NBC Apologizes for Today Promo that Spoiled Olympic Swim Results: 'It Will Not Happen Again'

Talk about “Going for the D’Oh!”

NBC has apologized for spoiling the outcome of the women’s 100-meter backstroke event held Monday as part of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

On Monday night, during its not-at-all-live primetime coverage of the Olympics in London, NBC aired a promo for Tuesday’s Today that trumpeted 17-year-old U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin’s gold medal win in the 100-meter backstroke — just moments before the race itself was to be broadcast (on a tape delay).

RELATED | Olympics Watch: What Was Your Favorite Moment from London 2012, Day 3?

“Clearly that promo should not have aired at that time,” a rep for NBC Sports said in a statement shared via Twitter by ESPN’s Darren Rovell. “We have a process in place and this will not happen again. We apologize to viewers who were watching and didn’t know the result of the race.”

In other Olympics news, they Summer Games are doing wicked-good in the ratings. Like, a lot of people are watching. For example, 31.6 million total viewers watched during Monday primetime, the most for a non-U.S. Summer Games in 36 years. So, yeah, unless you hear differently from me/TVLine, lotsa people are watching.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. K says:

    Pretty much every event has been spoiled.

    • MelindaB says:

      Yep, but it’s even worse when the network broadcasting the Games does the spoiling themselves. I’m starting to think that either I need to resign myself to being spoiled on the big events, or I need to step away from the internet until they’re over. Three different feeds on Facebook spoiled gymnastics for me.

  2. saramarielouise says:

    that should read the women’s 100 m backstroke, not breaststroke

  3. The Mf'n Batman says:

    I hate everything about NBC’s Olympic coverage. How long do they have broadcast rights?

    • Really? What’s not to like? Want to see stuff live? EVERYTHING is streaming online as it happens. Then, since nothing is happening during US Primetime they present a digest of the day’s best most interesting events presented as if they were live for people that work during the day.

      • Are they official streams or are they shady illegal streams like happens for UFC and other events? I looked at the official streams last night and all the events set to be broadcast in primetime were disabled until they started showing them on NBC.

        • I work during the day, but I was able to watch most of the Women’s gymnastics prelims live over the weekend on NBCOlympics.com

        • Kerry Dixon says:

          They show them live while they’re happening, but if you miss the live feed, you either have to watch during prime on actual TV (the horror!) or wait until late, late at night, for the good stuff (read: swimming and gymnastics, and probably track when that starts soon)

      • Charissa says:

        What’s not to like? Maybe the fact that they left out portions of the opening ceremonies because they thought viewers wouldn’t understand what was happening? As if they can judge how intelligent we are and what we can or cannot understand. Or the fact that no one recognized or acknowledged that they interviewed Evander Holyfield randomly while getting opinions of people on the street? I think there is more NOT to like about their coverage than there is to like.

      • H says:

        Yes, but you can only watch it online without a login for a cable/satellite company for 4 hours, and then most of the time it isn’t even working. Sorry if that’s not amazing to me.

        • Not only that, but if you don’t catch the live stream replay is disabled for all events that are scheduled to run in primetime. They just say “concluded” and there is no link to the replay like the other events that are not set for tape delay.

        • Oh and you have to have cable with both MSNBC and CNBC unless you want to find other streams on the internet that may or may not be legal.

        • You’re right! Damn them for only allowing 4 HOURS of live streaming high-quality video to people who don’t pay them anything! Let’s go back to just a few hours of live events that start in middle of the night and are all done by mid-afternoon. On one broadcast channel, because God forbid we, people who care enough about television to be posting on a site called TV line, ever have to pay for “cable.”

          • Read my comment. You must have a cable subscription with MSNBC and CNBC. Your cable company pays a fee to them to put the channel in their cable line-up and you pay for the channel when you buy cable. So yeah, you are paying them. If you aren’t paying for cable, you cannot watch. Please get your facts straight if you are going to mock people.

          • Um… yeah that was my point. You can watch everything live if you’re paying for the service via subscription. The comment above was complaing that it wasn’t all free.

          • Ok if that isn’t good enough then how about the fact that people who don’t have cable that are still taxpayers fund the government which gives NBC the right to free use of the airwaves to broadcast their public channel. You should not have to pay NBC to watch the Olympics anyway because you are watching their advertisements every 5 minutes. Trying to shift it to the internet and force people to pay you to see it all live is BS.

