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Lazarus Says NBC Will Address Russia's Anti-Gay Laws During Sochi Games Coverage
Published July 29, 2013
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DUELING DOCS: SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted NBC on Saturday announced that former Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan had "agreed to an exclusive interview with the network as part of an upcoming documentary on Kerrigan and Tonya Harding that will air on NBC during the Sochi Olympics." Kerrigan will "be interviewed by Mary Carillo, who will narrate the NBC documentary." What makes the announcement "interesting is the gamesmanship between ESPN and NBC for Kerrigan." ESPN recently announced a doc on Harding and Kerrigan would be part of its fall "30 for 30" slate. The film's director, Nanette Burstein, said in May said that she "was optimistic Kerrigan would sit down with her for an interview but as of this writing, Kerrigan had declined ESPN's overtures." An NBC Sports spokesperson said that Kerrigan "is not being paid for her interview." But when asked if Kerrigan was being considered for an on-air gig for the Sochi Games, the spokesperson said, "Nancy is among many former Winter Olympic athletes under consideration for an on-air role in Sochi" (SI.com, 7/28).
GETTING READY FOR RUSSIA: BROADCASTING & CABLE's Andrea Morabito noted Lazarus "defended NBC's tape-delay strategy to feature marquee events in primetime, pointing to 2012's record ratings as proof the audience was on board with it." He said, "What we learned in London is people who streamed events live during [the] day tended to watch our packaged show in primetime. With the addition of each device they added more viewing." Morabito wrote there was "one thing NBC wasn't willing to defend though -- its cutting away from the Closing Ceremony" to show an episode of the now-canceled "Animal Practice," which "drew major backlash last summer." Lazarus: "We learned some things along the way. You don't make [the] same decisions twice. I don't think we would put ourselves in position to do that again" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 7/27). Meanwhile, NBC Sports announced the roles for Al Michaels and Apolo Anton Ohno during its Sochi coverage. Michaels will host daytime coverage on NBC Sports Network on weekdays and NBC during weekends. Ohno will serve as an analyst for short track speedskating, while also working on features and offering studio commentary. NBC will begin its primetime coverage of the Sochi Games on Feb. 6 -- one night before the net provides coverage of the Opening Ceremony (NBC Sports).