Every four years, the greatest winter athletes come together to celebrate their sport. These men and women from all over the mostly northern parts of the world converge on some lucky, and probably soon-to-be bankrupt, city to engage in noble sports like downhill skiing, luge, curling, and hockey. Or, if you ask NBC: ice skating, ice skating, ice skating, and, at midnight on Tuesdays, curling. Usually, NBC has its announcers trot out a maudlin story about every competitor as they attempt to turn the Olympics into just another reality show…BUT ON ICE! Their dismal coverage has a chance of improvement this year, as NBC has confirmed that comedian and SNL star Leslie Jones will assist the network in covering the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
Jones became a sensation in 2016 when her enthusiastic and frequent tweets about Team USA not only went viral but got her added to NBC’s coverage of the Rio Olympics. A former basketball player, who attended college on a scholarship on that sport, she spent the remainder of the Rio games covering swimming, track and field, gymnastics and beach volleyball with her trademark humor and enthusiasm.
Jones will fill a similar role in 2018, no doubt taking an expanded role thanks to her being there from the beginning. NBC Exec Jim Bell, who brought Jones in, implies that Jones will be going on “adventures” in Korea. She will be involved in sports coverage and meeting with athletes. One thing is for sure: her enthusiasm for Team USA and unbridled joy will be as infectious as ever.
They’re pulling out all the stops as their ratings have steadily declined over the years, bringing back Katie Couric to assist as well. Jones’s coverage is much closer to the feelings of real sports fans than the stone-faced robotics of Bob Costas and company. We can only hope that NBC sees this and doesn’t put too many constraints on Jones.
The Winter Games begin Feb. 8 and NBC will have more than 2,400 hours of programming, including livestreams and primetime events (adjusted for the 14-hour time difference).