NBC spoils Missy Franklin’s gold medal while airing London Olympics

When we published our defense of NBC’s decision to air tape-delayed coverage of the London Olympics via tape delay, one of our major selling points was that it gave casual viewers a chance to check out the events who weren’t necessarily reading up about it on Twitter or the rest of the internet beforehand. Of course, this strategy doesn’t quite work when you ruin the results of your own telecast during commercial break.

On Monday night, this happened courtesy of swimmer Missy Franklin — whose gold medal win in theĀ 100-meter backstroke was spoiled a few short minutes before the event ended up aired on the network. What happened? The network basically posted an image of her holding the gold medal, and advertised a feature about her on “The Today Show” this morning.

So is it now fair to hold NBC responsible for botching this coverage in many ways? Definitely, but you also still cannot argue with success. The Olympics yet again posted over a 10.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic Monday night along with 31 million-plus viewers, and the numbers are up in both categories so far over both the 2008 Games in London and the last summer games held in the United States back in 1996. More people are watching in primetime, so it only makes sense that this tradition will continue and Olympic coverage in primetime is going to be a common thread in the weeks ahead. Now, we just have to hope that someone is more on the ball when it comes to promoting the talent coming up on “Today” the next morning.

Did you catch this gaffe on NBC last night? Just for fun, you can check out Franklin’s mother speaking out on the morning show by heading over to this link.

Photo: NBC

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