become a distraction.
“No, we didn’t,” he said. “We’ve had several discussions with the team prior to their arrival. One of the things that was discussed numerous times was, after a couple of days it’s almost if they disappear. It’s been an exciting process, it’s been fun. The players are out here to help win games and to improve, not to make a movie. They’re not actors, they’re players.”
Just wait until Tuesday’s debut episode of six straight weeks airs at 10 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. EDT.
One can follow some of the progress of the show content so far by going to Twitter.com and hitting #HARDKNOCKS to see Rams players trying to get in some water polo reps in the UCI campus pool, and then hit the food trucks. Marty Callner, a prolific producer and director of music videos and concert TV specials for decades, is credited as the project’s creator of this whole “Hard Knocks” concept, bringing HBO and NFL Films together on the project and pitching it to the NFL owners and coaches.
How? We talked to the 69-year-old who still has executive producer credit and has three Emmys to show for it, soon to be out at Rams camp to watch the process as it all moves closer to his Malibu home for the first time.
That will be the Sunday media column topic. There’s also this recent post on ESPN.com by Steve Dilbeck on how the process is working.
Updated Sunday: Here’s the link.
What’s worthy of putting out there at this point in time (UPDATED Friday 8/5):
== The Rams will officially announce their radio team for the KSPN-AM (710) and The Sound 100.3 FM coverage, starting with the exhibition opener against the Cowboys on Aug. 13 at the Coliseum — with the play-by-play spot going to J.B. Long, better known lately for his work on the Pac-12. Former UCLA and NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew will be locked in as the analyst with former Rams player and one-time L.A. sports talk host D’Marco Farr on the sidelines.
A three-hour pregame is planned with Steve Mason, Kirk Morrison and Eric Davis, and a postgame with Travis Rodgers, Morrison and Davis, with Jeff Biggs reporting at halftime.
Yes, that’s Bob Costas leading the conga line, still not fully recovered from pink eye. Illustration by Jim Thompson
In a conference call with reporters this afternoon, NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell was asked: If you’re giving consumers some 6,700 hours of coverage from Rio, how it it possible for you to consume all that and make decisions about what gets on the air?
“We have enormously talented people within our organization, and just as important is having the OBS — Olympic Broadcasting Service, the IOC broadcasting arm, who we work closely with — and the quality and production and the gear they’re using is the highest quality,” he said. “It affords us the ability to do things like have 1,000 people back in Stamford, Conn., knowing the pictures and the sound going back there to our announcers, it allows the viewers at home or streaming to still have a great experience as they consume the Olympics.
“The lion’s share of the attention as we get close to the Games with me are with prime time and late night. We feel good about the plans we have. We let the genie out of the bottle in London and we’re willing to take it a step further and see how it goes.”
That goes to another story angle will eventually cover — of the 30-odd sports that NBC will cover over the next two-plus weeks, more than half are with play-by-play and analysts sitting in a studio thousands of miles away, no where near the issues of Rio.
But volume control is what we’re talking about loud and clear here. Consumption habits needed for NBC’s presentation of the 2016 Rio Summer Games may need to change if you’re still stuck in the prime-time mode of waiting for results and commentary, starting with preliminary soccer matches before Friday’s Opening Ceremony and marching up to the Closing Ceremonies on Aug. 21.