[01/10/06 - 12:00 AM]
Nbcu's Unprecedented Winter Olympic Coverage Announced

[via press release from NBC]



Most Winter Olympics Coverage in History: 416 Hours on NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC HD, Universal HD and NBCOlympics.com

Costas, Lampley Lead Talented Announce Team Including Best Olympic Figure Skating Broadcast Team Ever Assembled Featuring Button, Hamilton and Sale & Pelletier

NEW YORK -- January 10, 2006 -- NBC Universal's unprecedented coverage of the Torino Olympic Winter Games features the most coverage -- including the most live coverage -- across the most platforms of any Winter Olympics in history when the XX Olympic Winter Games from Torino, Italy commence one month from today, Feb. 10-26. The Networks of NBC Universal, NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC HD and Universal HD will provide 416 total hours of coverage, an increase over the 375.5 hours of coverage on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC from Salt Lake, the previous record for a Winter Games. The Torino coverage will include the most live coverage ever of a Winter Games, despite the six-hour time difference between the U.S. East Coast and Italy, and will feature the most high definition coverage in Olympic television history. Over the 17 days of the Torino Games the Networks of NBC Universal will average 24.5 hours of Olympic coverage per day. The announcement was made today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and Executive Producer of NBC's Olympic coverage.

Seventeen-time Emmy Award winner Bob Costas returns as primetime host for the Torino Winter Games, his seventh with NBC Sports and his sixth as primetime host. Costas has won the Emmy Award for each Olympics he has served as primetime host. Jim Lampley will work his 13th Olympics, surpassing ABC's legendary Jim McKay with the most-ever Olympic broadcast assignments for any television commentator. He will anchor NBC's daytime and late night Olympic telecasts in his sixth Olympics with NBC.

For the first time, legendary skating analyst Dick Button joins NBC Universal's Winter Games coverage, co-hosting the newest addition to the NBC Olympic schedule, "Olympic Ice," a unique show on USA Network providing a daily all-access pass inside the Olympic Winter Games' most popular sport -- figure skating.

"I am thrilled that we have expanded our Olympic coverage and have assembled the best collection of winter sports broadcasters to tell the many great stories that are expected to unfold in Torino." Ebersol said. "Fortunately our company has continued to grow and create new platforms in which we can bring the Olympics to the viewer, so we can tell as many of these stories as possible."

NBC's Olympic broadcast team has won a combined 19 Olympic medals (11 gold, three silver, five bronze). The NBC Olympic figure skating team alone has won six (five gold and one bronze).

NBCOlympics.com, America's online home of the Torino Games, will provide live results, up-to-the-minute TV listings, breaking news, feature stories and a video intensive digital media experience never before offered by an American television network.

Following are programming and production details by network:


The NBC network schedule is divided into three dayparts: daytime, primetime and late night, totaling 182.5 hours of coverage (121.5 original hours) over 17 days. Network primetime coverage, hosted by Costas, begins on Friday, Feb. 10 with the Opening Ceremony, and will feature the Winter Games' marquee sports, including figure skating, alpine skiing, speed skating, short track, snowboarding, ski jumping and freestyle skiing. All of the biggest athletes will compete in primetime, including Salt Lake short track star Apolo Anton Ohno, snowboarding champions Shaun White and Lindsay Jacobellis, 2005 alpine skiing world champions Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller and the stars of the Winter Olympics' most popular sport -- figure skating.

Tom Hammond will host all of NBC's figure skating coverage with analysts Scott Hamilton, Button and Sandra Bezic and reporter Andrea Joyce. Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist who has earned the moniker "Skate God" in skating circles, will provide analysis for the men's and ladies' competition. Button, the distinguished skating analyst and two-time Olympic gold medalist, will provide analysis for the pairs competition with Bezic, a former Canadian pairs champion and Emmy Award-winning skating choreographer. Button won his first Olympic gold medal in St. Moritz in 1948. His involvement in the Olympics and the sport of figure skating spans seven decades.

"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," said Button. "My role will be to talk about what's going on in Torino, what's not going on and, most important, what should be going on. It will be the best theatre in town. I wouldn't miss it for anything."

Hamilton and Bezic will provide analysis for the men's and ladies' competition. Tracy Wilson, 1988 Olympic ice dancing bronze medalist, rejoins NBC as analyst alongside Bezic for the ice dancing competition, which will include the top USA duo, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, who won the silver medal at the 2005 World Championships and could become the first Americans to win a medal in this event since 1976. Belbin, who was born in Canada and did not expect to be able to represent the USA in 2006, became a U.S. citizen on December 31, just 41 days before the Opening Ceremony.

Dan Hicks will provide play-by-play on speed skating alongside 1994 Olympic gold medalist Dan Jansen with Melissa Stark reporting.

