SBD/August 3, 2012/Olympics

Idol Hands: Ryan Seacrest Has Not Been Seen Much During NBC's Olympic Coverage

Ryan Seacrest drew criticism for his interviews during NBC's coverage
TV personality Ryan Seacrest’s presence during NBC's London Games coverage has been “most notable for its absence,” according to Mary McNamara of the L.A. TIMES. After an “initial big showing, Seacrest has gone strangely silent, especially in prime time.” He became the "first big target for critics and coverage-haters" after his interview with U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps during the Opening Ceremony, and even in the “relatively low standards of the genre, none of his interviews have been great." That highlights "not only his lack of sports knowledge but also mystifyingly successful Seacrest brand of blandocity." He has joined the “Today” show cast to “participate in a few group events,” but if NBC execs “hoped Seacrest would bring ratings magic, they may be disappointed.” McNamara: "He is neither artist nor entertainer; he is certainly not a journalist. He is a survivor but one is never quite certain to what end. Surely it cannot be to ask a bronze medal winner how he is feeling" (L.A. TIMES, 8/3). Seacrest said, "We've been prepping for the Olympics for a while, as there's an enormous amount of knowledge and information to come up to speed on. We had three huge binders of info, countless meetings and briefings, and the folks at NBC Research are our friends." He added, "There are thousands of people dedicated to NBC's success in London, and you can see it and feel it behind the scenes and in front of the camera every day" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/10 issue).

MAKING THE GRADE: In L.A., Tom Hoffarth grades NBC’s Olympic reporters and gives primetime studio host Bob Costas an “A” for his coverage. Costas has “aged into the standard-bearer for this role, relaxed, experienced, and realizing he's not bigger than the Opening Ceremonies, thus no need to call attention to himself in demanding a personal moment of silence for the '72 Israeli massacre.” Mid-day hosts Dan Patrick and Al Michaels earn an “A-plus,” and NBC should use them for “co-hosting, like an ESPN ‘SportsCenter’ set, instead of trying to segment them.” Seacrest earns a “B,” as he is “bothersome at best with his ‘Social Download’ reports, innocuous at most, making all the proceedings more female familiar.” More of Michelle Beadle "wouldn't be bad instead.” Meanwhile, John McEnroe “reminds us why his 2004 CNBC chat show was canceled after four months.” Hoffarth: "Away from tennis, he's oatmeal. Thankfully, NBC puts him back on the sport for Sunday's men's final. Grade: C-minus” (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/3). 

OTHER OPINIONS: USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand writes NBC has "tightened its interviews and up-close-and-personals, which dragged in past Games, and, mercifully, kept Olympic TV rookie Ryan Seacrest on a short leash." Costas is "good, but as he quickly sends viewers to venues, he could almost be replaced by a hologram” (USA TODAY, 8/3). In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote Costas “apparently has been sipping from the fountain of youth flask Dick Clark carried around for many years," or Costas is “some kind of Benjamin Button or Dorian Gray figure who’s getting younger, not older, every time he works one of these” (, 8/2).
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Olympics, NBC

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