Latinos wishing to watch the Summer Olympics from Beijing in Spanish three years ago couldn’t do so in primetime, just like the rest of America. Or during the daytime hours. They had to wake up at 4 a.m.(Eastern time) in the morning, every morning events were presented, and be as glued to the action as they could be until 8 a.m. (Eastern time).
Talk about a sports starvation diet. Even worse, Latinos didn’t get much multi-hour Spanish coverage of last year’s Winter Olympics from Vancouver, Canada, in primetime, daytime or overnight.
Ever since Telemundo was acquired by NBC, now Comcast-managed NBC Universal, sports-bent Latinos have received the short end of the Olympics TV stick. While Telemundo promises to offer more than 150 hours of action and pagentry from the next Summer Olympics in London, primetime coverage appears out of the question again.
Telemundo’s party line about this: if we pre-empt our nightly lineup of telenovelas for two weeks-plus of Olympics coverage, we’ll hear it big time from them. I appreciate the thought–and it falls flat on my ears. You’re saying telenovela fans will flood the switchboards at your network if you showcase something else, a sports showcase like no other where Latino athletes from all over the globe participate?
Yes, I’m not Latino, and I can’t believe Latino TV viewers would respond so vehemently, especially if they were set up powerfully through inventive marketing and promotion to watch the Olympics. As ESPN First Take commentator Skip Bayless would query, are you kidding me?
Some people, me included, believe the real cause of this matter lies with NBC affiliates, scared that a Telemundo presentation up against them will cause great harm, so they bark at NBC to keep things status-quo. If that’s the case, A) admit it publicly and B) use Telemundo as an opportunity to gain audience in the long run through joint promotion and local ad sales revenue-sharing. Make it a win-win all around.
The more than 50 million Latinos in this country should not be given second-class treatment when it comes to Olympics TV. If NBC can run the games in primetime, so can Telemundo. If the telenovela fear is accurate, here’s a solution: run daytime coverage on Telemundo, primetime on sister net mun2, which doesn’t run telenovelas at those hours. And from now on, go full blast on Winter Olympics coverage.
Go for the gold starting next summer in London, Telemundo. Tear down your primetime wall.
You never know who reads this column, and when you find out, it makes you pause. Hours after last week’s “Give OWN Some Slack” edition went on this Web site, about Oprah Winfrey Network, I received a voicemail from…Oprah. She appreciated the thoughts presented, and enjoyed the “green tea” line. All that remains to be said: Thank you, Oprah.
Until the next time, stay well and stay tuned!