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Peacock to debut three Olympics-focused docs in runup to Beijing

“Meddling” will look at how two teams won gold medals in the pairs figure skating competition at the '02 Salt Lake City GamesGETTY IMAGES

NBCUniversal’s Peacock beginning on Feb. 4 will "debut three original documentaries about Olympic athletes" as part of the runup to the Beijing Games, according to Addie Morfoot of VARIETY. The first new doc, “Meddling,” will begin streaming on Jan. 6. The four-part docuseries, directed by Todd Kapostasy, "explores the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic pairs figure skating scandal." Exec produced by Tara Lipinski, the series will examine what led to two teams -- Russia’s Elena Berezhnaya/Anton Sikharulidze and Canada's Jamie Sale/David Pelletier -- "winning the gold medal after French figure skating judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne said that she had been pressured to put the Russians in first." On Jan. 21, Frank Marshall and Lindsey Vonn’s “Picabo” will stream on Peacock. The one-off doc will "chronicle the life of 1998 Olympic alpine skiing gold medalist Picabo Street." Marshall and Vonn also served as exec producers on the project. “American Rock Stars,” debuting Jan. 26, is narrated by actor Nick Offerman and directed by Scott Boggins. The four-part series is a "behind the scenes look at the 2018 Olympic gold medal men’s curling team as they prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics" (VARIETY.com, 1/3).

WWE HELPING GROW PEACOCK: PUCK.news’ Matt Belloni noted NBCUniversal last March took over WWE Network and its 1.1. million subscribers, 1 million of whom "successfully converted to Peacock subscribers." More than 3 million Peacock subs have "watched WWE content since it moved over in March," and more than half of those 3 million subs "indicated that they signed up 'because of WWE'" (PUCK.news, 1/3).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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