Repetitive ring tone

Spilling out sports media notes while making sure I have enough coasters so that I don't leave five rings on the coffee table during the Olympics:

*Here is perhaps the best way to appreciate just how many hours of the Beijing Olympics NBC is televising: The 3,600 hours carried on its six networks and Web site are 1,000 more than the number of hours televised in the United States in all previous Summer Games combined.


NBC said 2,900 hours will be live, even with the 12-hour time difference between Beijing and the eastern U.S. That means some prime events have been scheduled for the benefit of Americans. (Another reason for the rest of the world to dislike us?) For example, to ensure Michael Phelps' first swimming final is true reality TV, the men's 400-meter individual medley is set to leave the blocks at 10 a.m. Sunday in China, 10 p.m. tomorrow here.

The six networks - NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Oxygen, USA and Telemundo - will cover around the clock.


Usually, there is a half-hour open at night so viewers can enjoy local newscasts from their fine NBC affiliates. Live, local, a late break from the Olympics!

* You could spend that half-hour cruising The site will carry 2,200 hours of live streaming video from Beijing.

Let's say you wanted to see some competition tonight instead of a Radio City Music Hall version of Chinese history. Click on over to nbcolympics and you can watch dressage, badminton, fencing, team handball, shooting and weightlifting. It's like we're back in the early days of ESPN. (Hey, I kid the Olympics, but I kid because I love.)

* Or you can always spend those 30 minutes watching On Demand highlights. Comcast digital customers can see a next-day highlight package via the On Demand menu under Sports at no extra charge.

* Not enough options? If you're a Comcast high-definition customer - quick update: still no HD in the Frager household - channels 221 and 222 are carrying NBC's Olympic soccer and basketball channels, respectively.

* Tonight's opening ceremony coverage (7:30, channels 11, 4) will be anchored by prime-time host Bob Costas and The Today Show's Matt Lauer (which answers that question about where in the world he is). I've always enjoyed Costas in any role, particularly as a host who can wear well over 17 straight nights.

And speaking of wearing, you should know Costas and other selected hosts and commentators will be outfitted in clothes specially produced by an Italian designer. I'm just wondering why Cris Collinsworth and Al Trautwig get to wear the designer duds but Lester Holt and Ted Robinson end up with something off the rack.

By the way, if you're curious about the order in which the nations march into National Stadium (or "the Bird's Nest"), it is determined by the Chinese characters that make up the countries' names.


* Given that Oxygen is a channel normally targeted for women, you might also be curious what sports NBC believes women want. Oxygen is televising gymnastics, tennis, synchronized swimming, equestrian and field hockey. I was kind of hoping Oxygen would have sent Sue Johanson to Beijing so she could answer sex questions in the Olympic Village.

* Maybe the advertisers have spent all of their Olympic money on TV. The New York Times and Washington Post produced 12- and 22-page Olympic preview sections, respectively, and had about a half-page of paid ads between them. (However, advertisers please note: I'll comb my hair back if you wish to buy space on my forehead in that terribly handsome photo at the top of this page.)

* ESPN debuts its live weekday SportsCenter rotation on Monday at 9 a.m., with Hannah Storm and Josh Elliott anchoring for three hours, followed by Chris McKendry and Robert Flores for another three hours.

* A few e-mailers have asked about this: Comcast plans to offer four "overflow" channels to handle alternative feeds of games from the Big Ten Network. The network's main channel will be 257, with alternative feeds on channels 801 to 804.

* And as if there weren't already enough happening in sports, Comcast SportsNet tonight at 6 unveils a new studio set for SportsNite. From the photo sent along by the network, it looks a lot like ESPN.