NBC Makes Viewers Wait For Prime-Time, Still Manages To Spoil U.S. Swimmer’s Big Win Before Event Airs



NBC is already ticking its viewers off by making them wait for prime-time coverage to watch some of the most popular events on TV as well as delaying Internet streams of said events. But it isn’t just the Internet news coverage and social networks fans need to stay away from if they don’t want to have the results revealed before they can watch — turns out NBC found a way to spoil the fun minutes before broadcasting a big swimming moment last night.

Warning — in case you still haven’t watched last night’s swimming events, we’re about to tell you what happened.

Right before NBC was set to air the women’s 100-meter backstroke where U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin won the gold, the network ran a promo for this morning’s Today show featuring none other than gold-medal winner Missy Franklin. But in the land of viewers who abstained from the Internet in order to enjoy the watching experience NBC forced them to wait for, the race she won the gold for hadn’t even happened yet.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the promo announced: “When you’re 17 years old and win your first gold medal, there’s nobody you’d rather share it with,” and showed footage of Franklin standing on the medal stand with her gold medal, as well as reuniting with her parents. Surprise ruined.

So just stay away from the Internet and keep your eyes and ears shut while watching NBC right up until the moment the event starts. Although at this rate, NBC might find a way to spoil the surprise even then.

*Thanks for the tip, Jessica!

NBC spoils their own time-delayed Olympic coverage [EW.com]


Edit Your Comment

  1. milrtime83 says:

    Nice warning….that is somewhat useless because most people would see the accompanying picture first.

  2. ScottG says:

    One more item to add… I subscribe to NBC News Alerts email, they just sent an email out with the subject of who won the gold in the women’s gymnastics – which will not air until prime time later tonight of course.

    • Brandon says:

      This happened to me also about women’s gymnastics but with the iPhone app. They are pushing notification about events live when we wont see them til primetime. I also got a swimming event ruined right after so I just removed both the NBC Olympic apps. #nbcfail

    • Kestris says:

      Cnn.com does the same thing. So now I know who what what medals and haven’t even seen the events yet. Why bother watching now, you know, since we already know the outcome.

      • MPD01605 says:

        We have running bet at work on how long after major events it will be until the CNN “Breaking News” alert comes through.
        Also, is it just me or is a LOT of the “breaking news” not really relevant to the wider population?

  3. Coffee says:

    While this is an annoyance, I kinda think this entire live vs. not live thing is getting a little old. Oh, and for all the effort you made to include a spoiler alert in the text of the article, you showed a picture of the swimmer with the gold metal. Very NBCish of you.

  4. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    How many people go “la-la-la don’t tell me”? TV is for recaps of stuff you saw on the Internets yesterday.

    • dobgold says:

      kinda like Best Buy is the showroom for Amazon.com

    • umbriago says:

      A lot of eight and nine year olds, as well as the same people who get excited about their country beating another country in swimming.

  5. AtlantaCPA says:

    OK the other really annoying thing about NBCs coverage is that they only say what the race is like once in the very beginning and then never again. So every time there was a race we never knew when it would be over. No idea how many laps were going to happen.

    That and the woman on the sidelines with the most inane questions ever. I bet the swimmers hate having to do the interview afterwards.

    • IndyJaws says:

      Thank you…I was wondering if I was the only one who was annoyed by this. How hard would it be to superimpose the event name? Lord knows they put everything else on the screen.

      • lkm says:

        It’s the Olympic Broadcasting Service that does all the graphics and puts them on the world feeds, not NBC. So this should really be laid at OBS’s feet.

        • AtlantaCPA says:

          OK, then the NBC announcers need to occasionally mention things like “2 laps to go” or something.

        • Virga says:

          What? No, that is not how it works at all. There is no such thing as the “OBS”. There is a central feed, but it has no graphics or editing. This was all NBC.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      Update: last night they added “2 laps to go” in the corner of the screen for a second as well as the race name. They must read Consumerist!!

  6. Bramble73 says:

    Their own iPhone app, NBCOlympics, is spoiling results too. So far today I’ve gotten breaking news notifications that with results from today’s swimming and gymnastics events, that popped up on my iphone lock screen just like any other app notification. NBC won’t air those events until primetime.

    It appears to be the default setting of the app, you can turn off the breaking news notifiations, but you need dig down a few levels in the app interface. Not something someone would think to do until after they’d been spoiled.

  7. GrandizerGo says:

    The coverage has been awful to say the least.
    I love how they say they are broadcasting so many hours of the Olympics, but you still miss so much of it.
    I NEVER saw the scores for the final american female gymnast who beat the returning champ. I recorded it and replayed it 4-5 times, all they EVER said was that she was beaten by her teammate, never showed her score. They did the same thing with the Japanese star on the pommel horse.

