[01/22/06 - 12:00 AM]
NBC Adds 2 Primetime Olympic Hours

[via press release from NBC]


Most Winter Olympics Coverage in History Now Total 418 Hours, Up from 416

PASADENA, Calif. -- January 22, 2006 -- NBC today added a total of two additional primetime network hours over three nights that feature most of the Winter Olympics biggest stars. The additional two hours now bring NBC Universal's unprecedented amount of coverage of the Torino Olympic Winter Games to 418 hours, up from the previously announced 416 hours. The announcement was made today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and Executive Producer of NBC's Olympic coverage.

"After seeing the results of pre-Olympic Trials and competitions and looking at the schedule more closely, we've decided that now there was simply too much rich content featuring some of this Olympics' biggest stars and we needed more time to tell these great stories on these three nights," Ebersol said. "If I didn't add these new hours, I would feel like we would have left the audience wanting more."

Following are synopses of the changes to the three primetime nights, all times are ET/PT:

SUNDAY, FEB. 12 is now 7-11:30 p.m., changed from 7-11 p.m. and features four of the USA's brightest male superstars all in one night. Bode Miller, who this week scored the rare double of simultaneously appearing on the covers of Time and Newsweek, makes his Torino debut. His teammate Daron Rahlves, who has won three World Cup downhill gold medals this season, could challenge Miller for gold. The two give the U.S. its most potent 1-2 punch ever in downhill ? the most thrilling event in alpine skiing. They won gold and silver, respectively, at last year's World Championships.

Apolo Anton Ohno, who dominated the U.S. Olympic Trials and notched five World Cup wins this season, looks to defend his Salt Lake gold medal in the 1500m and continue his reign as one of the Winter Olympics marquee stars.

Shaun White, the biggest superstar in action sports and a crossover skateboarder who has thus far won all Olympic qualifying events, leads the American snowboarders who four years ago swept the men's halfpipe medals 1-2-3.

SUNDAY, FEB. 19 is now 7 p.m. -Midnight, changed from 7-11 p.m. and it will be highlighted by America's best hope for ice dancing gold in three decades. Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto could be the first Americans to win a medal in this graceful event since 1976. Belbin, who was born in Canada, became an American citizen when President Bush signed an Appropriations Bill just before deadline that allowed her to be sworn in as a citizen on December 31, 2005, just 41 days before the Opening Ceremony.

MONDAY, FEB. 20 (Presidents' Day) is now 8 p.m.-Midnight, changed from 8-11:30 p.m. and it will feature the gold medal final in ice dancing where Belbin & Agosto are expected to face their toughest competition from Russia's Tatyana Navka & Roman Kostomarov, two-time world champions who this week won the European title.

* * *

NBC Universal's coverage of the Torino Games will feature the most coverage ? including the most live coverage ? across the most platforms of any Winter Olympics in history when the XX Olympic Winter Games from Torino, Italy begin Feb. 10-26. The Networks of NBC Universal, NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC HD and Universal HD now will provide 418 total hours of coverage, an increase over the 375.5 hours of coverage on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC from Salt Lake, the previous record for a Winter Games. The Torino coverage will include the most live coverage ever of a Winter Games, despite the six-hour time difference between the U.S. East Coast and Italy, and will feature the most high definition coverage in Olympic television history. Over the 17 days of the Torino Games the Networks of NBC Universal will now average 24.6 hours ? up from 24.5 hours ? of Olympic coverage per day.

The NBC network schedule is divided into three dayparts: daytime, primetime and late night, now totaling 184.5 hours of coverage (123.5 original hours) over 17 days.

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