NEW YORK (AP) — If all goes well for NBC Universal over the next several weeks, Americans will be buzzing about the Olympic performances of Simone Biles, Gabby Thomas, Kevin Durant or some unexpected star.
The year-delayed Tokyo Olympics officially opens with NBC’s telecast of the opening ceremony on July 23 — live in the morning and with an edited version in prime time.
The Olympics arrive dripping in bad vibes, amid a COVID-19 state of emergency in Japan. The majority of Japanese citizens are unvaccinated against the virus and most wish the Olympics weren’t taking place this summer. Most events will occur in near-empty venues. Star sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was kicked off the U.S. team after a positive marijuana test, and the U.S. men’s basketball team suffered embarrassing exhibition losses to Nigeria and Australia.
Yet once the competition begins, NBC is banking on a COVID-weary United States to embrace the Games.
“I really believe that people are craving a shared experience after all we’ve been through,” said Molly Solomon, executive producer of NBC’s Olympics coverage.
If you miss anything, it won’t be NBC’s fault. More than 7,000 hours of Olympics coverage will be offered, on NBC, cable outlets like USA and NBCSN, on NBCOlympics.com and the Peacock streaming service, on Twitch, Twitter and Snap.
The length of COVID’s shadow is difficult to predict.
While the International Olympic Committee gave the go-ahead for the Games, it’s hard to…