My wife and I watched the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremonies on NBC taped delayed because NBC had exclusive North American rights to the broadcast and streaming of the content. We were immediately dismayed as the commentators Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira started talking over the music. We grew increasingly frustrated and angry that they kept interrupting the performance to add completely unnecessary details and personal opinion about the artistic display. It was obvious that NBC thinks American audiences are too stupid to watch a well produced artistic performance from London without a stream of inane details and commentary about what they are watching
The Olympics hire an artist to create this beautiful spectacle. One in which he decides exactly what images and sounds to deploy to set the mood, tell the story he wants to tell. And television producers insert their own explanation on top of it. Often obliterating the content they are showing.
NBC couldn’t stop themselves from explaining the most mundane of things in the broadcast. Things that would become apparent to the viewer if they just let it happen.
I realize that viewers in the U.S. might not know that the Doctors and Nurses on the screen were from the National Health Service but that fact wasn’t essential to the story that was being told. It could have been explained later.
And really..you have to talk over the Chariots of Fire music to explain who Rowan Atkinson is? First most people know who he is and second again it isn’t important WHO he is it. The point was the performance. It spoke for itself.
Later during the Parade of Nations NBC did a much better job. That is a time for giving me facts and information that I wouldn’t otherwise know. There isn’t anything terribly artistic about people marching into the Stadium. I want to see what they are wearing and who is with them, but giving me factoids then was appropriate and for the most part well executed. But during an artistic performance it was stunningly poor broadcasting to ruin it with discussions of politics, history, and opinion about the looks of the performers.
Overall I give the opening ceremonies coverage by NBC an F-.
UPDATE: And even more shocking and unforgivable NBC decides to cut an entire segment of the performance which was a very somber and elegant dance number remembering terrorism victims from the London bombings in 2005. What did we see instead? A very bad interview with Michael Phelps by Ryan Seacrest. You can view the missing segment here.