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With just over 24 hours until Friday night’s Opening Ceremony, NBC’s Olympics executive producer Jim Bell has plenty to worry about. Bob Costas, the face of the network’s coverage, is the least of his concerns.
Costas plans on taking the International Olympic Committee to task for denying Israel’s request for a moment of silence during the Opening Ceremony to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 of the country’s athletes at the 1972 Munich Games, and Bell told reporters on Thursday that he feels comfortable with whatever his anchor might say.
“I don’t think he put any added pressure on himself,” Bell said of Costas. “We’ve been talking about that, among many other things about the Opening Ceremony, and I think if there is anybody who knows how to handle himself in that situation, and have the right approach and tone, it’s Bob and Matt [Lauer], who we’re confident will be there tomorrow night.”
He did say that he had not spoken to Costas before the Emmy-winner announced his intention to voice his displeasure with the IOC’s decision.
“I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” Costas recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.”
Bell demured from calling Costas’ intended moment of silence an official NBC plan, though he added, “I know we’re going to handle it appropriately and respectfully, and Bob as he always has, has a big role in our planning of the coverage, and it’s been a healthy, collaborative process… it will be a measured and balanced approach with the proper tone for that moment.”
Still, he doesn’t want the protest to overshadow what should be a mammoth event.
“Our job there is to document the proceedings and honor the athletes,” Bell noted. “There’s 204 countries in the parade of nations, and they’re all going to be shown, we’re going to get every single country on, which I can assure you over the course of the time alotted, is not easy.”
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