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NBC Explains Gabby Douglas, 'Animal Practice' Promo Snafu

No offense was intended in what was a coincidental occurrence, the network tells THR.

Animal Practice's' Justin Kirk
NBC

Immediately after NBC finished its broadcast of American gymnast Gabby Douglas' gold medal-winning performance on Thursday, the network cut to a promo spot for one of its new primetime shows, Animal Practice.

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The promo featured the show's star monkey, Crystal, competing on gymnastics rings -- which has drawn criticism on Twitter, as broadcaster Bob Costas had just been speaking of the historical significance of Douglas becoming the first African American woman to win the event. Tod Robberson of the Dallas Morning News called it "supremely thoughtless and undoubtedly insulting to lots of viewers."

On Friday, NBC issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, insisting that there was no intended racial significance.

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"Gabby Douglas' gold medal performance last night was an historic and inspiring achievement. This spot promoting Animal Practice, which has run three times previously, is one in a series with an Olympic theme which have been scheduled for maximum exposure. Certainly no offense was intended."

The network has several different promos for the show, including three with Olympic themes. With gymnastics and swimming providing a family audience, the network, it's been explained, decided to run the promo for Animal Practice, one of its more family-friendly shows this fall.

Ratings put last night's audience at 35.7 million Americans.

Email: Jordan.Zakarin@THR.com; Twitter: @JordanZakarin