Ted Robinson provides play-by-play at short track speed skating with two-time U.S. Olympian Dan Weinstein as analyst and reporter Lesley Visser making her NBC debut in her fourth Olympic broadcast assignment.

Julie Foudy, 1996 Olympic gold medalist as the captain and 17-year veteran of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team, makes her Winter Olympic debut as a Sports Desk reporter.

Other Sportsdesk reporters include: Lester Holt, co-anchor of NBC's "Today" Weekend Edition, and anchor at MSNBC; award-winning Los Angeles Times investigative journalist Alan Abrahamson; longtime NBC News correspondent Bob Hager; NBC News correspondent Kevin Corke, and NBC News counter-terrorism analyst Roger Cressey.

In addition to the extensive primetime coverage, NBC will also provide daily daytime and late night programming, hosted by Lampley, from Torino. The daytime show will air from 4-5 p.m. ET on weekdays, with special expanded coverage on Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 20, and weekends, featuring live coverage. The always-entertaining Olympic late night show will blend additional competition, medal ceremonies, musical performances and, on weekdays, special Olympic editions of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."


The extended family of NBC Universal cable networks will present a total of 233.5 hours on USA, MSNBC and CNBC, more than 75 percent of which is live coverage, an increase from the 207 hours on CNBC and MSNBC from Salt Lake. Over 16 days of the Torino Games, the cable networks of NBC Universal will average 14 hours of Olympic coverage per day.

All 54 games of both the men's and women's hockey tournaments will be seen live on the networks of NBC Universal. This will mark 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 gold medal games, both men's and women's, will be broadcast commercial-free and in their entirety. The women's gold medal game will air live on President's Day, Monday, Feb. 20, on NBC. The men's gold medal game will air live on the final day of Olympic competition, Sunday, Feb. 26, on NBC.

"Our hockey coverage is a fan's dream come true, every U.S. game will be seen commercial free and in its entirety," 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."

Bill Clement, the former NHL All-Star and "NHL on NBC" host, will host hockey coverage on USA, MSNBC and CNBC, his fourth Olympic broadcast assignment and third for NBC. Ray Ferraro, an 18-year NHL veteran and "NHL on NBC" studio analyst, will provide analysis alongside Clement for men's games. Cammi Granato, a 1998 Olympic gold medalist and 2002 Olympic silver medalist, will work with Clement for women's games. Ferraro and Granato were married in 2004.

Mike Emrick (play-by-play), John Davidson (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (reporter) will comprise the lead men's Olympic broadcast team. Emrick will pair with AJ Mleczko, a 1998 Olympic gold medalist and 2002 Olympic silver medalist, as the lead team on women's games, with McGuire reporting.

Fred Roggin, the sports director at KNBC, will work his fourth Olympics for NBC as host of curling on CNBC's weekday coverage and MSNBC's weekend shows.

A total of 26 curling matches, with 15 matches shown live, will be seen on the NBC Universal cable networks with the highly entertaining team of play-by-play announcer Don Chevrier, analyst Don Duguid and reporter Elfi Schlegel reprising their roles from Salt Lake. Chevrier and Duguid earned critical praise and a cult following as ambassadors of the curiously mesmerizing sport during the Salt Lake Games.


USA Network, available in 89 million homes, is the cable home of the U.S. Olympic Team featuring live Olympic coverage in the mornings and afternoons with 101.5 hours of predominantly live coverage of Team USA in the Winter Games' two team sports: ice hockey and curling. All Team USA hockey games, both men's and women's, will be seen live, the majority on USA Network. USA Network will also feature a live curling match 11 of the 12 days of the Olympic curling tournament and live Nordic events. In total, 22 Olympic medals will be determined on USA Network.

Bill Macatee will serve as studio host for USA Network's Winter Olympic coverage.


The newest addition to the NBC Olympic schedule is "Olympic Ice," a unique programming concept on USA Network providing a daily all-access pass inside the Olympic Winter Games' most popular sport -- figure skating. The one-hour program, dedicated to an entertaining mix of breaking news, in-depth analysis and exclusive athlete interviews, will provide the most comprehensive coverage ever of the sport. The show will utilize the unparalleled experience of NBC's skating experts and the unique resources of NBC's production team to provide viewers an inside look into the world of Olympic figure skating. "Olympic Ice" launches the day of the Opening Ceremony, Friday, Feb. 10 and airs nightly through the Games' figure skating competition, 6-7 p.m. ET, on USA Network.

"Olympic Ice" will be hosted by Mary Carillo, her eighth Olympic assignment and fifth with NBC, with Button and Hamilton alternating as co-hosts. Jamie Sale and David Pelletier will serve as analysts on "Olympic Ice."

