NBC’s Olympic deal

CNBC, MSNBC to cover 172 hours of Games

NBC has unveiled details of its basic cable coverage of the 2000 Summer Olympics, which will be aired on a tape-delay basis from Sydney, Australia.

Sister networks CNBC and MSNBC will air a total of 172 original hours of Olympics coverage. Jim Lampley has been tapped host of MSNBC’s coverage, while Pat O’Brien was named lead host for CNBC’s coverage.

MSNBC will air Olympics coverage from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (ET) on weekdays and during weekend hours to be determined later. The news cabler will rerun that daytime coverage from midnight to 7 a.m. on weekdays and midnight to 6 a.m. on weekends.

CNBC takes over from 5-9 p.m. weeknights and 4-9 p.m. on weekends. Due to the 15-hour time difference between Sydney and the East Coast, all Olympics programming will be tape-delayed, NBC said.

NBC Cable prexy David Zaslav and NBC Olympics co-chair Dennis Swanson made the announcement Thursday at the Western Cable Show.

As previously announced, next year will mark the first time that portions of the Summer Olympics have aired on basic cable. NBC has been tying an Olympics surcharge to CNBC and MSNBC renewals with multisystem operators (MSOs) such as AT&T.

Fee fears

Some operators, especially those with smaller systems, have expressed concern over the fee, which in some cases is as high as one-third of the CNBC license fee (Daily Variety, June 11). MSOs must pay the fee in order to air the CNBC and MSNBC Olympics coverage.

NBC has locked up Olympics coverage for its broadcast network and cable networks through 2008.

MSNBC coverage kicks off on Sept. 13, two days before the Sydney Games’ opening ceremony, with an opening round men’s soccer match.

Game, set, match

Gold medal matches to be featured during MSNBC’s and CNBC’s 18 days of coverage include baseball, boxing, men’s and women’s soccer and men’s and women’s singles and doubles tennis. More than 30 finals will air on one of the two nets starting Sept. 17.

Lampley previously hosted Turner Broadcasting’s coverage of the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. He was also the latenight host for NBC’s coverage of the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics and has covered past Games for CBS and ABC.

O’Brien, who hosts “Access Hollywood” for NBC Studios, worked on CBS’ coverage of the 1992 Albertville and 1994 Lillehammer Winter Games.

“It is only through our cable affiliate partnerships that customers will be able to get ‘The Complete Olympics’ on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC, and we are very confident that this level of commitment reflects the revenue and branding value inherent in the Olympic Games,” Zaslav said.

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