Winter Olympics to Get Record Coverage on TV

Times Staff Writer

NBC and its sister cable channels, USA, MSNBC and CNBC, will televise a record 416 hours of coverage from the Winter Olympics at Turin, Italy, Feb. 10-26, the network announced Tuesday.

That’s an average of 24 1/2 hours a day over the 17 days.

The previous record for a Winter Olympics was 375 1/2 by NBC, CNBC and MSNBC from Salt Lake City in 2002.

The Turin coverage will have the most high-definition availability of any Olympics, and for the first time, the HD coverage will be the same as the regular coverage. Only some skiing events and a few other sports, such as curling and luge, will not be televised in high definition.


The cable coverage on USA, MSNBC and CNBC will not be in high definition, but much of that coverage will be simulcast in HD on a separate channel, Universal HD.

Despite a six-hour time difference between the U.S. East Coast and Italy, much of the coverage on NBC will be shown live in the East. But the NBC prime-time coverage will be shown on a three-hour delay in the West.

NBC refers to these Games as the Torino Winter Olympics. Torino is the Italian name for the city, and the name used by the Torino Olympic Organizing Committee.

Bob Costas will be working his sixth Olympics for NBC as the prime-time host.

Jim Lampley, who will anchor NBC’s daytime and late-night telecasts, will be working his 13th Olympics, a record for a broadcaster. Lampley previously shared the record of 12 with ABC’s Jim McKay.

A newcomer for NBC will be Dick Button, ABC’s long-time figure-skating analyst. He will be co-host of “Olympic Ice,” a daily show on USA, and also will be the analyst for the figure skating pairs competition. Button will work with host Mary Carillo and analyst Scott Hamilton on “Olympic Ice.”

“Torino will be the 16th Winter Olympics that I have either competed in, commented on, witnessed or been involved in -- and it will be one of the most enjoyable for me because I’ll have the chance every night to talk about, or laugh with, or cry over, or marvel at the present state of figure skating,” Button said.


Another newcomer for NBC will be Lesley Visser, on loan from CBS, who will be the reporter for the short-track speedskating coverage.

NBC bought the rights to these Winter Olympics in 1995 as part of a $3.5-billion deal that gave the network the rights to every Olympics, Summer and Winter, from 2000 to 2008. In a $2.2-billion deal done in 2003, NBC also got the rights to the 2010 Winter Games and the 2012 Summer Games.

The coverage on NBC will be in three parts: daytime, prime time and late night, totaling 182 1/2 hours of coverage. Seventy-one of those hours will be repeated coverage.

There will be 233 1/2 hours of cable coverage on USA, MSNBC and CNBC, with more than 75% of it live, both in the East and West. There were 207 hours of cable coverage on CNBC and MSNBC from Salt Lake.

Dick Ebersol, NBC Sports chairman, said all 54 games of both the men’s and women’s hockey tournaments would be seen live, marking the first time in U.S. television history that the entire Olympic women’s tournament will be televised.

All Team USA hockey games and the men’s and women’s gold-medal games will be shown commercial-free and in their entirety. The women’s gold medal game will be shown live on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 20, on NBC. The men’s gold medal game will be shown live on the final day of Olympic competition, Sunday, Feb. 26, on NBC.


“Our hockey coverage is a fan’s dream come true,” Ebersol said.

“Die-hard fans should mark their calendars for Wednesday, Feb. 22. It will be the single greatest day in hockey -- all of the game’s biggest stars will compete in the men’s quarterfinals as the world’s eight best teams all face off.”

Channel 4’s Fred Roggin will be working his fourth Olympics for NBC, serving as the host of curling on CNBC’s weekday coverage and MSNBC’s weekend shows.

Bill Macatee will serve as the studio host for the USA network’s 101 1/2 hours of coverage. Bill Clement will serve as the host of the hockey coverage on MSNBC, CNBC and USA. The Mighty Ducks’ Brian Hayward will be among the hockey analysts.

MSNBC will provide 71 hours of coverage from Turin, highlighted by 24 live hockey games, and CNBC will offer 61 hours of coverage.