What's more lame, NBC's coverage of the London Olympics or complaining on social media about that coverage? Apparently, all those participating in the #NBCFail meme expect to see exactly what they want, when they want it, failing to understand that the network's priority is to deliver the biggest possible number of viewers to its advertisers.
I join these malcontents when they cringe at Tim Daggett's woeful gymnastics commentary, curse at Ryan Seacrest's social media segments, cry at the lack of judo footage. And every time Bob Costas brings up Justin Bieber in an interview with a teenage athlete, I comb YouTube for clips of Jim McKay, the eloquent sportscaster who anchored Olympics coverage on ABC throughout my childhood.
But as frustrating as NBC's prime-time coverage from London has been, the late-night broadcasts with Mary Carillo have been a blast to watch. Normally playing the perfect foil to her former doubles partner John McEnroe on NBC's tennis coverage, Carillo presides over a broadcast that comes closest to Wide World of Sports, the old ABC show that McKay masterfully ran. Velodrome bike racing, lightweight women's weightlifting, table tennis and kayaking can all be seen on the late show, with commentators who actually explain the sports and celebrate athletes from other countries.
Unlike Costas, who is constantly dropping inane pop culture and baseball references, Carillo understands that it's the games and the athletes who are the stars of the show. Her hour-long coda, which is on locally at 11:30 p.m., after NBC-15's delayed newscast, has kept me up past my bedtime a lot this week. And with freestyle wrestling, water polo and BMX racing (!) on the next few nights, that's going to continue.