SBD/January 8, 2014/Media

NBC Will Not Live-Stream Sochi Opening Ceremony To Preserve "Full Pageantry"

Lazarus (l) said that NBCU has yet to decide whether to live-stream the Closing Ceremony
NBCUniversal execs yesterday said that the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Games on Feb. 7 "will not be live-streamed," according to Brian Steinberg of VARIETY. NBC Sports Group Chair Mark Lazarus said, "We want to put context to it, with the full pageantry it deserves." Lazarus added that execs "believed an unvarnished live stream of the colorful ceremonies would not make sense without description." Steinberg noted NBCU had "raised eyebrows with its decision to transmit every competition" from the Sochi Games live via digital means. Keeping the Opening Ceremony solely on NBC is "likely to ensure a higher rating." Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Bob Costas are "slated to host the event," along with New Yorker editor David Remnick, who "has been hired as a special correspondent of sorts for the NBCU Olympics broadcasts." Lazarus said that NBCU "has yet to make a decision" about whether or not to live-stream the Closing Ceremony. He said that the company is "'leaning' toward making that event available digitally" (VARIETY.com, 1/7).

READY FOR ANYTHING: USA TODAY's Kelly Whiteside notes controversial issues around the Sochi Games "haven't hurt interest or advertising." The "vocal, international engagement of the gay rights community has increased the spotlight, not stolen it." The issues, in fact, have "created a greater awareness of these Games." NBC execs said that they "wouldn't shy away from addressing issues such as last month's two suicide bombings" in Volgograd. Lazarus said, "It remains to be seen how it plays out. We don't know what's going to happen in Sochi. We will cover anything that takes place during the Games" (USA TODAY, 1/8).

POSITIVE NANCY: NBC yesterday named Silver Medal-winning figure skater Nancy Kerrigan as an analyst for its multi-platform coverage including NBC and NBCSN. Kerrigan also will appear on NBCU shows and properties including "Today," "Access Hollywood" and E! (NBC). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Marisa Guthrie noted Kerrigan "participated in an NBC documentary from veteran sports correspondent Mary Carillo, in which Kerrigan will speak for the first time" about the attack on her prior to the '94 Lillehammer Games "that captivated the country 20 years ago and arguably kick-started the reality television genre." The doc "does not yet have an air date," but it "will air in primetime during NBC's coverage" of the Sochi Games. Kerrigan said that she "agreed to cooperate with the documentary because she felt comfortable with Carillo and Carillo's longtime producer, Margaret Grossi" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 1/7).

PROVIDING CLARITY: Comcast Chief Technology Officer Tony Werner said that the company "will record portions" of the Sochi Games in the new Ultra HD (4K) format. Werner yesterday at a panel on Ultra HD content said, "We feel comfortable that we have the infrastructure to deliver 4K to the home, but we are more concerned with having enough content in the vault. ... We'll be showing what high frame rates and higher resolutions can do for sports to stimulate people's imagination and also, hopefully, the rest of the content ecosystem" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 1/7).
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