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NBC Firms Up Olympics Programming

NBC Universal formally announced its 2008 Beijing Olympic Games programming Tuesday.

All told, the company will present more than 3,600 hours of coverage, with nearly 2,900 hours live, both records.

As previously announced, the content will be distributed across all of the company’s networks and platforms.

NBC Olympic programming will be divided into three parts -- afternoon, primetime and late-night -- for a total of 225 hours of coverage, kicking off with the opening ceremony Aug. 8 at 8 p.m.

Primetime will have live coverage of all 32 swimming gold medals, as well as men’s and women’s gymnastics, beach volleyball and, for the first time, the marathons.

USA Network’s 165 hours will be anchored by basketball and soccer coverage of Team USA. The network will also feature live tennis, water polo and volleyball matches.

MSNBC will carry 175 hours of coverage, including the opening soccer matches the two days before the opening ceremony. Also on the channel will be basketball, softball, soccer, weightlifting, beach volleyball and wrestling.

CNBC will be anchored by boxing coverage following Closing Bell on weekdays, while the midnight-4:30 a.m. block will have long-form coverage of softball, tennis, weightlifting and badminton. All told, the financial-news channel will have 95.5 hours of coverage.

Oxygen will carry 20 hours of coverage, with events geared toward the channel’s female audience. The network will feature a daily look at gymnastics, and it will also carry tennis and equestrian.

Telemundo will carry the most coverage of all of the NBCU networks, at 380 hours. The Spanish-language channel will feature live coverage of men’s and women’s soccer, as well as track and field, gymnastics, basketball, diving, swimming and baseball. The network will kick off with soccer preliminaries in the two days leading up to the opening ceremony.

Universal HD will offer HD simulcasts of all coverage from CNBC and MSNBC, 379 hours total. will fill in the gaps, providing live coverage of nearly all of the sports, with the exception of some of the most popular events, such as swimming and gymnastics, which will not be streamed until after they air on NBC.

All 34 Olympic sports will be covered by the network in some form.

“In the 41 years since my first Olympics, it’s staggering to me to be involved in a Games where we are producing 2,900 hours of live coverage -- especially from an Olympics half a world away,” NBC Sports and Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol said in a statement. “It’s more live coverage from a single Olympics than the total of all previous Summer Olympics combined. The enormity of what we’re doing just blows me away.”