Uncomfortable moments for NBC with Shaun White allegations

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 15, 2018

By David Bauder

AP Media Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:

FOLLOWING WHITE: The sexual misconduct allegations against snowboarder Shaun White that resurfaced after he won gold surely caused discomfort at NBC. A lawsuit by the female former drummer in White’s rock band accusing him of crude behavior was settled last May. After White’s victory, Christine Brennan of USA Today wrote, “Why in the world aren’t we talking about this?” White was asked about it during a Wednesday news conference in which no female journalists were called upon, and said he didn’t want to talk about “gossip.” His hole dug deeper, it fell to the “Today” show’s Savannah Guthrie — whose former co-host, Matt Lauer, was dismissed in November because of an improper workplace relationship — to ask more. She did, twice, prefacing one question by saying, “I take no pleasure in asking it.” During a pre-taped interview that aired during Tuesday night’s Olympic coverage, NBC’s Mike Tirico asked White about coming back from his loss in Sochi and an injury he suffered in New Zealand, but the sexual misconduct case never came up. Perhaps it would remind viewers of Tirico’s own history — he was suspended for three months in the early 1990s while at ESPN — and that’s clearly something NBC wants in the rear-view mirror.

RATINGS: An estimated 22.3 million people watched Olympic coverage in prime time Tuesday on NBC, the cable network NBCSN or online, down 6 percent from the 23.7 million who watched the same night in Sochi four years ago. NBC’s viewership alone was 21 million, the Nielsen company said. The audience peaked at 28.2 million at the time of White’s gold medal-winning final run on the halfpipe.

WINDY: It was a close call for NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday. The park where the morning show’s set is located was evacuated briefly due to high winds. But by 9 p.m. on Wednesday in South Korea — the time “Today” begins its live feed for the early morning audience in the United States — the wind had died down.