NBC takes one more bite at the Beijing apple


We’re not sure what the Summer Olympics have to do with Christmas, Hanukkah or New Years, but NBC says “in time for the holiday season” it will air a primetime special "The Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony: TV Event of the Year" Saturday, December 27th (8-10 pm ET/PT). The special will be hosted by NBC Sports & Olympics host Bob Costas and "Today" co-host Matt Lauer, who not coincidentally also hosted the live event for NBC.

The special will take a new look at what was one of the great events of 2008. It is estimated that nearly two billion people worldwide watched the Opening Ceremony.

NBC drew a record audience for the critically lauded Ceremony. In the nearly 50 years of televised Olympics, NBC’s coverage of the Opening Ceremony in Beijing was the most viewed ever for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics with nearly 70 million total viewers.

Acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, whom Time Magazine recently ranked #5 in their Person of the Year issue, directed the Ceremony at the "Bird’s Nest," which featured a cast of 15,000. The show celebrated Chinese culture and its long, rich history, through spectacular use of fireworks, lights, colors, music, synchronized performances and climaxing with a dramatic lighting of the Olympic Cauldron. The special will not include the Parade of Nations.

Steven Spielberg, who wrote Zhang Yimou’s entry for Time Magazine said, "On the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008, 2 billion TV viewers and thousands in attendance in the now famous Bird’s Nest were treated to an unforgettable spectacle…In one evening of visual and emotional splendor, he educated, enlightened and entertained us all. In doing so, Zhang secured himself a place in world history."

"The Beijing Olympic Opening Ceremony: TV Event of the Year," also takes a look back at the greatest moments of the Beijing Games, including the record-setting performance from Michael Phelps. It also will include a brief look forward to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.