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West Coast to NBC Olympics: We're Worn Out!

Dear NBC,

As I said the other day, I’ve been having a blast watching the Olympics on a plasma screen in HD.  The quality of the viewing experience is unparalleled.  I’ve lauded your breathtakingly crisp HD. 

I’ve been supportive of tape delay for primetime airing, sometimes a necessary evil in a commercial environment.

I’ve been a devoted and understanding viewer.  Some viewers have been whining about Bob Costas, but heck…I love the guy.  I think Andrea Kremer is an SNL/Amy Poehler spoof just waiting to happen, but you can’t please everyone.

But NBC, I’m done in.

Finally, this morning, I woke up grouchy and tired and headachy - all because NBC’s tape delayed Olympic coverage airs well into "late night" (11:30p onward) and the wee hours of the morning. 

I’m thinking there has to be a better way.

As has been widely reported, live events airing late on the east coast are delayed for threehours.  Left coast viewers can watch the Olympics on the same, grueling schedule as our New York brethren.

As early as last Sunday, on the Yahoo sports blog, Chris Chase warned that NBC would face "viewer backlash."

I don’t know if it’s backlash as much as we’re all just too exhausted to continue watching.

As San Francisco Chronicle’s Gwen Knapp pointed out today, "keeping viewers up past midnight is unavoidable on the East Coast, but not here in the West." 

Must the entire country fall asleep at the wheel watching the Olympics?

Knapp’s case in point:

"The men’s 400-meter freestyle relay, one of the greatest races in Olympic history, didn’t appear here until almost 11:30 p.m. Sunday. It also appeared at 11:30 in the East, but it was shown live there. Here, it was on tape, held for three hours."

I was happy to stay up late and watch that historic 4×100m relay.  The problem is: after several sleep deprived nights of staying up until 1 a.m., I’m reaching my limit.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.

ETA:  even more exhausting: the women’s gymnastics all-around. The U.S. won gold and silver, but the event aired well after midnight, with some of the most exciting moments airing well after 12:30 a.m.   The awards ceremony did not take place until 1:15a.m.

Furthermore, since 9p is traditionally the most-watched hour of television (in terms of HUT), how many additional viewers might have dropped out in big markets like LA and San Francisco?

As Knapp suggested, "why not scramble the tape a little, so that the best events have aired before 11 p.m.? Or start the telecast…behind the East, at 7 p.m. Pacific instead of 8?"

Also - what really struck me last night:  the less interesting events (synchronized diving and beach volleyball, at times) aired during primetime (7-11p.) here on the West Coast. 

Men’s gymnastics went on and on and on well past midnight with very few commercial breaks - which was great, of course.  But I’m actually curious to know how this type of schedule maximizes advertising revenue.

Watch it online (on a small screen) later?  No thanks.

Your viewers are worn out, NBC.  There has to be a better way.

ETA:  there are already 110 comments left on Knapp’s SFGate article and a lot of them are worthy reading.