Jim Bell, the executive producer of "Today," defended NBC's coverage of the Olympics and spoke out about its rivalry with "Good Morning America" in an interview released on Wednesday.
The 2012 Olympics marked Bell's first time leading coverage of the games. The network was hit with a steady stream of criticism — over its decision to air the events on tape delay, its editing of the opening and closing ceremonies, spoiling Missy Franklin's gold win, and more. Viewers reacted on Twitter, even spurring the hashtag #NBCfail.
Bell told The Hollywood Reporter that the uproar was somewhat baffling, but also expected for a broadcast watched by so many people. He defended the network, saying:
"We're putting the most popular things on when the most people can watch them. We also have affiliates to consider. We have advertisers to consider. It's a business. This isn't the BBC. So for people to get so sideways about, 'Why aren't you showing me this, that or the other thing live?' We offered everything live."
Bell also cited the network's live stream of the events in a quick Twitter retort during the games.
He told the Hollywood Reporter that the Olympics was a "cleansing moment" for "Today" after a tough period for the show. The first half of the year saw "Today" lose its sixteen-year streak as the number one morning program in America, and the network's messy ouster of Ann Curry as co-host. Click over to The Hollywood Reporter for the full interview.