NEW YORK -- NBC has come under fire in the British press for editing out a performance during the London Olympics opening ceremony that has been interpreted by some as a tribute to victims of the "7/7" terrorist attacks that rocked that city in 2005.

The network, which has exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to the London games, cut instead to a taped interview between Ryan Seacrest and gold-medalist swimmer Michael Phelps.

The Daily Mail scoffed that NBC replaced a "tribute to 7/7 victims with bland Michael Phelps interview."

The Guardian, in a piece headlined "Row after NBC drop opening ceremony '7/7 tribute,'" said that section of Friday night's performance has been "widely interpreted" as a tribute to the 52 victims of the 2005 bombings.

As Scottish singer Emeli Sandé sang "Abide With Me," and a memorial wall featured images of spectators' deceased loved ones, BBC commentator Hazel Irvine noted that "the excitement of that moment in Singapore seven years ago when London won the Games was tempered with great sorrow the very next day, with the events on 7 July."

Deadspin, which first called attention to the missing segment and features video of the BBC's coverage, noted that the International Olympic Committee's media guide makes no direct reference to the 7/7 attacks. In the media guide, the related dance sequence, featuring 50 dancers, is described as dramatizing "the struggle between life and death using such powerful images of mortality as dust and the setting sun."

When asked about editing the song-and-dance performance, an NBC Sports spokesman responded in a statement: “Our program is tailored for the U.S. television audience. It’s a credit to [opening ceremony producer] Danny Boyle that it required so little editing.”

James Poniewozik, television critic for Time magazine, noted Saturday that there's "some disagreement over whether the segment was actually, literally a tribute to terrorism victims," despite the reference to the attacks during the BBC's coverage.

"But it also doesn't really matter," Poniewozik wrote. "Specific or general, a tribute to the missing seems like precisely the most sensitive section of a ceremony to edit out. And besides that, given the stranglehold NBC maintains on content for an event its audience has a massive interest in, why edit anything out? It may have been a long ceremony, as they always are, but there was plenty of time to air the song rather than have Ryan Seacrest interview athletes (which NBC has the rest of the games to do, over and over and over)."

This isn't the only criticism NBC has received over its broadcast of the opening ceremony.

While NBC is livestreaming every medal event -- a first in Olympics history -- the network isn't allowing online access to the opening and closing ceremonies before the spectacles air on prime time. On Friday, U.S. Olympics fans could follow coverage of the opening ceremony on Twitter or seek out live feeds online, but couldn't watch the entire four-plus-hour spectacle on television before NBC aired it that night.

Despite the criticism, NBC's ratings didn't suffer. On Saturday, the network announced that Friday night's opening ceremony was the most watched ever for a Summer Olympic Games, with 40.7 million viewers on average.

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  • Opening Ceremony

    The five Olympic rings rise above a scene depicting the era of the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    An artist performs during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    An artist performs as huge chimneys emerge from the ground to symbolise the industrial revolution during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Performers depict a view of the English countryside during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A general view of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A drummer performs during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Artistic Director of the Opening Ceremony Danny Boyle speaks whilst standing next to the Olympic Bell during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Chimneys erupt from the centre of the field during The Age of Industry scene in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012.

  • Opening Ceremony

    An artist performs as a chimney emerges from the ground to symbolise the industrial revolution during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    An actor climbs a giant chimney during The Age of Industry scene in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A performer climbs along a chimney emerging from the ground to symbolise the industrial revolution during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Huge chimneys emerge from the ground to symbolise the industrial revolution during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Drummers drum during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Performers depict a view from the change of the English countryside to the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Artists perform around chimneys during The Age of Industry scene in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Freshly 'forged' Olympic Rings fly above the chimneys during The Age of Industry scene in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012.

  • Opening Ceremony

    The Olympic rings are assembled above the stadium in a scene depicting the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Rings representing both the Olympics and the Industrial Revolution are lit during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A general view of the the set depicting the English countryside during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    The Olympic rings are assembled above the stadium in a scene depicting the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Actors perform in the scene The Age of Industry during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Rings representing both the Olympics and the Industrial Revolution are lit during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Artists perform as the Olympic rings are pictured above the stadium during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Rings representing both the Olympics and the Industrial Revolution are lit during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    An actor dressed to resemble Britain's Queen Elizabeth II parachutes into the stadium during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Actors perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Actors perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012.

  • Opening Ceremony

    The Olympic rings float above artists performing during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Aerial view shows the Olympic rings being raised in the Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Performers depict the industrial revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Performers depict the industrial revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    General view of the Olympic Stadium as the Olympic rings float above artists during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Inflatable yellow submarines float above artists performing during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A young performer holds a balloon during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Performers depict a view of the English countryside during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Drummers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Actors and dancers play Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital staff and patients during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Dancers playing Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital staff perform during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Dancers perform in the Gosh and NHS scene during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Dancers perform in the Gosh and NHS scene during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games on July 27, 2012 at the Olympic Stadium in London.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A general view of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Performers depict a view of the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A general view of the interior of the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    Performers depict a view of the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A performer in the role of Daniel Craig as James Bond parachutes out of a helicopter with a Union Jack parachute during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    The Union Flag is presented during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A general view is seen while performers depict a view from the change of the English countryside to the Industrial Revolution during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.

  • Opening Ceremony

    A general view is seen during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England.