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Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, June 29, 2000


Olympic Rings

Olympic viewers
VCR ready

Due to the time difference,
the national TV audience
will see events delayed
and a day late

By Dave Reardon


If you plan on watching Brian Viloria's quest for Olympic boxing gold on television, make sure you've got cable.

And be prepared to watch the matches a day late.

Also, if you work during the day, set up your VCR.

Believe it or not, it could have been worse -- four years ago in Atlanta, boxing coverage was sparse. But at the Sydney games this September, NBC plans on blanketing the sport.

"Boxing has caused us no end of dilemma," NBC Chairman Dick Ebersol said yesterday in a teleconference. "The dearth of coverage was wildly cheered by women, who make up most of the Olympic viewing audience.

"One of the joys of the multi-channel system is that for two hours every night we can cover sports like boxing."

But it will be via cable outlet CNBC, and, like everything else nationwide, action will not be televised live because of the time difference between Australia and the United States.

This is one case where Hawaii viewers shouldn't feel discriminated against -- everyone is getting delayed telecasts.

"It would dissipate what we do to show events live to the majority of our audience at 3 to 5 a.m.," Ebersol said. "We don't want to be doing a 1 or 2 rating."

Another NBC cable channel, MSNBC, will air 210 hours of coverage, focusing on soccer, softball and tennis.

Nan Shimamura, programming coordinator for Oceanic Cable, said yesterday that the CNBC and MSNBC telecasts will be on a three-hour delay.

The CNBC Olympic coverage will air in Hawaii from 2-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 1-6 p.m. on weekends.

"The hallmark of (CNBC's 65 hours of) coverage will be boxing," said Molly Solomon, coordinating producer for NBC Olympic cable coverage.

NBC's regular prime-time coverage of 130 hours is scheduled to air 4 to 9 p.m. in Hawaii, with additional coverage from 9:41 to 11:11 p.m., said Dan Schmidt, KHNL-TV program director. He added that weekend coverage will be aired the same time as it is on the East Coast in most cases.

"This will be our traditional family-side coverage," Ebersol said.

Historically, gymnastics, swimming and track and field dominate prime-time, along with human interest and travelogue features.

Especially with the time difference precluding live coverage, NBC plans to go even heavier than usual with feature angles.

"Storytelling, with our NBC profiles, making a connection between the viewer and the athlete is critical," said David Neal, head of production for NBC Olympics. "Americans have an affinity for Australia and things Australian."

Viloria will probably go into the Olympics as the favorite to win the gold medal in the flyweight division.

While Ebersol said most of the Waipahu fighter's bouts won't be featured in prime-time, he is slated to be one of the more high-profile athletes in Sydney.

NBC spent a day with him here recently; the network and Scholastic magazines selected him as one of 14 "Dream Teens" it will profile; and the boxer's huge presence at includes an audio clip.

Once the Games begin, the website will be the fastest way to get results and analysis for most events.

"Given the delay, this is the perfect Olympics for the Internet," said Tom Feuer, coordinating producer for

Honolulu is four time zones east of Sydney which will allow the Star-Bulletin to print some Olympics results the day they occur.

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