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Olympic tips and teachable moments for viewers of the Rio Games

During Thursday night’s “NBC Nightly News,” Mary Carillo gave Lester Holt the perfect explanation of why the Rio Olympics should be a ratings hit.

Carillo explained that the next 17 days will give America relief from all the controversy and negativity of the presidential political campaigns.

Holt hugged her and said she had his vote.

She’s got my vote as well.

Not that the Games themselves haven’t had their share of negativity – polluted waters, fear of Zika and security concerns -- that host Bob Costas may have to cover.

But I expect Buffalo’s NBC affiliate, Channel 2 still will be one of the top-rated markets for the Games.

Without further ado, here is some information about the Games and some tips about how to best enjoy them.

Ah, Canada: Much has been made about NBC’s decision to tape delay Friday’s  opening ceremonies, starting its coverage at 7:30 p.m. Most Buffalo viewers have the choice of watching the ceremonies live 30 minutes earlier on Canada’s CBC. However, since CBC’s coverage is usually dull by comparison, I’d wait the hour and watch NBC’s Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Hoda Kotb. They are bound to be much more entertaining than CBC’s announcers. CBC also will provide much more live coverage throughout the games than NBC, though it often focuses on Canadian athletes who have no chance to win. However, since there is only an hour time difference between Rio and the East Coast of the United States, there should be plenty of live coverage on NBC.

Numbers Game: NBC will be carrying 260.5 hours of coverage over the 17 days. If you turn your TV on, the chance you’ll find some Olympic coverage on any of NBC’s 11 channels will be equal to the chance that Donald Trump will tweet. In other words, 100 percent. The 11 channels are carrying 2,084 hours of coverage.

Teachable Moment: is streaming all the competition – thousands of hours -- for viewers who have cable. So it would be a good time to learn how to transfer websites to your television via Chromecast or some other media streaming device.

Basketball Is On NBC’s Hockey Channel: Until the final, the schedule appears to show that Team USA’s basketball games will be carried on NBCSN, the cable network that carries the NHL. If Team USA makes the final as expected, it will be carried on NBC at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, the last day of the competition.

Insomniacs Rejoice: If you work at night or plan to go out tonight and don’t have a DVR, NBC is replaying its prime time coverage nightly at 1:30 a.m., starting with the opening ceremonies early Saturday morning.

Waiting for Track: Track and field, one of the most popular events, doesn’t start until Aug. 12.

We Like Mike: Mike Tirico, who left ESPN’s Monday Night Football to be part of NBC’s major events, will be the host of NBC’s daytime coverage before likely taking over for Bob Costas someday as the prime time host.

Searching for Telemundo: The Spanish-language channel is one of the 11 NBC channels carrying the Games. It is carried on Channel 60 on Time Warner Cable. Bravo, CNBC, the Golf channel, MSNBC, NBCSN, NBC Universo, USA Network, NBC and specialty channels for basketball and soccer round out the 11.

The Competition: The other broadcast networks aren’t stupid. They know just about everybody is going to be watching the Olympics. So they pretty much have raised the white flag, carrying repeats and reality shows. If you’re not a fan of the Games, it is a good time to watch a cable program or binge-watch a show you’ve never found time to view. Interestingly, AMC is premiering another season of “Fear The Walking Dead” on Aug. 21, the final night of the games.

Good Night and Good Luck: During the ongoing Television Critics Association tour, NBC’s Olympic executive producer Jim Bell reportedly gave a quick answer when asked how a viewer could navigate all the viewing options and schedules. “Good luck,” he said.

It’s a good motto for all Olympians as well as viewers.

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