NBC hypes figure skating showdown between 2 Russians
By DAVID BAUDER
Feb. 23, 2018
NEW YORK (AP) — Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:
FIGHT TO THE FINISH: It was the "showdown everyone's been waiting for," analyst Tanith White said. "Brass knuckles under velvet gloves," Johnny Weir said. NBC practically panted in its effort to make the competition between Russians Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova into the figure skating equivalent of Ali vs. Frazier. It was the expected champion (Medvedeva) against the impatient 15-year-old understudy (Zagitova). After two skates that Weir called "the most heartbreakingly beautiful ladies' competition I have ever seen," even NBC's seemingly inseparable pair was divided. "My bet is on Medvedeva," Weir said. "My bet is on Zagitova," Tara Lipinski answered. Advantage Lipinski . The judging on whether American viewers were as enthralled by the rivalry comes later Friday, when the television ratings come in.
TWEET OF THE DAY : "Am I the only person who watches ice skating with my hands practically covering my eyes? I'm so stressed that they are going to fall and that all their dreams will be crushed that I can hardly watch!" — MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace.
REV IT UP: Nice line by speedskating analyst Apolo Ohno, explaining how the only way to beat Choi Min-Jeong was to get in front of her when she tries to pass on the outside. "That's the only way you stop a Ferrari if you are a Civic," he said. Ultimately, Choi collided with a fellow South Korean skater in the final and finished out of the money .
RATINGS: Olympic fatigue may be setting in. NBC was set up for a big night on Wednesday, with a broadcast full of exciting, medal-winning performance by Americans and an Alpine skiing competition featuring both Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin . Yet the 16.4 million viewers who watched NBC, NBCSN and streaming services in prime time was the second lowest of the Olympics so far, and down 19 percent from the corresponding night in Sochi. For NBC alone, the drop was 30 percent. The skiing competition wasn't decided until after 1:30 a.m. on the U.S. East Coast, and the gripping gold-medal hockey game between the U.S. women and Canada lasted past 2 a.m. NBC estimated 3.7 million people watched the game live.
THAT GAME: Smart move by NBCSN to rebroadcast the hockey game late Thursday afternoon. It's an instant classic, and deserves as many airings as possible. NBC's Kenny Albert, AJ Mleczko and Pierre McGuire were sharp and low-key, recognizing the game needed no hype. It was amusing when McGuire quickly corrected himself after saying there were "too many men on the ice." Mleczko forgave him. "I do that myself," she admitted.
FIVE MINUTES: NBC loves to use the large Olympic audience to promote other shows, which is why "Today" is in Pyeongchang and you've seen about a thousand promos for the upcoming comedy "Good Girls." The ability to show live competition late night in the U.S. made it difficult to keep Jimmy Fallon on the air, however, but NBC needs to keep him visible. So NBC hit on the amusing idea of a five-minute "Tonight" show, which has included such stunts as a one-minute interview with actor Paul Rudd where Fallon cut off every answer. We'll avoid the obvious joke of networks trying it with more shows.
More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org