West Coast TV stays on delay - even for Phelps
BEIJING -- West Coast viewers will continue to see NBC's swim coverage of the Beijing Olympics on a three-hour delay, even if Michael Phelps is in position on the final day to break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics.
NBC has been airing the swimming events live on a feed for the eastern and central time zones, but offering the same programing three hours later on delay for West-Coast viewers.
"It will not be shown live on the West Coast," said Brian Walker, NBC Olympics spokesman in Beijing. "This is a baseless rumor and I don't know the genesis of it."
Walker shot down speculation the network might go live across the country with the 400 medley relay, Phelps' final event. That event is scheduled for Sunday morning Beijing time, which is Saturday night on the U.S. East Coast.
Phelps needs to win gold medals in two more events -- the 200-meter individual medley and the 100 butterfly -- to set up the historic attempt for No. 8.
"The situation will remain the same as it has for all of our prime-time broadcasts," Walker said. "The reason that we're showing this in the normal prime-time patterns on the West Coast is because this is when the majority of people are available to watch."
Phelps has won five gold medals, setting five world records in the process, so far at the Beijing Olympics. He picked up his 10th and 11th career gold medals Wednesday to become the winningest Olympian of all time.
NBC paid almost US$900 million for Olympic broadcast rights, and then persuaded International Olympic Committee officials to move the finals to the morning, giving American viewers his races live in the evening.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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