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Volume 24 No. 115
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NBCUniversal's Steve Burke Talks About What Olympics Mean To The Network

NBCUniversal President & CEO Steve Burke addressed a group of reporters at a press conference in N.Y. this week to discuss his network's plans for the Olympics. Below is an edited transcript of his remarks:

* On winning the Olympic bid last year, "It feels like yesterday, although it was probably about 15 or 16 months ago, right after the NBCUniversal deal with Comcast was done. We got in a conference room in this building to figure out what our presentation would be to the International Olympic Committee for future Games. We came to the conclusion that we had so many talented people with so much great experience that we should bring a very large group to the pitch. We started off the presentation to all the International Olympic Committee members by having everyone talk about how many years they've been associated with the Olympics, and how many Olympics they had broadcast. As we went around the room, people would say, 'I've done 12 Olympics, I've done 14 Olympics, I've done eight Olympics.' Embedded in this organization is an experience base. After a while, you get very, very good at what you do. It's unlike anything that I think exists anywhere else."

* On NBC's plans for the Olympics, "We're going to try to stay very true to what got us here, but also do some things that are new and different. We're also trying to amplify some of the assets that the Comcast deal brought. NBC Sports is doing this in general with our NBC Sports Channel and Golf Channel. I'm starting to become convinced that we're doing things for sports like golf and hockey and horse racing and the NFL, because we have all these assets, we're bringing those sports to a different level. Our dream would be to do that with the Olympics. I see that when I watch the swimming trials, and you can go back and forth between channels and different assets."

* On what the Olympics mean to NBC, "Whether you work at NBC primetime, USA, Bravo, CNBC, the Olympics are both a catalytic event in terms of how the company thinks about itself, but also a catalytic event in terms of how we promote other parts of the company. There's a real magic that goes into getting 20 cable channels, primetime, news, all different parts of our company, Telemundo, focused on an event like the Olympics for 17 days. We're going to try to set up the fall launch on NBC primetime as well as we can. We're going to launch 'The Lorax' DVD. We're going to launch other things that are going on in other parts of the company. We're going to revitalize the 'Today' show. We're going to hopefully get the entire company to work together in a way that I think is unique to NBCUniversal."