Hosting the Olympics is one of the most prestigious gigs in sports. Legends like Jim McKay, Curt Gowdy, Chris Schenkel, Al Michaels, and Bob Costas have covered the Olympic Games. This year, you can add another top sportscaster to that elite list...
What the hell?
Yes, the American Idol and E! News host announced on this morning's Today Show that he will be joining the NBC mothership (E! is part of the NBC Universal family) and he will be covering the Olympics in primetime.
I hate to prejudge anything, but this is horrifying. As if the primetime coverage of the Olympics hadn't turned into a gloppy, two week human interest story, what in God's name could Ryan Seacrest possibly add to cover one of the world's greatest sporting events? This is the guy who was an executive producer for such influential sports programs as Denise Richards: It's Complicated. Is he going to be hosting a singing competition amongst the United States Olympians? Will he have interviews with celebrities to tell us about the wonderful spirit of the Olympic Games and the world coming together? Is he going to be stalking the Olympic Village just in case the Kardashians show up?
I'm sure it's something NBC feels like they need to do to reach out to a broader audience and all the people that watch the Olympics like it's some soapy two week miniseries event. However, to a sports fan, Seacrest fits the Olympics like Carl Lewis fits sitting next to Randy Jackson on American Idol. How would you feel if you were a sportscaster at NBC, working night and day in sports, and were just passed over for the dude from American Idol. Can you imagine Ryan Seacrest and Bob Costas sitting side by side at the anchor desk?
From the sporting perspective, it just doesn't make sense, but then again that's not what this decision is about. I'm sure Seacrest will do a fine job hosting the Olympics for whatever it is he'll be asked to do - it's not like he's a television rookie as he has hosted the biggest show in America for the last decade. Costas will likely remain the main host and Seacrest may just be asked to add special features, his exact role in the coverage or just how much he'll be doing hasn't been revealed yet. I just hope NBC provides live coverage of the events they will later dress up in primetime so I can avoid it like the plague. (Given the time difference, NBC's primetime coverage will be airing at around 2 AM in London, so there's likely not going to be a lot of live action then.) Give me NBC's excellent daytime and cable coverage where the live sports are actually taking centerstage, and not Pippa bloody Middleton.