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And So It Begins: 'Today's' Annoying Olympics Coverage

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 12th 2010 12:29PM
Roker and Lauer on the two-man luge at the 2006 Torino OlympicsAlthough I'm generally a 'Today' show loyalist, for the next two weeks, I'm going to be a 'Good Morning America' fan.

Why? Three words: The Winter Olympics.

Every two years, since NBC started carrying the Olympics, they turn their top-rated morning news show into essentially the Games' morning recap show. Sure, you still get that first half hour of pure news, but after that, the show becomes all-Olympics, all the time, from examining the personal stories of the athletes, to travelogues about whatever exotic locale the Games are in that year, to deep, 'SportsCenter'-like examination of the previous night's results.

But that's not the part that annoys me the most. When the hosts go out and try to do the Olympic sports themselves, the cringe factor goes up exponentially. Especially when Matt Lauer and Al Roker are involved.

I still can't shake the image of a Lycra-clad Lauer and Roker doing the two-man luge at Torino in 2006. Going back to the video and listening to the two, who have talked about their bromance on multiple occasions, joke about the fact that Roker was going to go on top of Lauer made me shudder. Not that there's anything wrong with that, as Jerry Seinfeld once said; still, the imagery was just too much for me to bear.



This was in between the pair's Athens synchronized swimming and their Beijing rhythmic gymnastics adventures. Is it the 'Today' producers' mission to put these guys in as many homoerotic sports as they can find? What's this year's pairing going to be, ice dancing?

And it won't end there. I'm sure we'll see lots of Vancouver-area misadventures from the rest of the crew: Natalie Morales trying her hand at curling, Meredith Vieira stumbling around the slopes, Ann Curry emoting her way through the biathlon, and Jenna Wolfe making herself the center of attention (the last thing is a safe bet, because that's what she does every time she's on camera).

Look, I don't begrudge NBC for trying to promote their massive Olympic investment at any chance they can get; they're already going to lose $200 million on the Games, so they want to pump up the ratings as much as they can. And the first few days of Olympic stories are a nice respite from being hammered over the head with cooking segments, how many calories we're consuming segments, and the show's increasing focus towards tabloid stories. But two weeks of this is just too much.

So, 'GMA,' you've got my attention for the next fortnight. Maybe Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos will make me a permanent convert.

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John

Yeah, the Today show is hard to watch when covering the Olympics, but I have to say, I feel like this whole thing is choreographed. I might throw up if I have to watch another Matt Lauer interview of Lindsey Vonn. Amazing how she overcame her "injury" and won the gold by about an hour an a half. Its funning how she has managed to get around and tape every possible interview she can find on that sore leg. If a camera is running, Lindsey will be there. Hard luck stories just don't fly anymore with me with all the advertising dollars that are thrown at the athletes, and even more money is available when the "cute" ones decide that they will pose in SI or FHM or Maxxim. It might make for better TV if, instead of showing where the athlete grew up, show all the nudey pictures of them floating around...

February 20 2010 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JennyL

As opposed to the usual Today Show hard hitting investigative reports on purses and shoes.

February 12 2010 at 7:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joseph Singer

NBC screwed the pooch as far as I'm concerned when they refused to offer live coverage to their west coast audiences. Vancouver's in the Pacific time zone fercryinoutloud. Don't expect to see any coverage of anything unless the US is involved.

February 12 2010 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wallflower

LOL--so true about Jenna Wolf!

February 12 2010 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

They should have taken the Games away from NBC years ago. With NBC the coverage the games have become about everything but the sporting events. I'm sorry, screw the woman demo-graphics, if I hear another (and we will) story of an athelete overcoming some hardship, Ahhhhh! If you don't like the events don't watch. I wish they woulf give the Games to anyone ekse, ESPN? I saw more events back in the day when ABC had them. And it was only one channel. I want to see all the skiers run the downhill, not just the Americans. It's a world event show everyone. Ilove the Games but am always dissapointed with NBC's coverage.

February 12 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John's comment
Kathy

I so agree about the coverage. They don't even show any full sporting event! There is more anchors during the olympics than the sports themselves. Please, in the future, just stick to the sporting events!

March 04 2010 at 10:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RJ

Awesome, I think I'll be taping 'Today' to watch later in the evening. I stopped reading the article after the headline.

February 12 2010 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RJ's comment
Jcat

Congrats on your jerkwad post Robert. Hope you enjoy your taped Today shows over the next two weeks. Most people wouldn't touch that televised turd fest with a 10 ft. pole.

February 12 2010 at 2:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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