NBC Jumps On Chloe Kim Story In Both Primetime, "Today" Coverage
U.S. snowboarder Chloe Kim "soared and spun" to a win in the women's halfpipe last night while "carrying both the weight of lofty expectations and NBC's Monday primetime telecast on her back," according to Phil Rosenthal of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Kim "served up exactly what NBC needed" with her win. Had Kim "failed to deliver," NBC execs could have been feeling anxious, especially while "still waiting to see how much-promoted Mikaela Shiffrin and ... Lindsey Vonn do when they finally hit the slopes" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 2/13). NBC's "Today" was heavily focused on Kim this morning, with the intro to the broadcast airing highlights of her performance with the header, "Face of a Champion." NBC's Savannah Guthrie said there is "one member of Team USA that everybody is talking about this morning." Kim joined Guthrie and NBC's Hoda Kotb live on the set about 30 minutes into the broadcast, saying, "It really hasn't sunk in yet. I don't know where I am or what I'm doing here." Kim made a second on-set appearance at the start of the 8:00am hour, where she was given some of her favorite foods after tweeting she was hungry in between her competitive runs ("Today," NBC, 2/13).
CHANGING YOUR INTERNAL CLOCK: In N.Y., Jere Longman notes the Pyeongchang figure skating competitions usually begins locally at 10:00am, to "accommodate NBC’s live broadcast to a prime-time audience" at 8:00pm ET. That has "forced competitors to reassess their sleeping and training habits." Skating’s timetable switch from evening to morning and the early starts "seemed to have contributed in undermining some of the initial performances at the Games." The Olympic arena has been "half-empty when the competition begins midmorning." The energy level "appeared particularly low on Friday as the team event began." But the general response among skaters and coaches has been to "acknowledge that while the start times are not ideal, they should not be used as an excuse for rickety performances" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/13). The AP's Dave Skretta noted figure skating has "long been among the most popular Winter Olympic sports in the United States," so the decision to feature the events in primetime "should be great" for NBC and U.S. fans, though "not so great for the skaters." German figure skater Bruno Massot: "It is always more difficult when you have an early practice and then the competition takes place two hours later. Maybe that schedule is good for the TV but not for the athletes" (AP, 2/10).
THE HYPE MACHINE IN FULL FORCE: The CHICAGO TRIBUNE's Rosenthal notes Shiffrin’s bid to "compete in as many as five individual Alpine events, with an eye on winning three or more, has been one of NBC’s favorite storylines" so far. It also has been "embraced by sponsors such as Xfinity and Visa." However, would it "hurt anyone to dial it back just a bit, at least until she wins something?" The all-out blitz "risks overkill in the meantime" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/13). Meanwhile, the "solid 45 minutes NBC spent hyping an upcoming qualifying run" by Shaun White last night "left us wondering if there wasn't a better use of the time" (AP, 2/12).
FINDING A SPARK: The AP's David Bauder writes NBC skiing analyst Bode Miller "knows his stuff," but he is a "rookie announcer, and it shows." He delivers "much of the information in a passion-free monotone, and hasn't learned the virtue of strategic silence." Miller and announcer Dan Hicks "delivered a torrent of words" in the primetime coverage of the men's combined event, with "not enough sense of a story." Maybe it was "because medals weren't being decided in the portion of the race NBC aired" in primetime, but their segment "lacked spark" (AP, 2/13).
AD GAME: ADWEEK's Chris Ariens noted NBC's "Today" is "incorporating sponsored content into the morning newscast" during the Games. NBC's Al Roker yesterday "read what appeared to be a news story about Intel using 1,200 drones in a choreographed display during the Opening Ceremony Friday." He then "began reading marketing copy about NBC’s use of virtual reality during the Games." The integration was "actually part of Intel’s sponsorship deal with NBC Olympics." There was "supposed to be a graphic that indicated this was sponsored content, but due to a 'technical error' it didn’t show up." It was "fixed for the later feeds" (ADWEEK.com, 2/12).