Figure Skating: From the Boards

Dear NBC… October 11, 2010

Filed under: Pre-Season Chatter — Tara Wellman @ 11:25 am
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Yesterday, October 10, 2010, NBC sports aired “All that Skate LA” – a figure skating show from the Staples Center that featured three current Olympic Champions, and the return of the most decorated skater in US history – Michelle Kwan – to American ice. This show, according to all who saw it live, set new standards for how a skating show can (and should) be done. Thankfully, they aren’t the only people who had the chance to see that for themselves.

First of all, thank you, NBC, for recognizing the significance of this show and choosing to make it enough of a priority that you had a crew there in the first place. Skating on television is almost an anomaly for US skating fans these days, and I can’t tell you how important this show was to us, and, therefore, how important your broadcast of the show was as well.

Secondly, thank you for not only having a crew there, but one that was knowledgeable enough to direct the broadcast based on what viewers would want to see. All too often, skating is broadcast by people who obviously don’t know the sport, and we get an array of wide angle, “establishing”-type shots that don’t show the skater at all. Or, we’ll get close ups of faces during a footwork sequence, or close ups of feet during  a spin or a spiral sequence – none of which make viewers happy! This show, however, captured perfectly everything that I wanted to see, in great quality, and with great care and understanding. I was impressed.

Also, thank you for doing something that may seem strange to the casual viewer/listener – not having commentators to take away from the show itself! Now, coming from a broadcast background, I fully understand and appreciate the announcers for most events. Especially for a sport like figure skating, the competitive aspects may need to be explained to the viewer who isn’t a fanatic. But something like this speaks for itself, and the lack of chatter made it feel like the TV audience was a part of the live audience, as much as is possible, at least. It was wonderful.

Unfortunately, a good portion of the actual event was cut out due to time constraints. Perhaps next time (after sponsors have seen how successful this show was) they will “splurge” for the extra time to show the rest of the skaters.

Also unfortunate is the fact that this show – yes, the very one that I’ve raved about thus far – wasn’t even aired in my area. What I’ve seen has been thanks to other sources and friends. What I’ve heard, however, is that this broadcast was all I’ve expressed and more. So, NBC, as wonderful a job as you did with this show, it would have been even more wonderful if many die-hard fans, as well as some casual fans who would have tuned in for this particular event, had actually been able to catch your broadcast. That, in turn, would have led to a larger audience that could help the ratings for skating in the long run. It’s tough, you know, when the complaint against airing skating is that it isn’t popular enough, yet the little bit that does make the cut isn’t even shown everywhere or in its entirety. What’s not available to be seen isn’t likely to gain popularity. Just food for thought…

Ultimately, this was a stellar show that was handled with great care. Those who saw it as it was aired were impressed, and even those who had to find other ways to see the NBC broadcast, such as myself, were still impressed! So, thank you, NBC, for recognizing the value of Yu-Na Kim, Michelle Kwan and company, and for displaying it in a way that matched the magnificence of the show itself.

I hope to see more NBC skating broadcasts handled the same way.


Tara Wellman


6 Responses to “Dear NBC…”

  1. Mary Crispin Says:

    Where do I sign the petition!! ?? Well said, Tara. Thank you for speaking for thousands and thousands of figure skating fans who would love to see more like this one – or just more, period.

  2. So happy lear you reporte

  3. cindy Says:

    Thank you NBC!!

  4. Kate Says:

    It was so great great show..
    It impressed me.. I hope that keep continue to see their show..
    Thanks NBC..
    I am looking for where I can see the 2011 world figure skating championships??..

    • I’m not sure where you’re watching from, but and Universal Sports will be streaming live via the internet. There will be television coverage here and there…I’m not sure of the specifics for different countries.

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