A new monthly series, “Chasing Gold: Paris 2024,” will debut this Sunday, September 18 on NBC at 2:30 p.m. eastern, and NBC Sports executives hope an early look at the athletes gearing up for the Games will build new storylines and anticipation.
“We think we can help grow and cultivate interest in the Olympics year-round,” says Jack Felling, the series’ coordinating producer.
NBCUniversal and its parent company. Comcast, have a lot invested in getting sports fans to care about the Olympics. The media giants are in the midst of a $7.75 billion deal that gives them U.S. broadcast rights for the Olympics between 2021 and 2032.
“Chasing Gold,” says Felling, will give the sports division more time to follow Olympic hopefuls and chronicle their efforts. The vignettes NBC Sports produces on athletes typically appear during the Games themselves, and have become a signature element of the sports unit’s coverage. And yet, the producer, says, “you have to do it in a very tight manner” so the actual athletics get top billing. “What I’m excited about is that this will give us time and the real estate to explain these stories in a deeper way than we have typically been able to, with a much longer runway.”
Mike Tirico and Maria Taylor will host the series, and showcase not only the athletes, but the host city, while finding ways to nod to the Games’ history.
The first one-hour episode will feature Tirico previewing what the Opening Ceremony will look like in Paris, as it is expected to be held along the Seine. Taylor will interview Noah Lyles about his ability to break Michael Johnson’s 200-meter world record earlier this year (Johnson will appear as a surprise guest). Rowdy Gaines will look back at this summer’s World Swimming Championships. The show will also feature highlights of Konnor McClain winning her first gymnastics title at the U.S. Championships and Sydney McGlaughlin winning her 400 meter hurdles world record.
The show, which will be made available to watch on Peacock one day after its broadcast on NBC, surfaces just a few months after the company revealed its intention to shut down its Olympic Channel, a cable outlet that provided coverage of athletic hopefuls, as of September 30. Some content from that network is expected to surface on Peacock in weeks to come, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The next Summer Olympics is slated to take place in Paris between July 26 and August 11, 2024, with the 17th Summer Paralympic Games set for between August 28 and September 8, 2024. Los Angeles will host the Summer Games in 2028.