Programming

Les Moonves Defends NBC's Tape-Delaying of Olympics

CBS chief says he would 'almost definitely' employ same strategy if Games aired on CBS 7/30/2012 01:56:50 PM Eastern

Those complaining about NBC's decision to tape-delay the
most popular Olympic events like swimming and gymnastics to air in primetime
have made some noise online, especially in social media circles, even spawning
a well-followed parody Twitter feed, @NBCDelayed.

But count CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves as one who supports
NBC's primetime-first strategy.

"They had no alternative to do that. What are they going to
do in primetime? They would have had to show events at 5 o'clock in the
morning," Moonves told B&C. "They don't happen that way. If you
don't want to know the result, don't go online. If you want to know the result,
go online. But I don't know what people expected of them and I think they're
doing a very good job of balancing it. I really do."

Moonves also said that if the Olympics aired on CBS, he
would most likely employ the same tape-delay strategy to preserve the primetime
viewership.

"I'm sure it took a lot of thought went into it, but I think
almost definitely we would have done the same thing," he said. "I think they're
handling it very well, I really do, I think they're doing a good job. 

For all the online groaning, NBC's tape delay has seemingly
not hurt its primetime viewership. The London opening ceremony was the most-watched
Summer Olympics opening ceremony ever,
drawing over 40 million viewers and
its first night of primetime coverage on Saturday averaged over 28 million
viewers, the most-watched opening night ever for the Summer Games.

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