    They need to stop allowing one station to broadcast the Olympics.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Agreed. I hate this monopoly of television.

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      The guy who they announced has having the highest potential score ever, or whatever? Yeah, I really wanted to see what he scored. Same for Reisman, I don’t remember them showing her last score.

    • Kestris says:

      That really annoyed us too. We wanted to know what her score was that she beat her teammate. And the Japanese guy, what was HIS score before the inquiry that raised it 2/10ths to bring them to Silver medal standings?!?

      • jumbojeepman says:

        And rather than just showing what American qualified for the individual apparatus medal, how about showing a list of all the qualifiers (like in swimming.)

        Why did they skip the rings competition all together? They didn’t show the Americans on the rings at all on the qualified events, they just showed the older Romanian guy; and on the medal rounds, they basically just showed why the American weren’t getting a medal, and skipped everything else.

    • jaazzman says:

      I can hardly watch 10 seconds of the US coverage before I have to change the channel. I realize NBC caters to a US audience, but jumping from one sport to another just to cover another American athlete is a terrible way to cover a world wide event. I’m so glad we have the great coverage up in Canada. Up here the broadcast is handled by a GROUP of channels…CTV, Rogers Sportsnet, TSN, TSN2…I think there may be a few more, plus Online coverage. Not only is the coverage great, but there is a focus on ALL athletes, not just Canadian ones. All this and LIVE coverage.

      • MsEllenT says:

        Came here to say that. We watched the opening ceremonies live on CTV, and were very confused when we didn’t see them also being broadcast on any US station … until they were already over. WTF? Why wouldn’t you broadcast the OLYMPICS live, of all events? It’s all over the Canadian stations, live, and different events on each station. We have great coverage!

    • lkm says:

      Anything to do with the graphics on screen is entirely down to the Olympic Broadcasting Service, whose coverage on the gymnastics in particular has been pretty bad. OBS produces the world streams and NBC (and all other channels) take these and then cut to their talking heads as needed.

      Not to say NBC aren’t being idiots, but the graphics are not their fault.

      • Virga says:

        What are you talking about?? there is no such thing as the OBS Mr or Mrs NBC Olympics Apologist Guy/Chick.

  8. cameronl says:

    Yawn. Most of us have day jobs, so we can’t watch until tonight anyway. Whole lot of whining going on by the minority who somehow have time to watch TV all day.

    • Murph1908 says:

      Ok, then in your stance, why would it matter then if they DID show it live when it happened? According to you, only a minority would be able to see it anyway, so the rest of the people would still watch it at night.

      Point invalid.

    • MMD says:

      Right, because you’re so busy and working so hard.n glad you checked reading and posting to Conumerist off of your to-do list!

      If NBC wasn’t restricting Internet streams for the popular events, everyone you wok with would be watching live online.

      Except you, because your day job is clearly so busy.

  9. lyontaymer30 says:

    But aren’t people watching anyway? Don’t they have their highest ratings?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It’s the Olympics. If sports issues have taught us nothing, it’s that people will jump through every hoop imaginable to watch sports.

      • lyontaymer30 says:

        And that being the case, why would they change lol? They’ve already illustrated that it works and is profitable. Would you change something that works and is profitable?

    • llsee says:

      Of Course they’re watching, what other choice do they have?

  10. RandomHookup says:


    If you are crazy enough to care about spoilers, turn off your computer, phone, radio & TV. Don’t look at any scrolling news boards on your way home and wear noise canceling headphones if you are going to be around people.

    I really think it’s a waste of energy to even try.

    • Rivercat says:

      I’d love to do that, except my job requires me to be on the Internet all day. Olympics coverage is never perfect but this time around seems especially bad. At least they’ve cut down on the sob stories (that I’ve seen).

    • MMD says:

      It’s crazy to try only because NBC and, really, most of the media have no idea how to deal with time-shifted viewing. In the age of the DVR and online viewing, that’s inexcusable.

      How hard would it be for the CNN news alerts others have mentioned here to have a subject line reading “Gymnastics Results” rather than blasting the actual results? Or for Consumerist to post ANY other photo besides one that spoils swimming results. There are sites I don’t visit anymore (Salon.com, I’m looking at you) because they refuse to avoid posting spoilers of Sunday night TV (Mad Men, Breaking Bad) first thing Monday morning.

      A modicum of thought and creativity would solve most spoiler problems. I don’t think it’s wrong to demand that (and more) from media in the digital age.

  11. El_Fez says:

    Last year, when the winter Olympics were in Vancouver, everyone in Seattle was all “Awesome! That’s only three hours drive away! We’ll get to see the Olympics in real time!”