Sale and Pelletier were at the center of the 2002 Salt Lake judging scandal that eventually led to their shared gold medal, with the Russian pair Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze, and a new judging system for the sport. As millions of Americans watched Sale and Pelletier skate in the final, there was a public outcry following the decision to award the gold medal to the Russian pair. Following the investigation that uncovered the judging scandal that shook the integrity of the sport and became headline news around the globe, Sale and Pelletier were ultimately awarded a shared gold medal with the Russian skaters in a ceremony seen by 64 million Americans in primetime. The Canadian pair emerged from the Games with millions of fans around the world for the grace they demonstrated both on and off the ice during the scandal. The week following the Salt Lake Games the pair simultaneously graced the covers of both Newsweek and Time magazines. Sale and Pelletier were married in Dec. 2005.

"Figure skating is a sport with its own subculture filled with behind-the-scenes intrigue, fashion, glamour and tremendous drama," said Ebersol. "'Olympic Ice,' is a unique program with an incredible roster of talent, that will give viewers and the legions of loyal figure skating fans an unprecedented, all-access pass behind the scenes of skating's biggest stage."


MSNBC, available in 85 million homes, will provide 71 hours of Olympic coverage from Torino highlighted by 24 live hockey games, including quarterfinal, semifinal and medal round competition. On weekdays, MSNBC will be "The Hockey Channel" with all day live coverage of the men's and women's tournaments. MSNBC will also provide extensive curling coverage including medal round games. During the 2002 Salt Lake Games, MSNBC nearly quadrupled its rating to a 1.1/793,000 (from a .3/182,000 in Feb. 2001) for its Olympic coverage.


CNBC, available in 88 million homes, will be home to 61 hours of Winter Games coverage from 5-8 p.m. ET on weekdays following the "Closing Bell" and featuring curling, the "cult hit" of the Winter Olympics. CNBC will provide extensive live hockey coverage on weekends. During CNBC's live Olympic coverage during the 2002 Salt Lake Games, the network almost tripled its normal delivery to a 1.0 cable rating/837,000 HH (from a .4/293,000 during Feb. 2001).


The Torino Games will feature the most high definition coverage in Olympic television history. For the first time, Olympic HD viewers will see a simulcast of the analog broadcast -- same time, same broadcasters, same graphics -- but in High Definition and in 5.1 surround sound.

Figure skating, hockey, long and short track speed skating, ski jumping, freestyle aerials and moguls, and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will all be broadcast in 1080i high definition because those venues in Torino are wired for high definition coverage by the host broadcaster. From those venues where the host broadcaster is unable to provide a high definition signal, a 16:9 signal will be upconverted by NBC.

Your local NBC affiliate's digital channel will carry the high definition simulcast of the network coverage.


Since USA, MSNBC and CNBC, like most cable networks, do not have high definition platforms, Universal HD, NBC Universal's high definition cable network, will carry a live simulcast of much of the cable coverage, featuring Olympic hockey like it has never been seen before.


Telemundo, NBC Universal's Spanish-language network, will provide regular news updates, including a late night Olympic highlight show from Torino following NBC's Olympic late night show. Jessi Losada and Edgar Lopez will host Telemundo's Olympic highlight show with Leti Coo and Mara Montero reporting.


NBCOlympics.com, America's online home of the Torino Games, will provide live results, up-to-the-minute TV listings, breaking news, feature stories and a video intensive digital media experience never before offered by an American television network. NBCOlympics.com also will track performances of hometown Olympic athletes and cover local interest stories through 213 unique "Olympic Zones," Olympic sites produced in partnership with NBC affiliates. In addition to local programming information, the Olympic Zones will offer a multimedia experience including video from reporters in Torino. Through a new partnership, NBCOlympics.com will also be offered to the millions of monthly visitors to ESPN.com.

"For each of the past three Olympics NBCOlympics.com has redefined online event coverage," said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. "Through compelling video, up to-the-minute searchable schedules and listings, live results, blogs, athlete profiles, games and much more, we'll take fans closer to the athletes and games than ever before."

The site will feature extensive video including the runs and routines of all top athletes and produce highlight packages of the action for key games. NBCOlympics.com will be the only U.S.-based web site providing real-time, comprehensive results searchable by day, sport, event and athlete.

The Interactive Viewers Guide, traditionally one of the most trafficked portions of the site, will be even more important with the expanded coverage. Viewers will be able to sort the listings by sport, network, day and time, as well as search by keywords such as athlete, team or country. The TV listings will reflect the most up-to-date programming information. Site visitors who enter their zip code will receive localized listings that reflect the exact programming available from their local NBC affiliate, including digital affiliate channel locations for high-definition viewing or NBC Universal cable stations.

