The world watched as newlyweds Prince William and Kate Middleton shared a smooch on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. And, on July 17, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama puckered up at a basketball game. NBC will try to capture these golden romantic moments during their Olympic broadcasts this summer.
"I can tell you the kiss cam is a really big part of our Olympic coverage," executive producer Jim Bell told ETonline in jest. "I'm a little disappointed you've broken the surprise."
Remaining tight-lipped about the closely guarded secret of the Opening Ceremonies extravaganza, Bell teased, "It includes some amazing moments, including one which will be among the most astonishing; one that people will be talking about for years to come." The organizing committee has been "shouldered with the burden of trying to live up to the Beijing ceremony, which was a spectacle indeed," acknowledged the producer.
The Olympics will be testing the waters by expanding coverage across broadcast and digital platforms to satiate the "appetite" of a growing, diverse audience. "I think the biggest surprise probably has been the size and the scope of the coverage. This is my ninth Olympics. [I] started in Barcelona," he commented on the changing landscape. "You’re seeing this blend of traditional broadcasting experience in primetime with [special] features.”"Coverage will include introducing fans to sports and athletes they are unfamiliar with.
Bell believes the Olympics are "the greatest family viewing TV event on the planet" and primetime broadcasting is not yet ready to be completely replaced. He cites the success of Monday Night Football, Oscars, Golden Globes, in addition to the Olympics, as a testament to the desire for traditional television.
Due to the time difference between the United States and London, NBC will be prevented from showing many of the events live, but that will be supplemented by digital offerings and will be broadcast on tape delay during normal waking hours. Tapping in to his experience as executive producer of The Today Show, Bell asserted, "Things can change on the fly and we react to them… If there were news or something of that nature, we'd be ready to cover it live."
The Today Show has been embroiled in a ratings war with competitor Good Morning America. With NBC's exclusive broadcasting rights to the Olympics, the peacock network is expected to take the lead in coming weeks. "The flame never goes out," Bell explained of how he'll retain viewers. "I'm really just focused on the Olympics right now. Maybe when I get home from here, we can address that."
The Opening Ceremonies air Friday night on NBC, featuring the parade of nations, the lighting of the torch, and many more surprises.
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- President Barack Obama
- Jim Bell
- Michelle Obama