NBC Olympics production chief (and “Today” EP) Jim Bell talks to Vanity Fair about the upcoming games. Bell talks about big stories for thew games, tape delays, and a subject that he has been dealing with at his other job, ratings:
How much of a concern are television ratings going into the Olympics, especially knowing how much viewing habits have changed in the past few years? Do you have a different overall goal or marker for NBC’s performance?
We’re always focused on ratings and even with shifts in viewing habits, there is still a tremendous appetite for big events, like the Olympics and the Super Bowl. These are stalwarts of the shared American experience and will be for a very long time. The Olympics are unique because they dominate the country’s attention for more than two weeks and are among the most-watched events of all time. Beijing was seen by 215 million viewers in 2008.