          • First of all, the government doesn’t GIVE NBC the rights to broadcast over the air. Each NBC affiliate PAYS a licencing fee to the FCC for the right to broadcast in their market.

            But let’s pretend your premise is true. By your logic, since NBC is given rights to broadcast over the public airwaves, they should be required to place all footage that they have the rights to available for free over the internet. Is there a reason that this “rule” would only apply to the Olympics, or would they be required to make everything that NBC Universal available? All sports events, movies, archived TV shows? Pilots they didn’t pick up?

            I suppose this would apply to the other networks too. So if I didn’t want to watch the football game on my CBS channel, I wouldn’t have to pay for the Sunday Ticket, the other games would all have to be available for me to watch for free. If such a rule actually exsisted every network would drop it’s over the air broadcasting immediately.

            Look, my point in all this is that NBC is actually offering a great service. Every event is available to view live, the best stuff is then replayed when the most people will be home to view it. Anything that isn’t part of the primetime broadcast is made available for on-demand replays online. It’d be really easy for them to create “packages” and charge anywhere from $30-$100 or more for what’s available online, over the 17 days of the olympics. But they don’t all they do is require a cable subscription that includes their channels. And you’re not bound to a contract, if you have to upgrade to a sports package for NBCSN, you can drop it after the games are over. Or cancel cable entirely.

        • Jess says:

          actually the 4 hours didn’t work for me at all! i had access for literally 19 minutes. fail!

  4. sara says:


  5. Tape delay is stupid. Just broadcast it live. Especially if it is on the weekend. We all have DVR’s if we want to wait until we get home. Or they can rebroadcast it in primetime if they want. Right now you absolutely cannot go to ESPN.com unless you want all the results spoiled. I saw that promo last night and wondered why they would spoil a race they were about to show but I already knew anyway since I was going to ESPN to check for MLB trades.

  6. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I am getting seriously angry at the media outlets with all their Olympics spoilers. There has not been a single event held that I haven’t heard about before getting the chance to watch it on TV. I really wanted the drama and excitement of getting to watch all the competitions unfold. I have no problem with NBC delaying their coverage until primetime as there is this huge time difference and all of the best events are going on while I’m at work and unable to watch. I can’t do anything about that unless I call in sick the next two weeks, so thank goodness NBC is tape delaying stuff until most Americans are home for the night to watch. But I think most media outlets could be a lot more considerate with their headlines and what they put out there and they’re being really selfish on the issue. I think TVLine should give them all lessons on how to write a headline without spoiling important stuff. :)
    I actually wrote an email to my local news affiliate to complain about the spoilers they were giving in their headlines on their main page at 1 in the afternoon for races that weren’t scheduled to be aired until 7. And their response was to write an article on how if people didn’t want to see Olympics spoilers they should just shut themselves off from the internet, stop using Twitter, and just use their phones as phones, which I found to be incredibly condescending. Personally, that’s all my cheap phone is good for is to be a phone, I don’t use Twitter, and I pretty much have to use the Internet to work and you know…live my life, pay my bills, communicate with my family, etc. The internet is just a part of life now, and telling someone to stay off the internet is like telling them to go sit in a cave on Mars with their eyes shut and their fingers in their ears. Besides, I’m not going out online looking for this information, it’s finding me everywhere I go. Today I was innocently at my computer working with my email window minimized, when a new email notification from Breaking News at CNN came through in the corner of my monitor informing me a certain someone had won a silver medal. The best part about it was I never even had to open my email. It just popped up out of nowhere and assaulted me.
    I’m sorry that rant was so long. Thanks for listening. I just wish the media outlets would start having some consideration for their viewers and stop being such d*cks about the whole thing. It is possible for them to write a headline without spoiling the results of a competition. They’re just not even trying to do it.

    • lisa says:

      Ok, no offense here, but they’re media outlets. Their primary purpose as businesses are to provide MEDIA information, and the Olympics are the top subject right now! If you’re on the Internet all day – watch the events live! And close your email window so things don’t pop up, or change your settings. The info isn’t forced on you, it’s how you have your accounts set up.

    • MaryAnn says:

      I don’t see it as the fault of the media, it is the fault of NBC. If they would air the events live, then use prime time to re-air the most popular events, then it wouldn’t be an issue.

