NBC‘s coverage of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics will kick off Friday, July 23 with the network’s first-ever live morning broadcast of an opening ceremony. And when we say “morning,” we mean it for all time zones, especially on the West Coast where the pageantry will start up before 4 am.
(With Tokyo 13 hours ahead of the East Coast of the United States, the Opening Ceremony — which is anticipated to be “the first major global gathering since the worldwide pandemic began last year” 🤞 — begins in Japan at 8 pm.)
Friday morning’s Opening Ceremony broadcast will be followed by a special edition of the Today show, featuring athlete interviews, and then Tokyo Olympics Daytime, NBC’s first-ever such daytime program.
NBC’s primetime coverage of the Tokyo Olympics begins that Friday night at 7:30 pm, with a repackaged encore of the Opening Ceremony, Parade of Nations and all.
“Following the unprecedented challenges presented by the global pandemic, the world will come together in Tokyo for what could be the most meaningful and anticipated Opening Ceremony ever,” NBC Sports Group chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement. “Given the magnitude of this event, we want to provide viewers with as many ways to connect to it as possible, live or in primetime.”
Of course, the fate of the Tokyo Olympics is technically somewhat up in the air, given the ongoing pandemic that postponed the event once already. “I believe there will be an Olympics. I hope there will be an Olympics,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said on Jan. 28 during an earnings call. “That’s our best intelligence at this time.”
All told, NBC’s Tokyo Olympics launch plan looks like this:
FRIDAY, JULY 23 (all times ET)
6:55 am – 11 am Live Opening Ceremony Coverage
11 am – 1 pm Special Edition of TODAY
1 pm – 4 pm Tokyo Olympics Daytime
7:30 pm – Midnight Primetime Opening Ceremony
Saturday 12:35 am – 5 am Overnight Replay of Opening Ceremony
FRIDAY, JULY 23 (all times PT)
3:55 am – 8 am Live Opening Ceremony Coverage
8 am – 10 am Special Edition of TODAY
10 am – 1 pm Tokyo Olympics Daytime
4:30 pm – 9 pm Primetime Opening Ceremony
9:10 pm – Saturday 1:10 am Opening Ceremony Primetime Encore
Saturday 1:10 am – 5 am Overnight Replay of Opening Ceremony