With the Summer Olympics just months away, Universal Sports Network will begin providing a weekly look at the upcoming action in London via a studio news show.
Debuting April 18 a 8 p.m. (ET) -- 100 days from the start of the opening ceremony -- Countdown to London will take a comprehensive look at the most compelling stories leading up to the Games. The debut show will be 90 minutes, with each subsequent episode running for 60 minutes on Wednesdays. The show will anchor Universal Sports Network's exclusive coverage of Olympic qualifying and trials events over the next three months. The network supplied significant news and promotional support for NBCUniversal's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver.
Hosted by Craig Hummer, who has served as a play-by-play announcer for NBC's Olympics coverage, and Amy Bender, veteran studio host and reporter, the show will also feature a mix of analysts, including three-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Rowdy Gaines, four-time Olympic medalist sprinter Ato Bolden, bronze medalist in beach volleyball Holly McPeak and Olympic gold medalist gymnast Tim Daggett, along with a number of other studio guests.
Universal Sports, a joint venture of NBC Sports Group and Leo Hindery's InterMedia Partners, has transitioned from a multicast service to a cable network that is currently carried by DirecTV, Dish Network and a host of cable and other video distributors.
Countdown to London will feature a weekly rundown of all the most important Olympic qualifying and trials events taking place in the U.S. and internationally, including extensive highlights footage. The program will also showcase Olympic athletes through interviews and profiles, with scheduled guests including two-time Olympic gold medalists in volleyball Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, Olympic gold medalist gymnast Nastia Liukin, four-time Olympic gold medalist swimmer Janet Evans, two-time bronze medalist sprinter Walter Dix, reigning Olympic gold medalist in decathlon Bryan Clay, world champion sprinter Carmelita Jeter and world champion hurdler Jason Richardson.
The show will feature a variety of recurring segments, including:
• "The Countdown Conversation with Fred Roggin presented by Budweiser": Guest segment hosted by Fred Roggin as he sits down with Olympians of the past and present, beginning with 1972 Olympic gold medalist marathoner Frank Shorter;
• "Reliving the Glory presented by Panasonic": Flashbacks to great moments in Olympic history with the airing of archived short films by legendary Olympic filmmaker Bud Greenspan.
• "On the Web presented by Dow": A social media roundup of what Olympic athletes are talking about across social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and blog sites.
• " Inside the Research Room": A check-in with the NBC Olympics production team to see what stories they areworking on heading into the Games.
• Additional content will include event previews, breaking news coverage and a weekly update from a journalist from London.
"Countdown to London will capture the excitement and anticipation of the lead up to London as the world's best athletes prepare for the 2012 Olympic Games," said David Sternberg, CEO of Universal Sports, in announcing the program. "Universal Sports airs the most Olympic sports programming of any network year in and year out, so no one is better positioned than we are to deliver all the news about the London Games in the next 100 days."