One thing about Olympic telecasts: The commercials usually come fast and furious. But Tuesday night's Olympic prime-time telecast, featuring the U.S. women's gymnastics team and swimmer Michael Phelps' quest to become the winningest Olympian ever, was surprisingly and refreshingly light on commercials.
As NBC went back and forth between swimming and gymnastics (which was live to the Eastern and Central time zones, but tape-delayed to the Pacific and Mountain), the network said it went without a commercial break for approximately 42 minutes (from 10:57 p.m. until 11:39 p.m.). NBC also said in the last 1 hour and 40 minutes of the prime-time broadcast, NBC aired only a little over eight minutes of commercial time.
Also surprising and refreshing in 2008 is the fact that I've heard hardly any complaints about the way NBC is showing these Olympics, other than the fact that it puts the "LIVE" label on West Coast prime-time telecasts that are taped.
These Olympics are on the way to becoming the most watched games in history (more on that Wednesday) and devotion to content over commerce is one good reason why.