A new television network is set to launch Saturday at 6 a.m. ET, with an initial reach of about 35 million U.S. homes. The network is The Olympic Channel, a project of NBCUniversal, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee.
Writing for the AP, veteran TV writer David Bauder notes that the channel, officially dubbed domestically “The Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA,” will kick off “with NBC’s Mike Tirico previewing the live sports, archival footage and documentaries that will make up most of its programming. The show will repeat several times over the weekend for those sleeping in.”
Bauder adds: “World championships in track and field, swimming and diving and beach volleyball will fill considerable airtime during the infant network’s first two months. A lengthy tribute to the 1992 United States ‘Dream Team’ in men’s basketball will lead into Labor Day.”
The new linear channel is not the same as Olympic Channel, the IOC’s digital channel.
“Multiple ownership situations can … be unwieldy in creative operations,” Bauder notes. “But promoting the Olympics is the IOC’s and USOC’s business. NBCUniversal also wants to build interest in the Olympics because it has the rights to broadcast summer and winter Games through 2032.”