    . . . .and we still had to suffer through a west coast time delay.

    So fuck you NBC. Fuck you very much.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I hate them. At least they seem to have learned how to shoot figure skating. For so long, they had closeups of their faces or feet while they were skating. Really? When you watch skating, you need to see THE WHOLE BODY.

      ABC and ESPN did it right, even posting what the music was, but ESPN dropped it altogether. I boycott them for everything since they did that. Now much of what they used to air is on Icenetwork.com, which requires a paid subscription. Fuckers. Guess when the 2012 Junior National champion, whom I know, goes to the Olympics someday, I’ll have to put up with it in order to watch her.

  12. Alex says:

    The elevator in my work place had the Water Polo win. But before that happened, it flashed *SPOILER IN 5, 4, 3, 2, 1* Then showed the win. Elevator 1: NBC 0

  13. Rebecca K-S says:

    I’m usually totally indifferent to spoilers, but knowing how it ended made it pretty much impossible to sit through men’s gymnastics last night. Made the mistake of looking at HuffPo today, so now I know how the women’s ends too.

  14. dush says:

    NBC knows the people who really care about the olympics are over there watching it live.
    Everybody else are just adversing fodder and suckers to be exploited.

    • Kestris says:

      Or the third group- can’t afford to go over there, let alone hotel rooms, tickets to events, etc. So we have no choice but to watch on TV or online.

  15. Draw2much says:

    Why can’t they do real-time live streaming online? (And then keep the videos up of the events afterward.) They could have a “best of” recap during the prime time slot on TV…. It’s not much different than what they’re already doing anyway. This way, the people who really love the Olympic events can see it in all it’s glory, while the people who just have a passing interest in it still get to see it on TV.

    I dunno. Just seems like NBC is making this a lot more difficult and annoying than it needs to be.

  16. axiomatic says:

    Is it too much to ask for to just cover the events live? The whole TV world used to stop for the Olympics. Now I still see boring ass stock market crap on channels that should be running the Olympics on it. I ASSURE you that there is a phone or tablet that can cover your stock trading for two weeks while something that only occurs once every four years is going on.

    NBC’s coverage is shit. If you work at it hard enough you can VPN to the BBC feed and see what should be shown by NBC.

    I also agree with all of the athletes who are complaining about the coverage as well. If NBC isn’t going to respect them enough to show them live the athletes owe NBC no respect in return.

    • Rexy does not like the new system says:

      Every 2 years…

      • axiomatic says:

        Nope… every four years.

        2012 Summer Olympics
        2014 WINTER Olympics
        2016 Summer Olympics

        2012 to 2016 is four years.

        • Rexy does not like the new system says:

          Well, yes, every four years if you count just the summer Olympics. Your post didn’t specify just the summer Olympics though.

  17. llsee says:

    Every Olympics the NBC coverage gets more xenophobic. In the case of the women’s artistic gymnastics, you would never know anyone else is competing cuz you never saw any other performances. Thank goodness for the internet and BBC so I can watch other teams/countries/competitors and see interviews with them.

  18. scousa says:

    Agree it’s totally crap that they don’t show the events live during the day and do a summary in the evening. As an F1 fan I’ve been dealing with this for years. Speed broadcasts most races live, although about 4 races per season are broadcast on Fox and they delay them until mid afternoon, it’s very hard to NOT see who won the race beforehand!

  19. Willow16 says:

    I’ve been watching the swimming streaming live on the BBC and what a difference from NBC. The commentators are very gracious about swimmers from other countries and you get to see everything – no cutting out to commercial. I realize that they don’t have many medal hopes from the UK and do have to focus on other swimmers but I haven’t heard anything negative from them except one remark that a swimmer’s swimming costume clashed with the cap.

    I am so glad I found out how to access the BBC online – watching has been so much better than on NBC.

  20. eccsame says:

    I tried to watch the Olympics last night. My experience went something like this:
    9:47 – 9:50 – women’s gymnastics – two gymnasts on parallel bars
    9:50 – 9:54 – commercials that mostly begin with “Greatness. Everyone has greatness, etc.”
    9:55 – 9:57 – women’s gymnastics – American gymnasts stand around drinking water while other countries compete in the background in coverage that I will never see.
    9:57 – 10:00 – commercials “It takes great adversity to make an athlete and Greatness to make a great cereal”
    10:00 – 10:07 – Puff piece on Michael Phelps about his coach and how his coach fucks with him to make him better
    10:07 – 10:10 – Commercials “great adversity and greatness make a gold great swimming”
    10:10 – 10:14 – Swimming
    10:14 – ? – Commercials and I turn off the tv.

    It really sucks when they cut away from soccer on a tape delay for commercials and don’t even “pause” the match when they do.