NBCOlympics.com will offer comprehensive blogs bringing the Olympic Games to site visitors. The blogs will draw upon NBC's Olympic commentators, producers, researchers and more, for the best news, photos, videos and information from the Games. Jacob Serino, friend/RV driver/chef/European sidekick of U.S. Salt Lake gold medalist Bode Miller, will blog for NBCOlympics.com through the Games as his friend Bode looks to capture alpine skiing gold in Torino. Also blogging for the site will be Olympic gold medalists and NBC commentators Picabo Street, Scott Hamilton, Dan Jansen, Cammi Granato, Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.

NBC began its online coverage of the Olympic Games in 1996 during the Atlanta Olympics. That Internet presence was dramatically increased in 2000 during NBC's Sydney Games coverage and again in Salt Lake in 2002 where the NBC web site became one of the web's most trafficked and critically acclaimed sports Internet sites. During the Athens Games, NBCOlympics.com earned critical acclaim and attracted 13.8 million unduplicated visitors, smashing the previous record for Summer Olympics Web site traffic. The 13.8 million visitors on average spent nearly 10 minutes on the site. More than seven million people turned to the NBCOlympics.com site for their television listings.


For the first time ever, NBC Universal will make Olympic video available Free On Demand during the Games. VOD content will feature more than 12 hours of coverage including daily 10-minute highlight videos and ten one-hour figure skating programs on participating cable and satellite systems, recapping the previous day's competition. Before the Games begin, free On Demand video will feature 21 programs, each approximately five minutes in length, including previews of many of the U.S. athletes expected to compete in Torino.


TV Guide Channel is providing both analog and digital navigation tools. TV Guide Channel, available in 80 Million homes, will feature Olympic previews and content that guides viewers to the multiple platform coverage throughout the day and night and an interactive program guide navigable directly from the menu screen in 7 million digital cable homes.

* * *

Check NBCOlympics.com and NBCUMV.com and for detailed listings and additional programming information. Listings updates will be available on NBCOlympics.com during the Games.

A complete list of NBC commentators for the 2006 Torino Olympic Winter Games follows:


Bob Costas - NBC Primetime Host
Jim Lampley - NBC Daytime Host - NBC Late Night Host
Bill Clement - USA, MSNBC & CNBC Hockey Host
Bill Macatee - USA Network Host
Fred Roggin - USA, CNBC & MSNBC Curling Host
Mary Carillo - USA Network "Olympic Ice" Host
Dick Button - USA Network "Olympic Ice" Co-Host
Scott Hamilton - USA Network "Olympic Ice" Co-Host


Play-by-Play: Tim Ryan
Analyst: Todd Brooker
Reporters: Stever Porino, Lewis Johnson

Play-by-Play: Len Berman
Analyst: Chad Salmela

Play-by-Play: Bob Papa
Analysts: Carol Lewis, John Morgan
Reporter: Bob Neumier

Play-by-Play: Al Trautwig
Analyst: Paul Robbins
Reporter: Dwight Stones

Play-by-Play: Don Chevrier
Analyst: Don Duguid
Reporter: Elfi Schlegel

Play-by-Play: Tom Hammond
Analysts:, Scott Hamilton (men's, ladies), Dick Button (pairs), Sandra Bezic (men's, ladies, pairs, ice dancing), Tracy Wilson (ice dancing)
Reporter: Andrea Joyce

Play-by-Play: Steve Podborski
Analyst: Trace Worthington
Reporter: Robbie Floyd

Play-by-Play: Mike Emrick, Kenny Albert, Dave Strader
Analysts: John Davidson, Brian Hayward, Peter McNab
Reporters: Pierre McGuire, Joe Micheletti

Play-by-Play: Mike Emrick, Kenny Albert, Dave Strader
Analysts: AJ Mleczko, Joe Micheletti, Peter McNab
Reporter: Pierre McGuire

Play-by-play: Bob Papa
Analyst: Duncan Kennedy
Reporter: Bob Neumeier

Play-by-Play: Ted Robinson
Analyst: Dan Weinstein
Reporter: Lesley Visser

Play-by-Play: Bob Papa
Analysts: Carol Lewis, John Morgan
Reporter: Bob Neumeier

Play-by-Play: Matt Vasgersian
Analyst: Jeff Hastings
Reporter: Tim Daggett

Play-by-Play: Pat Parnell
Analyst: Todd Richards
Reporter: Tina Dixon

Play-by-Play: Dan Hicks
Analyst: Dan Jansen
Reporter: Melissa Stark

Julie Foudy
Lester Holt
Alan Abrahamson
Bob Hager
Roger Cressey
Kevin Corke
Lindsay Czarniak
Otis Livingston
Craig Hummer

Hosts: Jessi Losada, Edgar Lopez
Reporters: Leti Coo, Mara Montero

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