NBC is on defense after opting not to air a segment of the Olympic opening ceremony that was seen as a tribute to victims of the 2005 bombing attacks in London.
NBC, which has exclusive American broadcasting rights to the games, aired a pre-taped version of the opening ceremony during primetime in the U.S. on Friday. Instead of airing the segment which featured singer Emeli Sande performing “Abide With Me” along with a dance performance, NBC broadcast an interview with American swimming star Michael Phelps. The dance sequence, which featured 50 dancers, alluded to the 52 people who died in bus and train bombing attacks on July 7, 2005, the day after London had been awarded the games.
Explaining the network’s decision, an NBC spokesman told USA Today “our programming is tailored for the U.S. audience. It’s a tribute to (opening ceremony producer) Danny Boyle that it required so little editing.” NBC did not respond to TPM’s requests for comment.
Still, NBC is taking heat for its decision. British choreographer Akram Khan, who created the cut sequence, expressed during a press conference his disappointment in NBC’s move. “I was really shocked and horrified and would like to know on what grounds the American media can make that decision,” he said.
Below are images from the segment. Victims of the attacks were shown before the performance:
A scene from the dance performance:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com