As the 2012 Olympics approach and composer Randy Edelman prepares to pocket another set of royalties for NBC's use of Theme from the Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., the official network of the Olympic Games sets to launch around-the-clock coverage—an unprecedented 5,535 hours-worth—across all platforms from cable channels MS- and CNBC, Bravo, its website NBCOlympics.com and, of course, its flagship network.
Delivered by the peacock, the 2008 Beijing Games were the most-watched event in U.S. television history with a total of 215 million viewers, thanks in great part to the memories crafted by not just athletes, but the broadcasters—the commentators, correspondents and analysts—who call the action.
Before he vacated his full-time role, Ebersol saw an incredible expansion of NBC Olympic coverage, overseeing the introduction of powerhouse names over his nearly four decades at NBC.
When Ebersol begin at NBC in 1974, the network had just wrapped up its second-ever Olympics with host Curt Gowdy manning the 1972 anchor desk solo. Jim Simpson, Billy Kid, Al Michaels, Jay Randolph and Terry McDermott served as announcers and commentators in the field.
Since then, NBC's modest cast of eight characters has ballooned into an Olympic-sized empire of hosts, analysts and play-by-play men and women that, in 2008 Beijing, totaled nearly 50, including 28 Olympians who won a combined 42 medals—25 gold, five silver and 12 bronze.
With so many broadcasters to choose from—and even more already promised for London—it is high time we rank NBC's best Olympic Games broadcasters.