YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

April 21, 1998|MIKE PENNER

What: "The Olympic Show" When: Saturdays, 4 p.m., CNBC.

Evidently, it is never too early for a network to start hyping its upcoming Olympic coverage, even 30 months before the opening ceremony.

So NBC, which owns the broadcast rights to the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, has concocted a weekly half-hour program for cable-branch CNBC, cramming it with the sort of soft-feature profiles television producers, for some reason, are convinced are the lifeblood of any Olympic telecast.

Hosted by Dan Hicks, "The Olympic Show" debuted in March, days after the conclusion of the Nagano Winter Games, which, of course, were the property of CBS.

No sense debuting before Nagano and giving a rival 30 minutes of free publicity every Saturday, now is there?

The concept of a weekly program focusing on Olympic athletes and developments is a useful one, targeting the age-old charge that American swimmers and sprinters fade from public view as soon as the Olympic flame is doused.

But too much of the content here is promotional fluff masquerading as personality journalism--all that's missing is a bottom-screen ticker declaring, "SEE ALL THIS FASCINATING, WONDERFUL PEOPLE COMPETING FOR THE GOLD ON NBC IN SEPTEMBER 2000."

The most recent installment featured a look at Sydney--"one of the world's most beautiful and alluring cities"--that appeared to have been commissioned by the Australian tourism department.

Following that were profiles on Australian swimmer Michael Klim (Could he be the Mark Spitz of the 2000 Games?) and U.S. sprinter Marion Jones (Could she be the Carl Lewis of the 2000 Games?) and American high school shot-putter Kevin DiGiorgia (Could he be the Randy Barnes of the 2004 Games in Athens, which NBC will also telecast?).

That's four segments in a 30-minute time slot (not counting commercials)--five- or six-minute snippets that amount to little more than thumbnail sketches, bio sheets set to music and video.

Lest the underlying message be lost amid the slow-motion close-ups and eye-grabbing graphics, each show concludes the same way--with a commercial for the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney.

Los Angeles Times Articles