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Evaluating NBC’s Olympics Coverage at the Halfway Mark

Sports Illustrated: NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus addressed some questions viewers have have had regarding NBC’s coverage of the PyeongChang Games. Lazarus spoke to Sports Illustrated for 30 minutes on Sunday afternoon (Monday morning his time) from his office at the International Broadcasting Centre in PyeongChang.

SI: You made a huge investment in Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir a couple of years ago to make them your No. 1 figure skating team. That decision has proven to be wise. They are the rare sports broadcasting team who has gotten near-universal praise for their work. How satisfying is it for you to see them excelling in what is the most important Olympic sport for NBC, at least on viewership terms?

Lazarus: Tara and Johnny are exceptional broadcasters and I don’t want to leave out [host] Terry Gannon who I think is a key part of that trio because of the role he plays in keeping everything moving in a good direction. They are pleasing to the viewers, they have fun, they are fun and they have a little bit of flamboyance coming through the television. But when you listen to their analysis, that is what separates them and makes them so good. They are just very insightful and honest and direct. We are very pleased. We think they are very good for our audience.

Read more here.


Terry Gannon, Tara Lipinski, and Johnny Weir on the air at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

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Olympics Winners and Losers: NBC, Johnny Weir, Winnie the Pooh and More

Chicago Tribune: Rougly halfway through the Olympics, there are so many wonderful and so many confounding moments. Let’s review.

Winner: Johnny Weir
The NBC analyst continues to dazzle in the broadcast booth, and not just because of his bejeweled outfits. Consider his take on Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu’s short program: “That performance is what angel’s breath looks like.”

Read more here.


Johnny Weir on the air at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

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VIDEO — Tara and Johnny Learn About K-Pop

NBC Olympics: Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir get up close and personal with Korean superstar Eric Nam to learn about what makes K-Pop such an international sensation.

Tap/click here or on the photo to launch the video.

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VIDEO — Tara and Johnny Give Leslie Jones a Glitter Makeover

NBC Olympics: Leslie Jones brought some Team USA gear with her, but Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir have her missing piece.

Tap/click here or on the photo to launch the video.

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Olympics: Leslie Jones, Tara Lipinski, and Johnny Weir Strut Their Stuff to Beyoncé

Entertainment Weekly: Leslie Jones, Tara Lipinski, and Johnny Weir are crazy in love — with Beyoncé!

Sharing a video of what really goes on backstage at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Jones joined the two figure skating commentators to pay tribute to the 36-year-old singer and her legendary 2003 single.

While “Crazy in Love” played in the background, the trio put on their coordinating shutter shades in unison and proceeded to strut down an empty hallway together, showing off their best Queen Bey dance moves.

But after Weir accidentally ran into a vacuum cleaner, nobody could keep their calm, and by the end of the video the whole trio had broken out into fits of laughter.

Read more here.

Featured image courtesy of Leslie Jones on Instagram.

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VIDEO — Tara and Johnny: Always Camera-Ready

NBC Olympics: Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are always ready for the camera. When not commentating, they’re breaking down a beat. With bonus Terrance Gannon.

Tap/click here or on the photo to launch the video.

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VIDEO — Step Inside Johnny Weir’s Hotel Room at the Olympics

New York Times: Exquisite pieces of jewelry are arranged like someone’s prized Olympic pin collection on the counter. More than two dozen pairs of shoes, many of them as sparkly as Dorothy’s red slippers, are lined up like foot soldiers on the floor. Along a wall next to the queen-size bed is a garment rack groaning with beautiful clothes.

A visit to Johnny Weir’s hotel room reveals sartorial flourishes that would make Liberace covetous. It also provides answers to some of the questions that millions of American television viewers have pondered in prime time each night of the Pyeongchang Games, where Weir and his NBC broadcast partner for figure skating, Tara Lipinski, have all but upstaged the skaters themselves with their very-big-night-out attire.

For starters: Weir traveled to South Korea with 13 designer suitcases filled with his finest. Lipinski brought only nine.

Never mind the athletes they are covering; by virtue of the unadorned honesty of their commentary and the haute-couture majesty of their wardrobes, Weir and Lipinski have become must-see TV.

Weir, 33, has his hair swept into a bird nest — two women help him style his hair and do his makeup each day — and wears sequined blazers over layers of leather and lace. Lipinski, 35, wears small dresses and high heels, which she can get in and out of in less time than it took her to complete a short program. On Friday, she strolled into Weir’s room for an interview wearing jeans and a casual top.

Upon finding out she and Weir would be videotaped, she slipped out of the room. She returned 1 minute 50 seconds later wearing a fire-engine-red mini dress and heels.

“I make fun of how small her dresses are,” Weir said. “That’s why she has less luggage than me, because her dresses are napkin-sized.”

Read the full interview here.

If the video won’t play, please watch on the New York Times website.


Featured photo courtesy of Hilary Swift / New York Times.

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Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir Have Chemistry, Frank Analysis that Elevates NBC Coverage

USA Today: For many, the commentary combo of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are more of a reason to tune in to the Winter Olympics than the individuals and pairs populating the competition itself.

The Tara and Johnny show came to Sochi four years ago, but this time it has hit prime time on NBC and promises to be raucous, outrageous and completely unafraid to pull any punches.

It is a double act that works, to the extent that the network has put them together at Super Bowl media day, the Academy Awards, the Kentucky Derby and the National Dog Show.

“When you are trying to reach a younger crowd, this is 2018, the old school way isn’t going to work,” Lipinski, 35, told USA TODAY Sports in recent joint interview with Weir. “You have to be honest and lay it down exactly as you see it.  There’s a lot of pretty strange things in our sport and you have to have a good chuckle.”

That brand of irreverent humor isn’t appreciated by some of the sport’s hardcore and traditionalist fans, but is adored by the wider mainstream set that truly drives ratings. Figure skating hasn’t boomed since the 1990s and has been left behind by the rapidly evolving media landscape. Weir and Lipinski are doing their darndest to bring it back.

“The 90s were great, it was such a boom time, and on television in general everything was very airbrushed, very beautiful and packaged,” Weir said. “Then came the family we all love so much — the Kardashians — and suddenly butt injections were on TV, Lady Gaga was ruling the charts, things changed and people wanted reality. We give them reality.”

In 2014, they were NBC’s broadcast experiment, thrown together. They’ve never looked back. Figure skating commentary may never be the same again.

Read the full interview here.


Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir on the air at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

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VIDEO — Johnny Weir Has Finally Gone Full Hunger Games

NBC Olympics: In the montage you never knew you needed, here is Johnny Weir at his Caesar Flickerman best from the Winter Games in PyeongChang.

Tap/click here or on the photo to launch the video.

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AUDIO — The Tara and Johnny Podcast: Team Figure Skating

Tara and Johnny: “She’s an Olympic champion. He is a two-time Olympian. Together, they’re figure skating royalty turned NBC commentators. And now they’re pop culture icons. But more importantly, they’re best friends. NBC presents: ‘Tara and Johnny.’ Here’s Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir.”

Tara and Johnny are in full commentator mode at the 2018 Olympic Games. They talk about the first night of Team Figure Skating, preparing for the Olympics, and more.

Subscribe now to ‘Tara and Johnny’ on Art19 (below) or iTunes.

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