NBC Outrage Update: Dick Ebersol Agrees With You! (Eight Years Ago)

New York Times readers are begging the New York Times to stop posting Olympics results on their front page, because they just want to get news about Pakistan without having their TV evening ruined by sports spoilers. Too bad!

"Our job is to report the news," said Tom Jolly, the sports editor. He said NBC "has made a business decision to show the highlights on a taped basis. We're not beholden to presenting the news the way NBC does."

Bravo. Yes, we are not letting this go, because we are clearly not the only ones upset about this. More importantly, we can't find anyone—okay, one guy, but he likes being difficult—who seriously prefers NBC's tape-delay strategy over one that would allow people to watch an event that takes place in their time zone as it happens. You know who else thinks its a good idea? Dick Ebersol, circa 2001.

"A domestic Olympics cries out to be telecast live across the entire country as previous U.S. games have been," he said. "I am emphatic that delaying our primetime Salt Lake coverage is a mistake." [Emphasis added]

Back then, they blamed it on the affiliates, saying that West Coast stations overwhelmingly voted to have delayed coverage in order to maximize the primetime audience. Of course, that was back when AOL was still mailing the internet to your house on CD. Affiliates are now getting hammered by their viewers and NBC continues to play dumb. (Don't bother reminding Dicky about it. He changed his email.)

Meanwhile, our Canadian readers keep annoying us with their tales of the Great White North's bountiful and jingo-free Olympic wonderland. I'm really starting hate those guys. The only solace is that Stephen Colbert proved that the only thing faker than NBC's fireplace is Bob Costas' laugh. Dial it down a notch, Bob. The paycheck already cleared.

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Disclosure: Deadspin does not endorse all the complaints listed below. (We disagree with quite a few of them actually.) We are merely a conduit for your rage. Keep 'em coming.

Rob R:

One of the benefits of living in Vermont is we get Canadian TV as part of basic cable. The CTV coverage of the Olympics is (and always has been) far superior. They cover all events and competitors, not just the events where American's are expected to do well. And they're basically on round the clock, so you see events like the Men's downhill from beginning to end. I can't recommend it highly enough. (Interestingly, since Canada did not switch to HDTV, the video quality is subpar.)

See? Annoying, right?

The NBC coverage just sucks, beginning to end. Everyone knows that. But the thing that I'm finding most offensive is the full-court press they are using to make Short track skater JR Selski a star. It started last week with a guest appearance on The Biggest Loser, then a TIGHT close-up and long discussion of his "story" as the US team entered the stadium during the opening ceremony. The of course it's endless during his events, and fireside chats with Bob. Enough. He seems like a nice kid, and has obviously worked hard to get here. Super. But give it a rest.

Brad S.:

NBC knew it had a loser before the Olympics even started, which means they could have sat down and figured out the perfect solution before it started. Instead, they went ahead with Chris Collinsworth as the "palatable white guy who has sporting experience" to balance out the nonathletic Bob Costas. The two words that, left unsaid, will cause a lasting black-eye for NBC are: CHARLES BARKLEY.

It's so obvious, I can't stand it. If you put Charles in the chair and allow him carte blanche to make fun of foreign guys in spandex, then throw in some tape of him trying to stand in skates and viewership skyrockets. Suddenly, no one would care about the tape delays or not being able to watch a sport that's only in the public conscious every four years, because seeing Sir Charles repeatedly fall on his ass would be mesmerizing.

I don't care that he's employed by another network, money talks and this thing would make sense for both NBC and TNT. Unfortunately, NBC is too uptight to let awesome happen.

