DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

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MIKE HUGHES

KIM AKASS

MONIQUE NAZARETH

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TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
For Michael Phelps and NBC's Olympics Coverage, Eight is Enough
August 17, 2008  | By David Bianculli
 
OLYMPICS-Phelps-with-team-a.jpgEight is enough.

Michael Phelps, his U.S. swimming teammates, fate and not a little luck -- they all combined to make all of the athlete's big-dream dreams come true. Eight races. Eight gold medals. Seven world records, and one Olympic record, in the bargain.

Not bad for week one.

 

OLYMPICS-Phelps-8-golds.jpg

The truth is, we've been witness to the full-blown coronation of a new sports hero for a new generation. Despite all he had accomplished four years ago, Phelps was no household name, no role model, no one who could boast Kobe Bryant and LeBron James among his personal cheering section. Now he can.

It's a truly great Olympic feat, and made for a truly great Olympics telecast. When Jason Lezak -- another impressive swimmer immortalized by the XXIX Summer Olympics -- ran his final lap to secure his team the gold and Phelps his table-running eight-for-eight, I was yelling at my television set. I haven't done that since watching another NBC offering, Baby Borrowers... but for completely different reasons.

OLYMPICS-Jamaica.jpg

And these Olympics are far from over. Usain Bolt, running the 100-m. and claiming the title of fastest man in the world, ran with such ease and glee that he began celebrating when there was still a third of the race to run. That's a talent, and a joy, that won't soon be forgotten.

So bring on week two.

Diane Werts, in FOR BETTER OR WERTS, can navigate you through the trickier time slots and online offerings, so keep checking with her as well. The name of this site is TV WORTH WATCHING -- and the Olympics, wherever you find them, certainly qualifies.

 

2 Comments

 

Gregg B said:

David, I'd like to get your take on why this year the Olympics are doing so well in the ratings. I know I was glued to my seat watching Michael Phelps. I even went out of my way to see what time his races were for that day. Having everything in HD is also an attraction. I'll watch table tennis if it is in HD and I did! I'd like to know your thoughts on this. (I'll write more on this later, but I suspect it's a combination of viewers agreeing to care, so long as that interest is rewarded with something worth seeing. Phelps certainly gave us that... and riding that spirit, I'm now watching volleyball... -- David B.)

Comment posted on August 18, 2008 11:52 AM


Eileen said:

Kudos to Mr. Phelps. However, I'd love to know some of the other back stories, i.e., Dana Torres and the Gold Medal swimmer from Tunesia. I'd love some "Charles Kuralt" vignettes on these folks.

And while we're all enjoying the Olympics, in the NYC area on WNET (PBS) on Wednesday, August 20th at 8 pm is a classic presentation, "Finding Lucy". For those who haven't seen this wonderful hour featuring Lucy, Desi, their co-workers, writers, home movies, etc., it's a treasure. So take a break at 8 pm if you're in the WNET viewing area and enjoy a stroll down memory lane.

Comment posted on August 18, 2008 2:29 PM

 
 
 
 
 
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