The Trials Of Pre-Olympic Semi-Coverage

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Maybe I’m just being curmudgeonly, but something irks me about the fact that NBC put the real competition ofthe Olympic swimming trials on USA Network Monday night and instead aired the made-for-TV competition, American Gladiators, a show that makes professional wrestling look understated.

And speaking of professional wrestling, just as my daughter and I were settling down to watch more of the trials–OK, she had actually bolted for another TV so she could watch American Gladiator–USA informed me I would have to go online to watch the rest of the swimming trials Monday night so it could switch to professional wrestling.

So, instead of people who work tirelessly for their Olympic moment, I was offered overblown non-competitions among folks who look like they have been on the Barry Bonds diet.

NBC was streaming the coverage online, so maybe it was trying to increase traffic there, but my guess, and recent studies suggest, folks still want to watch TV on TV, particularly the big-ticket items that play better on bigger screens than many of us have on our computers.

Or maybe NBC is trying to avoid Olympics coverage overload before its Beijing coverage begins Aug. 8, but if so I think they are missing the boat, or junk as it were. Belay that, there is plenty of junk they are not missing while they choose not to show amateur athletes competing for a chance to represent their country. But, hey, maybe it’s just me.

I know that NBC needs all the viewers it can get, but I’ll wager it could have gotten as many viewers to the real stars of Olympic swimming thn it did to, say, the Nashville Star reality show it aired instead.