  7. Kelly says:

    NBC did a much better job with the Olympics 4 years ago in Beijing. I guess the time difference between the US and China was more conducive to live, prime time events in US. It’s a disjointed disaster this time and some of the commentators need to shut up. And the political ads played over and over agin make me change the channel, the last straw.

  8. Charlotte says:

    Thank God I live in Canada where we get all the coverage live on 3 channels. (and even more channels if you have a better package than I do!)

    • We have live events on no less than 8 channels in the US. The problem is they are only showing stuff that won’t draw an audience in primetime. All the most popular events are being tape delayed.

      • fiona says:

        Canada has all the popular events on live as well (ie gymnastics I was watching live at work)

        if americans can use it: ctvolympics.ca also has live feeds but they spoil on their replay clips who will win…. I wish they just use titles like “Mens 4×200 freestyle final” instead of “Michael Phelps Breaks Record for most Medals”

  9. lisa says:

    No such thing as a spoiler after an event has happened, really. I mean, it’s a mess up on NBC’s part since that specific race was just about to start, but I think it’s kind of ridiculous for people to be mad about this. If you really liked the sport that much, watch it streaming live on the Internet. The results are going to be posted everywhere – so either don’t look online or on TV until you can watch, or stop complaining.

    • I bet advertisers would completely disagree with you. Personally I don’t care because ESPN makes sure I know the second an event ends lol. No way around it. I can’t necessarily watch the streams but I get the results. What that means though is I don’t tune in to watch the tape delay broadcast. You get enough people doing that and it is a problem for advertisers.

  10. Allyson says:

    I hate that when I first log onto the internet on my homepage there are spoilers. Now, I don’t go looking for the results at all, but it sucks that results are right there in regards to swimming and other events. It makes me so mad. I don’t think it will be possible for me to stay off the internet for 2 weeks. MSN tells you the results and even shows you the person wearing a medal around his/her neck. Why can’t they give you a choice if you want to click on the story or not to see the results.

    • Jk says:

      You can change in your browser your start page…. In fact you can set it to a blank page.

      While everybody hates NBC for tape deal. You have to admit it is working for them as a network. They live or die by ratings, and one cannot question the ratings they are getting as anything but a huge success for the network. So while a dumb policy on one hand, it appears it is the right policy,

  11. Tahoe Mike says:

    If you live in the US you are stuck using NBC to view events online, and you need a cable/satellite account login. If you want to watch it for free, and are tech savvy and motivated enough, you need to hook up with a proxy server located in Canada, or Europe so that your computer appears to be overseas. Then you can access CTV, or BBC feeds for free.

  12. Dick Whitman says:

    The tears of the US people complaining about “spoilers” are delicious. Keep ’em coming, guys.

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  14. llws88 says:

    For the first time…it seems as though Canada has superior coverage of the Games…oppose to the U.S. Canada’s main network CTV has about 4 different channels that it airs all the live events. And then does repeats at night. Disappointing to see NBCs coverage but oh well they still pulling in the ratings…I guess…

  15. javi says:

    I know everyone hates the tape delay, but the Olympics are on a different CONTINENT…..what’re you gonna do? I’ve resigned myself to simply putting on my headphones at work, staying off of Facebook and Twitter, and watching my DVRs when I get home. There is SO much coverage, and I’m glad my DVR can hold 2,000 hours of recordings. A Dish coworker convinced me to get the Hopper HD DVR, and not only can I set or watch my DVR from anywhere (with the free Dish remote Access app), but the 2TB hard drive means I won’t have to worry about spoilers, scheduling conflicts, or lack of space. It’s the only way to go!

  16. MaryAnn says:

    So now instead of spoiling things they re-edit a gymnastics event to totally redo how the drama of the whole thing plays out. Right, NBC. No more spoiling yourself (just every other news outlet does the spoiling) and instead re-edit so that false tension is created and things don’t play out anything like the way they would on live tv.

    I for one made a decision early on this Olympics that I wasn’t going to watch, period. I would much prefer to have a 24-7 live feed, and if nothing is going on live during prime time then use that time to show highlights of the other 21 hours of the day. I listen to NPR and get all the results reported before NBC airs them, along with a reporting of NBC’s spin on things. So why bother?

  17. Roger White says:

    NBC even cut Ray Davis and Muse from the closing ceremony! I hope heads rolled!

  18. I don’t want to be the standard annoying English person…but the difference between the privately owned and profit driven NBC and the publicly owned BBC was pretty obvious!