NBC 12:30 PM
Expect the coverage to be all-Earnhardt, all the time. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is among the favorites to win the event that last year claimed the life of his father.
Tuesday 2/19 and Thursday 2/21
?Women's Figure Skating
As usual, this competition boasts more breathless storylines than Dawson's Creek. Will Michelle (Kwan) finally win Olympic gold? Will Sasha (Cohen) try the quad? Will Sarah (Hughes), left, have a breakthrough victory? Or will Irina (Slutskaya) be the Russian spoiler, a role originally played by Oksana (Baiul)? Most important, can four young women fight for three spots on the podium without anyone getting clubbed?
sizzling & fizzling
Who Was Hot and Who Was Not
? NBC got a 25.5 rating (72 million viewers) for Salt Lake City's opening ceremonies, the highest mark for an Olympic opening ceremonies.
?Nifty technical innovations such as the Simul-Cam, in which a downhill skier's run can be compared with the leader's as if they were racing at the same time, made NBC's Olympic Games coverage more accessible.
? NBC did well to keep its cameras on the action while Jim Gray interviewed Michael Jordan during the All-Star Game. That allowed viewers to see Tracy McGrady's spectacular pass-off-the-backboard jam—a move that prompted Jordan to dismiss Gray so His Airness could watch the game.
?It is understood that NBC wants to recoup its $650 million Olympic investment, but by refusing to show marquee events live—like the men's downhill on Sunday afternoon—so it could get higher ratings at night, the network manufactured suspense and misled viewers.
?When the tattered American flag from the World Trade Center was carried into Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium on Friday night, Bob Costas and Katie Couric should have taken their cue from the crowd and remained silent.
?If the NBA doesn't care about the slam-dunk contest anymore—only four players deigned to throw it down on Saturday—then TNT shouldn't bother airing it.