September 21, 2000

Does Anyone Care?

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NBC is just realizing that the 2000 Olympic games are attracting the worst ratings ever. Should this be a surprise? There was hardly any interest in the games in the weeks preceding the opening ceremonies.

Dennis Miller’s weekly progress report for Monday Night Football received more coverage than the Olympic trials.

Sydney 2000 has been clearly marked to be the least watched Olympics in recent memory. Not only is the Olympic committee teeming with corruption and extortion, but also the athletes are saturated with performance enhancing drugs. Who would want to watch a bunch of doped up athletes play in events sponsored by bribe taking bureaucrats?

Meanwhile all the results from Sydney are posted on every sports web page 15 hours before they are broadcasted. The events are old news competing for ratings against live TV.

In addition to these explanations, NBC scapegoats the athletes. The Times reported that according to NBC, the American Olympians are not interesting enough nor have they had inspiring performances.

The press thinks that the athletes are bland, evidenced by the fact that it embraced only two stories prior to Sydney: Marion Jones’s quest for five gold medals and the men’s 200 meter race.

The competition in the 200 meters between the trash-talking Maurice Green and Michael Johnson became as lame as the two sprinters when they both pulled up during the Olympic trials.

Marion dropped out of sight after the trials to avoid the pre-Sydney hype in the U.S. creating a denouement just as the games entered the public conscious.

There are many other human interest stories that NBC has just discovered, such as Diana Muntz, who survived a debilitating car accident to win silver in the women’s 400 meter freestyle. The network happened to forget to air all these stories before the games, but is compensating with a Bob Costas narration of every other athlete’s biography.

The lackluster American performances that NBC complains of has placed the U.S. at the very top of the medal counts. Yes, the women’s and men’s gymnastics teams finished poorly. On the whole, our athletes have been competing tremendously and it is absurd to belittle their accomplishments.

Maybe the American’s dominance is undermining viewership. Men’s basketball has already prepared its victory speech. Besides, if the marquee players such as Kobe Bryant, Shaq and Tim Duncan do not consider the honor of competing for one’s own country as important as eight figure paychecks, why should fellow Americans tune in. Where is Michael Jordan when you need him?

The U.S. women’s soccer team already won the gold in Atlanta and the World Cup. Same old, same old.

If the network is attempting to attract viewers, why do they show the most interesting events after three hours of archery and scull races?

Robert A. Iger, president of the Walt Disney Company, found an alternative reason for the decreased ratings: “It doesn’t help that the kids are in school.”

NBC ought to stop making excuses, fire the insufferable Bob Costas, and replace him with Robin Williams.

Although kids wouldn’t mind another break in the school calendar.

Archived article by Amanda Angel