For 16 days, people who tune to NBC expecting to see a repeat of “The Blacklist” or a fresh episode of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” will be out of luck.
Between Friday, August 5 and Sunday, August 21, the flagship broadcast network of NBCUniversal will show 260.5 hours of programming related to the 2016 Rio Olympics. On most days, NBC primetime programming will air from 8 p.m. to midnight ET/PT; daytime will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET/PT; and late night will air from 12:35 a.m. to 1:35 a.m. ET/PT. Replays will fill the slots between 1:35 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. ET/PT. Essentially, aside from “Today,” “NBC Nightly News” and some hours from local stations, NBC will feature Olympics events and features nearly around the clock.
The hours of coverage represent a feat on par with some of those likely to be performed by the athletes in the events, and point to the advantages NBCU can press with the Olympics taking place in a time zone closer to those of the United States. For years, as NBCU has broadcast Olympics from London or Beijing, it has grappled with how to feature the best contests in primetime, where advertisers pay significantly more for bigger audiences. With Rio, more of the games can be featured in near-linear fashion, perhaps prompting an audience increasingly accustomed to time-shifting to show up to a TV screen in more traditional fashion.
NBC’s coverage is just one slice of the greater pie. NBCUniversal will present an unprecedented 6,755 hours of Olympics programming across networks including USA, CNBC, Telemundo, Bravo, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBCSN and NBCUniverso. The last time the Summer Games were in a U.S. friendly time zone, NBC was the sole network involved, and broadcast 171 hours of coverage for the 1996 Atlanta Games. Rio will have nearly 40 times more programming hours than Atlanta.
The events will also have digital coverage., NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will live-stream 4,500 total hours — including all Olympic competition for the third consecutive Olympics — for authenticated pay TV subscribers to desktops, mobile devices, and tablets, plus connected TVs for the first time. The company said additional details regarding NBC Olympics’ digital offering would be forthcoming. Some content will be offered in 4K Ultra HD to distribution partners, and some virtual-reality programming will also be available – both Olympics firsts. Details were not immediately available.
Bob Costas will again anchor NBC’s primetime coverage, while Ryan Seacrest will host the network’s late night programming. Al Michaels will serve as an NBC daytime host on weekdays and weekends. Dan Patrick and Rebecca Lowe will host daytime programming on both NBC and NBCSN.
NBC’s daytime and late night programming will originate from a studio located at Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach. The studio will feature two sets, one indoor and one outdoor; a main anchor desk; an interview area;and a news update desk, marking the first time in 24 years, since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, that NBC Olympics has utilized a major studio outside of a main broadcast center.