News

NBCU Blankets the Beijing Olympic Games

7/11/2008 8:00 PM Eastern

When it comes to the XXIX Olympiad next month, USA Network will go red, white and blue, CNBC will present boxing action and Oxygen will center on gymnastics.

With opening ceremonies a month away, NBC Universal's seven networks plan record-setting coverage of the Beijing Olympics — all in high-definition for the first time.

From Aug. 8 to 24, NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, Oxygen, Telemundo and Universal HD, as well as NBCOlympics.com, will offer some 3,600 hours of coverage. That's 1,000 more hours than all other televised Summer Olympics combined, from Rome in 1960 through Athens in 2004.

The 2,900 hours of live coverage, featuring all 34 sports, surpass the total of 2,562 hours for the 12 preceding Summer Games.

Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and executive producer of NBCU's Olympic coverage, noted in a statement that what's planned is “more live coverage from a single Olympics than the total of all previous Summer Olympics combined. The enormity of what we're doing just blows me away.”

Flagship network NBC, approaching its 11th Olympiad (one more than ABC's U.S. network mark of 10), will present 225 hours over 17 days, including live primetime coverage of 32 gold-medal finals for swimming; four nights of gymnastics; beach volleyball and the men's and women's marathons.

Team USA will star on USA Network. Starting Aug. 9, men's and women's basketball and soccer players will be key “characters” of its 165 hours of coverage.

USA will also offer live tennis, volleyball and water polo.

MSNBC plans 175 hours over 19 days, led by opening-round soccer match coverage on Aug. 6 and Aug. 7. From 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., the news network will also showcase long-form coverage of softball, beach volleyball, wrestling, basketball, volleyball and weightlifting.

Following Closing Bell, CNBC will offer boxing from 5 to 8 p.m. (ET), returning from midnight to 4:30 a.m. with softball, tennis, weightlifting, wrestling and badminton — 95.5 hours in all.

Oxygen gets into the Games with 20 hours, notably with a daily gymnastics recap.

Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo, reaching 93% of U.S. Hispanic households, will present 380 hours of Olympic coverage over 19 days, exclusively in Spanish.

Telemundo will feature live men's (starting Aug. 7) and women's soccer, basketball, gymnastics, diving, volleyball, as well as track and field, swimming and baseball. It will focus on participating Latin American nations and Hispanic competitors.

Universal HD will offer 379 hours: 24-hour HD simulcasts and encores from CNBC and MSNBC.

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