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Will uproar over the Olympics' opening ceremony hurt NBC's Emmy hopes?

August 12, 2008 |  7:18 pm

NBC pulled in great numbers for the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing by pulling the wool over viewers' eyes. First came the report that the spectacular fireworks display was faked, now Olympics comes word that the charming little girl who sang "Ode to the Motherland" was lip synching. In the wake of such embarrassing revelations, will this three-hour-plus telecast be considered a worthy Emmy Awards contender next year?

The last three Olympics opening extravaganzas have competed for outstanding variety, music or comedy special. The 2006 Winter Olympics from Torino took home Emmy gold as the best special as well as a technical direction win. The 2004 Summer Olympics from Athens was bested by the 58th annual Tony Awards for the top prize but still won three Emmys, including best direction. And though the 2002 Winter Olympics from Salt Lake City lost the big award to "America: A Tribute to Heroes," it did take seven Emmys, including best direction.

And those are just the Primetime Emmys. At the Sports Emmys, Olympics coverage always grabs the gold by the fist full. You have to feel sorry for anything nominated against it — Olympics coverage seems to win automatically. Four years ago NBC's coverage of the Summer Games of the XXVIII Olympiad won five Sports Emmys, including two biggies: best live-event turnaround and best sports documentary. But what about the next Sports Emmys?

(Photo by Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)