NBC has had a lot of sand kicked in its face, and unfortunately for the former proud peacocks, as broadcast's 98 pound weakling there is no "Charles Atlas" to save them. NBC took a lot of heat about its estimated losses for the winter Olympics, which were originally estimated at $200 million and then bumped up to $250 million. Of course, in hindsight, they simply bid too much for the games years ago.
Whether NBC has any chance to make that up with the London games in 2012 remains to be seen. 2010 and 2012 were a package deal and NBC paid $820 million for the Vancouver games and $1.08 billion for the London games in 2012.
But NBC could at least hope that all was not lost, and that generating a good sampling for "The Marriage Ref" and "Parenthood" via constant on-air promotion during the Vancouver coverage would take some of the sting off of the losses.
But the words "On par with My Own Worst Enemy" and "Southland" clearly illustrate that there's not too much promotional bang for the buck via the Olympics.
Now Obi Wan Jerry Seinfeld Kenobi's "The Marriage Ref" is NBC's only hope for turning the huge lemon of a financial loss into any kind of Lemonade. "The Marriage Ref" got a very good sampling when NBC cut away from the closing ceremonies in Vancouver to air it. But how will it do on Thursday?
But at this point, no matter how it does, the promotional value of the Olympics is questionable. That's not to say there is no value, but there's no question for me that its value isn't nearly enough to offset losses of more than $200 million.