Eric Y.:

Actually, to be completely accurate, the West Coast I think still gets its USA,CNBC, and MSNBC stuff the same as the rest of the country. It's only NBC stuff that is taped – which is just like many award shows. I've only been out here a couple of years and it's still extremely odd to me . . . but then so is 4 o'clock baseball games. Time zones just present a problem – NBC's solution isn't perfect, but I think it fits far better with the love of people for whining that it's even that big of an issue. The same people want to push the World Series and NBA playoffs earlier and earlier and completely screw the West Coast (this was the first year that the games started just after 5), driven by idiots like Mike and Mike, who are part of a very small profession (morning radio people) who can a) not watch anything after a certain time in the evening; and b) can watch all afternoon if they wish. These sorts of idiotic pushes seem like a much better use of outrage than the fact that MSNBC isn't showing Lindsey Vonn live …

James:

I have to disagree with all the people who are complaining about the Olympics being on tape delay. I mean, aside from one or two "television event" per year (a la the Sopranos finale), live sports are the last bastion of the Networks' glory days, where you have to suffer through whatever shit they shovel at you; everything else you can just DVR. If NBC showed ANY live sports in prime time, I'd feel compelled to watch 4 hours of ads, human interest stories, interviews, and figure skating, every fucking night for two weeks, just to feel the thrill of watching live competition. But since everything is on tape delay and I already know the results, I can just DVR it, and watch the actual-sports parts in 20 minutes while I eat breakfast, without losing any of the thrill.

Christine H.:

The worst part of the NBC coverage isn't just the tape delays, lack of quality coverage, etc. it's the utter STUPIDITY of tape delaying marquee viewing events like Evan Lysacek's performance in the men's short program until almost FREAKING MIDNIGHT last night! Everyone already knew from the web that he had nailed his performance, so if you wanted to watch it — which presumably is NBC's goal in tape delaying marquee events: to get you to tune in during prime time when you know something cool is going happen — you had to gag through three plus hours of inane commentary and fluff pieces interspersed with snippets of actual competition to see Lysacek's routine at 11:35PM. NBC is really going to force/count on us to stay up that late to watch men's figure skating? I kept muting the sound while I folded laundry and surfed the web and didn't even pay attention until Fabulous Johnny Weir and Lysacek finally performed late in the evening. If it had been on earlier I would have watched the whole thing, commercials and all. Stupid NBC morons, what a wretched display of broadcast sports scheduling.

Corey:

I'm just as pissed off as everyone about the abortion that is NBC's Olympic coverage, but let's face it, we all saw this coming from NBC. This happened with the Beijing games in '08, and tape delays have been a tradition with NBC's French Open and Wimbledon coverage. It's annoying, it's frustrating, it's idiotic, it's borderline in defensible, it's the type of quality we've come to expect from NBC. I've reached the point where I hope the ABC/ESPN monster somehow outbids NBC for the 2014 Soci games. As bad as ESPN is, at least they'd show shit live (i.e. Australian Open).

Apparently Lindsey Vonn had a nice start to her games, I'll let you know in six-eight hours if that's true.

StuScottBooyahs:

I'll add to the bitching. I don't particularly care about the Olympics, but I happened to tune it to women's cross-country skiing over lunch, and they show the slow-motion replays of them crossing the finish line with some weird, mystical fantasy music. I'm at a loss for words.

myotherrideisyourmom:

Ok, it's bad enough that NBC's Olympic coverage makes me want to gouge out my fucking eyeballs. However, the bigger issue is here that no one warned me that I would also have to listen to Cris ass face fucking Collinsworth in addition to dealing with NBC's bullshit. It's like some bizarre form of torture. This ass pirate has already completely ruined Sunday night football and let's not forget that every time I want to play Madden I have to mute the damn TV. Now I have to listen to him shoot the shit with Bob Costas and offer his two cents on the Olympic events. YOU WERE A FUCKING FOOTBALL PLAYER! What the hell do you know about luge, bobsledding or alpine skiing? It's like the perfect shit storm. You can't watch the Olympics live and then you get audibly raped by that douche bag!

Ian:

I found while watching USA v. SUI mens hockey yesterday the broadcast audio is MUCH MUCH lower than the commercial feed, which much like TV broadcasts, is cranked up to grab the attention of the viewer. However, when on my PC/Laptop, I'm only about 3 feet from my speakers...I got nailed by a commercial for a cold/sinus drug that opened with raucous snoring.

I spilled my coffee and almost shit my pants, it was that much of a bump in volume. For shame NBC.

Pat W.:

I think it would be cool if you guys somehow figured out how much of nbc's olympic coverage was actually spent on the actual sport itself instead of commercials and bob costas touchy feely shit. Kinda like what you did for the nfl games.

