There won’t be a Summer Olympics this year, with the planned 2020 Tokyo Games moved to the summer of 2021 amidst the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but those stuck at home will have plenty of Olympic content to watch over the next two weeks. NBC Sports announced Thursday that they’ll be airing nightly primetime programming from the 2016 (Rio), 2012 (London), and 2008 (Beijing) Games on NBCSN from April 13-21, then further programming on Team USA dynasties from April 22-26. Here are more details from their release:
From Monday, April 13, through Saturday, April 18, NBCSN will present nightly primetime programming from the 2016 Rio Games and the 2012 London Games, highlighting memorable Olympic moments and athletes, including Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, Katie Ledecky, Allyson Felix, Kerri Walsh Jennings, and many others. On Sunday night, NBCSN will feature two Olympic Films at 10:30 p.m. ET.
…NBC Olympics primetime host Mike Tirico will introduce nightly coverage throughout both weeks of Olympic Games Week. Programming will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Coverage of Olympic Sports on NBC Sports Group platforms is a presentation of Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.
…The second week of Olympic Games Week begins with nightly primetime programming from the 2008 Beijing Games on Monday, April 20, and Tuesday, April 21 on NBCSN. From Wednesday to Saturday, Team USA dynasties will be in the spotlight, including men’s and women’s basketball as well as women’s gymnastics. On Sunday night, NBCSN will feature three Olympic Films at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Here are some highlights we’ve selected from each night (the full list of each night’s programming is available in the release):
- Monday, April 13: 2016 Rio Games: women’s gymnastics team final (9 p.m. ET) and individual all-around (11 p.m. ET)
- Tuesday, April 14: 2016 Rio Games: track and field men’s sprinting events (featuring three medals from Usain Bolt, 7 p.m. ET) and an hour-long special on Michael Phelps’ performance in Rio (10 p.m. ET)
- Wednesday, April 15: 2016 Rio Games: women’s swimming (featuring five medals and two world records from Katie Ledecky, 7 p.m. ET), women’s water polo (USA-Italy final, 2 a.m. ET)
- Thursday, April 16: 2012 London Games: women’s gymnastics team final (7 p.m. ET) and individual all-around and apparatus finals (9 p.m. ET)
- Friday, April 17: 2012 London Games: men’s swimming (featuring Phelps and Ryan Lochte, 10 p.m. ET), women’s soccer (USA-Canada semifinal, 12 a.m. ET), women’s beach volleyball (US-US final, 2 a.m. ET)
- Saturday, April 18: 2012 London Games: track and field men’s (10 p.m. ET) and women’s (11 p.m. ET) sprinting events, women’s soccer (USA-Japan final, 12 a.m. ET)
- Sunday, April 19: Olympic Films: Kon Ichikawa’s 1965 Tokyo Olympiad on the 1964 Tokyo Games (10:30 p.m. ET), First: The Official Film of the 2012 London Olympics (following the stories of 12 first-time Olympians, 1 a.m. ET)
- Monday, April 20: 2008 Beijing Games: men’s beach volleyball (USA-Brazil final, 7 p.m. ET), a 90-minute special on Michael Phelps’ eight medals in Beijing (8:30 p.m. ET), women’s beach volleyball (USA-China final, 10 p.m. ET)
- Tuesday, April 21: 2008 Beijing Games: women’s gymnastics team final (7 p.m. ET) and individual all-around final (8:30 p.m. ET), a 30-minute special on Usain Bolt’s three memorable races in Beijing (including his world record of 9.69 seconds in the 100m, 10:30 p.m. ET), women’s soccer (USA-Brazil final, 11 p.m. ET)
- Wednesday, April 22: Olympic Classics: men’s basketball (including the 2008 USA-Spain final at 7 p.m. ET and the 1992 USA-Croatia final at 9 p.m. ET), plus Olympic Adventures with Mary Carillo: Summer Olympics (2:30 a.m. ET)
- Thursday, April 23: Olympic Classics: women’s basketball (including the 1996 USA-Brazil final at 7 p.m. ET and the 2000 USA-Australia final at 8:30 p.m. ET), plus More Than Gold: Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics (2 a.m. ET, narrated by Morgan Freeman)
- Friday, April 24: Olympic Classics: women’s gymnastics (including the 1996 team final at 8 p.m. ET and the 1988 team final at 2 a.m. ET)
- Saturday, April 25: Olympic Classics: women’s gymnastics (including the 2012 team final at 8 p.m. ET and the 2004 team final at 1:30 a.m. ET)
- Sunday, April 26: Olympic Films: 1968 (narrated by Serena Williams, on sports and politics at the 1968 Games in Mexico City, 10:30 p.m. ET), Sydney 2000: Stories of Olympic Glory (12 a.m. ET), Olympic Adventures with Mary Carillo: Summer Olympics (2:30 a.m. ET)
Rolling out a two-week block of primetime Olympic programming like this feels smart for NBCSN, especially with so many people at home looking for content (and without any live sports to cover; NBCSN would usually be in full NHL playoffs mode at this point, but that’s not happening). This obviously isn’t going to replicate the drawing power of live Olympics coverage, but there will definitely be some people interested in following even archival Olympics content nightly, and there will be more still who tune in for a couple of events they particularly care about. Theming the first batches of this to be about Rio, London and Beijing is logical too, providing somewhat of the feel of following a particular Games live, and it makes sense for them to work in some documentaries (a growing emphasis for many sports networks these days) and some historical sport-specific content as well. We’ll see what kind of audience this draws, but it’s certainly an interesting initiative.