Nbc Closes Closing Ceremony Early; Viewers Irate
NBC has managed to do it again -- anger a lot of viewers and tarnish the prestige of one of its most bankable stars. The network, which had bombarded viewers with promos for its Seinfeld">Jerry Seinfeld-produced reality show Marriage Ref throughout its coverage of the Winter Olympics, decided to interrupt its broadcast of the closing ceremony Sunday night in order to air a preview episode of Seinfeld's new show. At the University of Massachusetts in Amherst Kate MacDonald was live-blogging during the ceremony, when she interrupted herself. "Wait. In the middle of the ceremony, right when we had come back from commercial break, NBC decides to cut to Jerry Seinfeld's new show, The Marriage Ref . Um, excuse me. WHAT GIVES?!" On its website, the New York Times noted that NBC had cut out of the closing ceremony and wasn't showing it on its sister channels. "Here's what you're missing," the Times wrote, then proceeded to describe the unfolding event. The Associated Press observed "Those enjoying the festivities were told to come back in an hour -- at 11 30 p.m. on a night before work or school -- for the conclusion. ... Incredible that NBC would wrap a show it has high hopes for, and one of its biggest stars, in ill will." About 26 percent of the audience for the closing ceremony bailed out during The Marriage Ref , according to overnight Nielsen ratings. Meanwhile, early reviews of the show have been mostly dreadful. (TV critics were not allowed to view the show in advance of airtime.) David Zurawak, the TV critic of the Baltimore Sun, commented, "After seeing the 'special sneak preview' of The Marriage Ref Sunday night, I am thinking maybe Jay Leno in primetime wasn't such a bad idea after all. [ The Marriage Ref will begin airing on Thursday nights in Leno's recent 10 00 p.m. time period beginning this week.] If this is NBC's idea of how to win viewers back at 10 p.m., heaven help the poor affiliates like WBAL-TV that have to try and find an audience for their late newscasts on the heels of it. ... And who knew NBC could be so crazy as to appear to clip the closing ceremonies of the Olympics so that a huge primetime audience would see this sorry excuse for primetime entertainment?" On his twitter site, Time magazine's James Poniewozik remarked, "NBC just demonstrated the difference [between] so-awful-it's-awesome and so-awful-it's-awful." Writing for Gawker.com, Adrien Chen concluded that The Marriage Ref "is a mess."