Chris S.:

Why can't NBC show an event twice? I just got hardcore spoiled by ESPN.com when they had Lindsey Vonn's winning a gold medal as their top story on the homepage. ... If the amount of time they spend showing actual events being contested is greater than the time spent by Mary Carillo telling the story of Boo-Boo the lesbian polar bear with leukemia or Cris Collinsworth and Bob Costas bullshitting about Vonn's shin instead of showing her skiing, I will be fucking shocked. At least Leno isn't announcing hockey.

Sean H.

What happened to the red, white and blue channel theme that went on a few years back? How come I cannot watch this events live WHEN I AM IN THE SAME TIME ZONE AS THE GAMES?!

The answer, Ad revenue...I know I know. But if that is the case, why can I still not at least stream these games live over the internet without cable/satellite service? Hell, I might actually even PAY for that. It must be that the shit show that you are subjecting us to provides the greatest return on the investment. This is too bad, because these games get less and less relevant the harder they get to watch. In the end this is ultimately a slap in the face to those athletes that have sacrificed so much to make it there and represent this great nation.

NBC, clearly not a proud sponsor of the US Olympic Team.

Nicole:

A few days ago I searched Google to find places to voice my disgust with NBC's lack of televised Olympic programming. Using the search phrase, "NBC Olympic television coverage sucks," I found a plethora of websites discussing the NBC suckage. Included in the search results was a thread on NBC's message board entitled, "Unhappy with something about the Olympic coverage? - NBC" (link to Google cache version). The topic indicated people could vent their frustrations about Olympic coverage. People did. To date, 350+ posts.

I bookmarked the site and venture to it often, as I thoroughly enjoy reading all the butt-kicking NBC is receiving. Yesterday, I noticed that the thread title has been inexplicably changed to a more benignly neutral, "Got thoughts about this year's Olympics?" and the first post has been reworded to match the new thread title. I thought I had clicked on the wrong bookmark, or that maybe the Unhappy thread had been moved or deleted. Nope, I soon figured out that NBC had just changed the thread title.

Methinks NBC is attempting to hide the thread from Google's search engine. "Olympic," "coverage," and "NBC" are the most obvious search terms people will use to find sites to read about, and vent their frustration regarding, NBC's abysmal Olympic coverage. By removing those key search terms from the thread title, NBC is trying to bury the thread deep in the bowels of search results for NBC Olympic coverage, making it harder for people to find.

To thwart NBC's sneaky tactics to bury the "Got thoughts about this year's Olympics?" thread on Google, it would be great if you could post a link to it on your site so it can get lots of attention. :-)

Adam C.

After reading all this Olbermann nonsense, I figured I'd be all set to watch the Sweden-Germany game on MSNBC at 8 tonight, when it was listed. At 7:50, of course, I get a message from my friend about some pass Peter Forsberg made. This is because the game actually started at 7:30, a full half-hour before nbcolympics.com said it was to start. So I start watching the game at 7:50. And I am able to watch for exactly 10 minutes, because promptly at 8, the feed cuts out for Countdown. Keith Olbermann can kiss every part of my ass.

Maria:

The rest of the world counts first the number of gold medals then silver then bronze. They do not tally on the basis of total medal haul of whatever color. A gold does not have the same weight as a silver or a bronze. A gold medal symbolizes a championship. The world counts championships won and not who has the best runners-up collection. This is not pre-school soccer.

I'm afraid that NBC is feeding a false sense of american exceptionalism. The world snickers at americans for this kind of tallying because it seems the americans only do this system because it clearly favors them.

Brian H.:

Here is where the sure brilliance of NBC factored in. Bob Costas: "blah... blah... the three skiers to crash today were not seriously hurt." What about the girl that crashed and had to be medevaced off the mountain by helicopter?? Christ NBC, at least have a modicum of journalistic integrity in your reporting. Six women, not three, crashed or otherwise did not finish the race. One crash resulted in a helicopter being called in and delayed the race for nearly 20 minutes.

