On Thursday, NBC held a media conference call with the Executive Producer of the 2012 Olympics and the Today Show, Jim Bell. This is the first Olympic games on NBC dating back to 1992 in Barcelona which won’t have Emperor Dick Ebersol at the helm.
Bell who started with NBC in Barcelona and has worked on every Olympics for the network ever since was tapped by NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus to lead this year’s effort.
Bell has been doing interviews leading up to the Games and on Wednesday, he spoke with reporters on how he expects this year’s Olympics to go. We have a partial transcript of his remarks.
“One moment will be among the more astonishing and memorable in Opening Ceremony history, one that people will be talking about for years to come.” — Bell on Opening Ceremony
“Among the last great family-viewing television events on the planet.” – Bell on the Olympics
“We could not be more excited to finally get this going.” – Bell on start of the London Olympics
NEW YORK – July 26, 2012 – NBC Sports Group held a conference call today with NBC Olympics Executive Producer Jim Bell, to discuss NBCUniversal’s 17 days of coverage of the 2012 London Olympics. Primetime coverage on NBC begins with the Opening Ceremony, tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Highlights from Jim Bell follow:
ON GETTING PREPARED FOR THE OLYMPICS: “The teams have arrived and the NBCUniversal team is here in full force and we could not be more excited to finally get this going.”
“One of the great things about the Olympics as a company is the way you see all of the different groups work together, whether it’s the news division or it’s Access Hollywood, or the local affiliates or the website. It’s a very gratifying experience and I think everybody is working incredibly well together, this hybrid of innovation and tradition will take the Olympics forward.”
ON OPENING CEREMONY: “I am particularly thrilled about the Opening Ceremony. Having seen it and been a part of knowing about it for some time, I can tell you that it includes some amazing moments. One moment I think will be among the more astonishing and memorable in Opening Ceremony history, one that people will be talking about for years to come.”
ON THE OLYMPICS: “(The Olympics) is among the last great family-viewing television events on the planet.”
ON BOB COSTAS’ COMMENTS IN AN INTERVIEW EARLIER THIS MONTH ABOUT A MOMENT OF SILENCE TO COMMEMORATE THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TRAGEDY AT THE MUNICH GAMES: “We’ve been talking about that, among many other things about the Opening Ceremony, and I think if there is anyone who knows how to handle himself in that situation, have the right approach and tone, it’s Bob and Matt (Lauer).”
“We are going to handle it appropriately and respectfully. Bob has always had a big role in our planning of the coverage, and it’s been a healthy collaborative process.”
ON SHOWING EVERY COUNTRY IN THE PARADE OF NATIONS: “In the Opening Ceremony, our job there is to document the proceedings and honor the athletes. There are 204 countries in the Parade of Nations, and they’re all going to be shown. We are going to get every single country on, which I can assure you, over the course of the time allotted, is not easy.”
ON ANY SURPRISES AS EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: “The biggest surprise has probably been just the size and scope of the coverage and the jump in programming tonnage from Atlanta, which I think was somewhere around 170- plus hours of total coverage on NBC to where we are today (5,535 hours).
ON NEW WAYS OF CONSUMING BIG EVENTS: “For all the talk about the second screen and the digital and the live stream – and all of those are hugely important advances are priorities for us – primetime is still, also, very important to us. And I don’t think that is going to change any time soon. What we have seen is incremental revenue on the digital side, which is great, but the broadcasting side is still really healthy. The appetite for big events on broadcast television still exists.”
ON DICK EBERSOL’S ROLE IN LONDON: “Dick is a consultant, and an advisor, and obviously somebody who has unprecedented amounts of Olympic knowledge and experience. He’s been a huge mentor to me and to virtually everybody here, and we are thrilled to have him here.”
NBCUniversal, presenting its 13th Olympics, the most by any U.S. media company, will make an unprecedented 5,535 hours of the 2012 London Olympics coverage available across NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, NBCOlympics.com, two specialty channels, and the first-ever 3D platform, an unprecedented level that surpasses the coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics by nearly 2,000 hours.
Executive Producer – Jim Bell
London marks Bell’s first Olympics as executive producer. Bell has worked on every Olympic Games NBC has broadcast since 1992, in either sports (1992, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2004) or news (2006, 2008 and 2010). Bell also serves as executive producer of NBC News’ ‘Today.’
That’s all for this post. Next, we’ll focus on the NBA as the 2012-13 schedule was released tonight.