Fans of the Olympics may have felt divided by loyalties to different athletes and countries, but many U.S. viewers, at least, found themselves relatively united on one front — criticism of NBC's coverage of the Summer Games.
The network's strategy of airing tape-delayed events in prime time drew the ire of countless viewers — A-listers and non-celebrities alike — on Twitter and other forms of social media, as they learned of the results ahead of time via the Internet or other media. (The events were streamed live on NBCOlympics.com.) The backlash was so extensive that it prompted the creation of a new hashtag, "#nbcfail", on Twitter.
The Twitter outrage continued right to the very end, after NBC decided to interrupt Sunday's coverage of the Closing Ceremony at 11 p.m. to show a sneak preview of the new sitcom Animal Practice. NBC then aired the rest of the celebration an hour later, after local news. (The network did the same thing for the 2010 Winter Olympics, interrupting the Closing Ceremony festivities in Vancouver to showcase The Marriage Ref.)
In addition, portions of Sunday's Closing Ceremony were edited out entirely for NBC's broadcast, including performance art pieces, and musical performances by Kate Bush, The Who, Ray Davies of The Kinks, and others.
Despite the complaints, NBC averaged 31.1 million viewers in prime time throughout the London games.
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