What about the Canadian skier Georgia Simmerling who mysteriously did not start? How about showing Alice McKennis valiantly attempting to keep on course and miraculously making a gate before being disqualified? How about the fact that there were two South American sisters competing in the race which is dominated by the Northern Hemisphere?

So NBC, wtf?

Reed N.

I read your site to laugh like retard with an icecream cone and Bill Simmons is about as close to religion as I get, so I guess I consider you guys my John Stuart Mill, the perfect juxtaposition to the bullshit I call truth. But the lack of an entire front page devoted to the freight-trainwreck that is Cross-Country skiing is a travesty.
Enjoying Cross-Country Skiing is like saying you watch popcorn pop as an activity. It is the equivalent of a second viewing of Music & Lyrics, in fact I think I switched over to that instead of Olympic coverage during the procession of douche movers in one piece neoprenes falling over at the end of a race that carried about as much suspense as an ABC Family dramady. Who the fuck turns on that nonsense and goes, 'This is enjoyable, in fact, for the next three hours I will be content with this coverage'? In nine seconds of viewing time, I would have rather hammered nails into my forearm.

Ryan G.

I see all this bitching and moaning about NBC's Olympic coverage, and while most of it is deserved, where are the complaints about how ESPN is covering them? They open SportsCenter with a picture of Tiger Woods jogging, proceed to talk about the garbage NBA for 5 minutes and Tiger for 5 more before breezing through coverage of yesterdays events in 2 minutes, then its right back to the NBA. The "World Wide Leader" in what is hip and trendy has spent more time dissecting a Shaun White or Tony Hawk X-Games win over a tri-fecta of USA Olympic gold medals.

Erik:

Idol lost big to the pretaped airing of the women's downhill last night. There's nothing we can do now to change this. I officially am ashamed to be an American.

I mean this ain't Grey's Anatomy man this is SPORTS

Paula:

Curling: It's on live in the morning here on the West Coast so it's the only show in town. ... Here is how NBC hurts me. The sport doesn't have enough time outs for the network to wait and load up on minutes worth of commercials. So it doesn't matter to NBC, apparently that some of their breaks come as one of the "ends" is ready to be decided and points are about to be awarded. And the breaks can be as long as 4-5 mintues with added promos for shows on CNBC or CNBC.com.

It's the equivalent of breaking from a football game when they are 4th and goal. And then coming back after the score or failure, after the kick-off after a score or after the next set of downs for the team that pulled off the goal line stand. AND THEN NOT HAVE REPLAY OF THE ACTION WE MISSED.

Finally, the angriest (and greatest) email of all. I just hope this is the one that caused him to change his email

————— Forwarded message —————
From: Maureen W.
Date: Thu, Feb 18, 2010 at 1:39 AM
Subject: I hate you bald fat fuck
To: dick.ebersol@nbcuni.com
Cc: ajd@deadspin.com

Dear dickface,

I lost my job several months ago. My mother just died. I had a fucking tumor removed from my fucking lady business recently. and do you know what's worse than all that? YOUR TOTAL FUCKING DISREGARD FOR SPORT. My husband & I both love the Olympics, and you have absolutely mother fucking ruined them for us (both of us being smack dab in the center of your target demographic, by the way. Just a couple of white people with money to burn, looking to enjoy the world's greatest sports competition and find out what we should purchase next with all of our disposable income). We live two goddamned hours from Vancouver, imagine our surprise when we discovered that people in fucking brooklyn would be watching events live, while we poor idiots on the ENTIRE WEST COAST could all just suck what I assume is your non-functional cock until you felt like showing them to us. Guess what Dick? ITS NOT 1963!! FUCK YOU and the shit "job" that you do there. NBC fucked me on Conan, and now you are fucking me on the Olympics. I'm all fucked out Dick - I'm done with you and your whole shitty crew. Enjoy the total irrelevance your stupidty and incompetence has guaranteed you and your "industry."

If you have anything to say in your defense, please feel more than free to email a reply. Just ask your assistant how to turn on your computer. You do have a computer right? You totally should, its a really good place to get live coverage of the Olympics.

Fuck you,
Maureen Whitney

p.s. we remember the turd you laid called the XFL, Dick. Everyone remembers.