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Volume 25 No. 66
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NBC Calls Ski Race Over Before End, Missing Eventual Winner

NBC's ski announcers on Saturday "seemed intent on justifying themselves" after "making a wrong call" regarding the results of the women's super-G on Friday night, according to David Bauder of the AP. Czech Republic skier Ester Ledecka "stunned everyone by edging Austria's Anna Veith for the gold medal" in the super-G, and she was "considered to have so little chance that NBC's Dan Hicks declared Veith the winner and NBC switched away as if the race was over." Analyst Bode Miller on Saturday declared that "in everyone's opinion, the race was over." Hicks noted that even Ledecka "couldn't believe she had won." He said, "Neither could we." Bauder noted NBC "made a reasonable call to move on to a compelling figure-skating competition." However, it was "still wrong for Hicks to have expressed certainty that the race was over, and the way he and Miller revisited it Saturday only served to annoy viewers who had missed the miracle on snow" (AP, 2/18). VULTURE's Devon Ivie noted NBC's programming was "switched to the men’s figure skating finals, although the network eventually switched back to the super G upon the news that, ahem, somebody else won instead" (VULTURE.com, 2/17).

BENCH MINOR: In DC, Cindy Boren wrote NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury on Saturday "drew fire on social media" for comments about Russian D Slava Voynov, who was "convicted of domestic abuse in 2014 and sentenced to 90 days in jail on a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a spouse." Milbury during the Olympic Athletes of Russia's game against the U.S. said of Voynov, "This guy was a special player, and an unfortunate incident left the Los Angeles Kings without a great defenseman." Boren wrote Milbury is not in Pyeongchang to "opine on domestic violence, but, in this case, perhaps saying nothing would have been smarter, as social media reaction showed" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/18). 

TAKING A BACK SEAT: In N.Y., Juliet Macur writes for about 25 years, viewers "couldn’t watch Olympic figure skating without seeing Scott Hamilton" on NBC's coverage of the sport. But Hamilton in Pyeongchang "has been relegated" primarily to NBCSN's "Olympic Ice," as the broadcast network has moved on to Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski. Hamilton "knew this change was coming" even in Sochi four years ago. Hamilton said, "Johnny and Tara were just this phenomenon, and no one was going to stop them. ... They were such a breath of fresh air." Lipinski said that Hamilton is "still involved in the broadcast 'in a big way'" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/19). In Nashville, Joe Rexrode wrote Lipinski and Weir are "edgy and funny and flashy." Hamilton during broadcasts "sits one row above them, quietly, wearing a gray suit." But every Olympics is "like a reunion for him" between "old friends and fans" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 2/17).

IN THE ZONE: The AP's Bauder reviewed NBCOlympics.com's Gold Zone, a highlight show that "gives a solid overview of the previous day's best performances, with a few twists." Friday's telecast "showed Yun Sung-Bin's gold medal-winning skeleton run as it was called on South Korean television." Gold Zone streams at noon ET each day, "timed for people in offices to watch during lunch." But NBC "might want to consider a more compact version for people without the luxury of a two-hour lunch break" (AP, 2/16).

COVERAGE CONUNDRUM: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick criticized NBC News' coverage during the Olympics and noted NBC's Lester Holt during Wednesday "Nightly News" was "seen and heard in the preposterous position of reporting the mass murder of Florida high school kids from his NBC Olympics anchorage in South Korea." Then it was "back to doing what Holt was sent to do: Olympic features, conducting Olympic interviews." Mushnick: "One would think that NBC’s top executives would insist that its front-and-center news faces never be seen or heard as compromised by NBC properties, that trust and integrity outweigh all" (N.Y. POST, 2/18).