NBC hoping Olympic success rubs off on prime-time schedule
The Olympic flame in Beijing was extinguished six days ago, but NBC is still basking in the afterglow of the success it enjoyed broadcasting the Summer Games.
The network achieved high ratings, thanks in large part to United States swimmer Michael Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals. And the talented gold-medal U.S. women’s beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh helped, too.
NBC Universal, parent company of NBC Sports, probably did very well financially, as well.
But now comes the hard part for NBC. The Olympics’ success must translate into success with its prime-time programming. The new season begins Sept. 22.
It’s no secret that NBC has been struggling with its prime-time schedule. Gone are the days of its “Must-See TV” lineup. In particular, NBC’s Thursday schedule, which, at one time, featured “The Cosby Show,” “Cheers,” “Seinfeld” and “ER,” was impossible to beat. Yes, “ER” is still around, but it is on life support. This season will be the show’s last.
Now, NBC has very few hit shows.
“The Office,” “My Name Is Earl,” “30 Rock,” “Deal or No Deal” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” are about the only consistent ratings winners for the network. NBC has been battling to stay out of the Nielsen Ratings basement the last few years.
If you were watching the Summer Olympics, you saw NBC heavily promoting its shows, especially the new ones. The new programs that seemed to get the most attention were a comedy called “Kath & Kim,” starring former “Saturday Night Live” performer Molly Shannon, and a Christian Slater drama entitled “My Own Worst Enemy,” in which he plays two different characters: one is a family man, the other a killer.
Some returning shows were heavily promoted, too, like “Law
& Order: SVU,” “Chuck,” “Life,” and “The Biggest Loser: Couples.”
But it will be important for the new shows to help NBC return to prominence. If the shows get poor ratings early on, NBC will most likely pull the plug on them. All that promotion during the Olympics will have been wasted, and there will be no more afterglow for the network.
After calling 25 team handball games in 17 days and the fencing gold-medal match for NBC Universal during the Summer Olympics, WNYT (Ch. 13) weekend sports anchor Andrew Catalon is back at his regular job.
Most of Catalon’s work was on MSNBC. He got a bonus when NBC televised the fencing final because the United States was in it.
“I enjoyed every minute of it, and it was humbling to be a small part of NBC’s incredible Olympics coverage,” Catalon said. “It was the most rewarding experience of my life.”
Here are the college football and NFL games that will be televised over the next week. Announcers, in order of play-by-play, analyst and sideline reporter, are in parentheses.
ESPN Classic — Appalachian State at LSU, 11 a.m. (Sean McDonough/Chris Spielman/Rob Stone),
ESPN and ESPN HD — Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina, noon (Dave Pasch/Andre Ware); Illinois vs. Missouri, 8:30 p.m. (Mark Jones/Bob Davie/Todd Harris).
ESPN2 and ESPN HD — Syracuse at Northwestern, noon (Pam Ward/Ray Bentley); Utah at Michigan, 3:30 p.m. (Terry Gannon/David Norrie/Jeanine Edwards); Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech, 6:45 p.m. (Bob Wischusen/Brock Huard).
ESPNU — Bowling Green at Pittsburgh, noon (Dave Armstrong/Larry Coker); Delaware at Maryland, 3:45 p.m. (Doug Bell/Charles Arbuckle), this game wil be simulcast on ESPN; Boston College at Kent State, 7:30 p.m. (Clay Matvick/David Diaz-Infante); Prairie View A&M at Texas Southern (same-day tape), 10:30 p.m. (Dwayne Ballen/Eddie Robinson Jr.).
MY4 (WNYA) — Hawaii at Florida, 12:30 p.m. (Dave Neal/Dave Archer/Dave Baker).
ABC (WTEN Ch. 10 and WTEN HD) — Southern California at Virginia, 3:30 p.m. (Brad Nessler/Bob Griese and Paul
Maguire/Stacey Dales); Alabama at Clemson, 8 p.m. (Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Lisa Salters and Erin Andrews).
MSG Plus — Oklahoma State vs. Washington State, 3:30 p.m. (Brian Davis/Tony Boselli/Dain Blanton); Washington at
Oregon, 10 p.m. (Barry Tompkins/Petros Papadakis/Michael Evans).
SNY — Villanova at West Virginia, 3:30 p.m. (John Sanders/Rene Nadeau).
CBS College Sports — Towson at Navy, 3:30 p.m. (Tom Hart/Trev Alberts).
Versus — Texas Christian at New Mexico, 6 p.m. (Joe Beninati/Glenn Parker/Tim Neverett).
ESPN2 — MEAC/SWAC Challenge: Jackson State vs. Hampton, 2 p.m. (Charlie Neal/Jay Walker/Quint Kessenich).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Kentucky at
Louisville, 3:30 p.m. (Joe Tessitore/Rod Gilmore).
MSG Plus — Colorado State vs. Colorado, 7:30 p.m. (Joel Meyers/Dave Lapham/Jim Knox).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Fresno State at Rutgers, 4 p.m. (Dave Pasch/Andre Ware/Rob Stone); Tennessee at UCLA, 8 p.m. (Mike Patrick/Todd Blackledge/Holly Rowe).
ESPNU — Florida A&M at Delaware State, 7:30 p.m. (announcers TBA).
CBS College Sports — North Alabama at Carson Newman, 8 p.m. (Tom Hart/Roland Williams).
ESPN and ESPN HD — South Carolina at Vanderbilt, 8:30 p.m. (Chris Fowler/Craig James and Jesse Palmer/Erin Andrews).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Navy at Ball State, 7 p.m. (Joe Tessitore/Rodney Gilmore).
NBC (WNYT Ch. 13 an WNYT HD) — Washington at N.Y. Giants, 7 p.m. (Al Michaels/John Madden/Andrea Kremer).
MSG will have live coverage of the Woodward Stakes, featuring 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin, at 5:30 p.m. today. . . .
WOFX-AM (980) will have a conflict today with UAlbany football and the Mets. The station will air the Great Danes game against Massachusetts at 6 p.m., and join the Mets-Marlins game after the football game. . . .
WTMM-FM (104.5) and WENT-AM (1340) will have a baseball
double-header Monday. The stations will air the Yankees-Tigers game at 1 p.m., and the Orioles-Red Sox at 7 p.m. . . .
“Inside Pro Football” returns for a second season starting Friday at
5 p.m. on WOFX. Ray Brownell and J.R. Rickett host the show. . . .
With WRGB (Ch. 6) scheduled to show the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon on Monday, WCWN (Ch. 45) will carry the U.S. Open tennis tournament starting at 11 a.m.