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Published May 19, 2003
|Costas-Santos Interview Helps Part
Of NBC's Preakness Coverage
NBC's coverage of the Preakness Stakes Saturday from 5:30-6:45pm ET earned a 6.4/14 overnight Nielsen rating, down 14% from last year's 7.4/16. The pre-race show from 5:00-5:30pm earned a 3.9/9, down 11% from a 4.4/10 last year. Total coverage from 5:00-6:45pm was a 5.6/13 (THE DAILY).
FUNNY CIDE UP: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke gives NBC's Preakness coverage his "most improved" mention, as Bob Costas' "probing interview" of Funny Cide jockey Jose Santos and commentaries by Tom Hammond and Charlsie Cantey on the Miami Herald's "debunked story suggesting Santos used an electrical device in the Kentucky Derby, rose several rungs above its Derby show." NBC's segment on the movie "Seabiscuit" "was done well," but it "also was a trade-off for commercials for the summer movie." NBC Sports Communications Manager Kathy Connors said NBC "approached the producers two months ago about doing a feature on the movie and asked them if they would be interested in buying some advertising" (USA TODAY, 5/19). In Richmond, Jerry Lindquist writes that after Funny Cide's victory, NBC "let the pictures, first of Santos then of his wife and son, tell the story — with a minimum of commentary from the network's talking heads. That's how it should be, of course." Lindquist adds "if only someone could have yanked the microphone away from" Magna Chair & Pimlico Owner Frank Stronach, "whose postrace filibuster made even Bob Costas appear uncomfortable" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 5/19). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes that as soon as Funny Cide crossed the finish line, "Instead of sticking with the stretch to show which horses finished second and third — three horses were in a tight race and who knows how many tens of thousand viewers had investments in that outcome — NBC quickly cut to a closeup of ... Santos, then to a shot of Santos' son, then to a shot of Funny Cide's ownership and management team." Mushnick: "Hadn't NBC, in the 72 minutes before the race, spent most of its time tracking the Preakness as a wagering enterprise?" (N.Y. POST, 5/19). Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom, on NBC's coverage: "Children are not props. Don't keep showing children crying and screaming on (TV). NBC spent a lot of time decrying the terrible treatment that (Santos) got by the media and then spent 20 minutes milking [it]" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN, 5/18).
SADDLED: There was no live broadcast of the race in N.Y., as WFAN-AM, which owns the local rights to the Triple Crown, carried Mets-Giants at 4:00pm ET. WFAN Program Dir Mark Chernoff said that the Mets "take precedence, but the station" planned to air a tape of the race after the game (NEWSDAY, 5/17).
With Funny Cide’s victory in The Preakness, are you more likely to watch The Belmont on NBC? Vote in THE DAILY POLL