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TCA 2024 in Pasadena with NBCUniversal, 2024 Paris Olympics with Molly Solomon, Rowdy Gaines and a Surprise Guest and Announcement!

By Judy Shields

Pasadena, California (The Hollywood Times) 02/16/2024

It was a beautiful morning this past Wednesday as it was Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day in one day. The press start out with a delicious breakfast to get ready for the day of panels with NBC, Peacock and SYFY channels to talk about their shows with executive team and cast.

The start of the day of panels was from Allison Rawlings, welcoming us and thanking us for being here.  She went on to say we were in store for a great day of panels and that there would be a reception with stars and showrunners from other shows not featured in the panels Night Court and Quantum Leap and Lopez vs. Lopez and Chucky. I love when she said “I mean, who does not want to spend Valentine’s Day with the real Tiffany Valentine,” that was awesome to hear!

Allison then turned it over to Chris McCloskey, who thanked us all for being here for their panel to discuss NBCUniversal’s coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics. He introduced the executive producer and president of production and programming for NBC Olympics and Paralympics, Molly Solomon. He went on to say that Molly’s work has been recognized across the industry. She’s won 13 Emmy Awards and was the first woman to run production for a national sports network when she was named executive producer of Golf Channel in 2012. She’s been honored as Woman of the Year by “WISE.”  She’s also been named one of the most powerful women in sports by Adweek. Quite impressive indeed!

Molly greeted us all and thanked us for being there.  She said “I remember where I was seven years ago, when I heard that Paris was going to host the Olympics and Paralympics, and I was thrilled then but now that we’re only 163 days out.”

Molly said she was really excited about the Olympics and it is her 13th games and that the historic landmarks of one of the world’s most beautiful cities is going to be the backdrop for the 17 days of the upcoming incredible competition.  The 2024 Games will kick off with one of the most memorable opening ceremonies in history. The stage of the ceremony is actually going to be the Seine River.  They’re going to load the athletes of the world onto nearly 100 boats and they’re going to float down the river at sunset in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators.  And it’s all going to culminate at the base of the Eiffel Tower for the lighting of the cauldron.  Sounds like an opening ceremony not to be missed.

Molly went on to say “NBC, the network is going to be live all day, no holding back.  All of the most popular sports finals in swimming, gymnastics, track and field will be live all afternoon on NBC. Peacock will be the greatest single Olympics destination in U.S. media history.  We’re going to be incorporating all the lessons that we’ve learned from the last two Olympics and really every moment, every medal, every network and cable simulcast will be shown on Peacock.  We’ve also got some original Peacock programming and fan-favorite technology that we’re going to preview in the coming months, so much more to come on Peacock as a destination.”

Molly introduced Rowdy Gaines, swimming analyst and NBC’s Olympic correspondent.  This will be his 9th Olympics for NBC.

Molly asked Rowdy “When you look back, you see that race, do you have a favorite that you called over all these years? Rowdy said that there have been so many and that the sport in the US has been number one in the world of swimming for 68 years.  Rowdy had the privilege to call the two greatest swimmers in history, Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky.  He said there have been so many races but nothing matches the 300 free relay in Beijing.  Rowdy said that there is an hour and a half movie on Peacock on a race that lasts three minutes called The Greatest Race.

He went on to talk about Katie Ledecky and the unbelievable journey she’s had.  She didn’t lose a race for 13 years and that she just lost last week for the first time in 13 years.  She hasn’t been beaten in the 1500 in 13 years. He also talked about other great swimmers like Regan Smith, the Walsh sisters, Gretchen and Alex, Kate Douglass and Lilly King. Caeleb Dressel, what we saw in Tokyo, Ryan Murphy and Thomas Heilman, who is 16 years old, and broke Michael Phelps’ record last summer and got fourth at 16 at the World Championship.

Next up was Molly saying that they decided to bring a special guest who needs no introduction, but we would be reminded of his Olympic work.

A clip was shown of Kevin Hard and Snoop Dog, so which one would it be?

Out comes Snoop Dogg wearing a red, white and blue Olympic jogging suit and says “What up, though? All right. Molly.”

NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS “NBCUniversal Press Tour NBC Sports’ “2024 Paris Olympics” Panel” — Pictured: (l-r) Molly Solomon, Executive Producer & President, Olympics Production; Snoop Dogg, Rowdy Gaines, Swimming Analyst in Pasadena, Calif. on February 14, 2024 — (Photo by: Todd Williamson/NBC Sports via Getty Images)

Molly told Snoop that he had to show us all his entire get-up and that he was getting ready for Paris.  She said “Fantastic. The newest member of our NBC Olympic announce team.”

Snoop replied with “Hello, good morning.” Molly said that she and Snoop met about a year ago to start talking about it.  She asked him to tell everybody why he thinks the Olympics is so special in America?

Snoop said that he think it’s special because it’s a time where the whole world can come together and cheer for their countries, cheer for certain athletes and come together as one as America. I really like when he said “A lot of times in the world, it’s always division and separation, but this is a chance for the world to be one page, for everybody to be together, to cheer for each other, to root for each other. So it’s actually a peace offering that I feel like. I’m honored to be here because I always represent peace, I love sports, I love the Olympics. And for me to be a part of it is only going to make it more peaceful and more passionate.”

Molly said that she wanted everyone to know that Snoop was going to be in Paris for the coverage.

When Molly mentioned that they were trying to figure out his title like primetime correspondent or primetime reporter, Snoop just responded with “Yeah. Just OG. Just call me OG.”

Snoop said he would actually be in the field at event hosting, getting with the athletes and moving through the city.  Just doing the things Snoop Dogg does with the help of Mike Triico, who Snoop said was going to teach him how to swim, sort of speak!  He went on to say that he was planning on shaking it up in many different ways, bringing his flavor and just having fun.  A great few lines from the OG: “Because it’s the Olympics, y’all, this is the biggest sporting event every four years. We only get it once every four years, so we’re going to make the most of it.”

Molly asked Rowdy if he had any advice for Snoop and Rowdy said “it’s funny because we were talking backstage. And I told him this journey that these athletes are taking, it’s a four-year journey out of their lives. And, you know, we don’t have a Super Bowl or World Series for the most of the sports. It’s the Olympics, that’s the pinnacle of our success. It’s the same thing with you. When you put a record together, man, you’re all in. And sometimes it can take years. so I think is there — is there advice for these kids because I think a lot of them obviously look up to you and they relate to you and the dedication to the craft that you have.”  Well said Rowdy!

Snoop Dogg’s reply was to stay working hard and it takes a lot to even qualify and to be an Olympic athlete take a lot and he looks forward to being around them and even offered the athletes a hand, foot or even arm that he would be available.

The Press asked Molly about Primetime and the five-hour time difference.

Molly answered: “So the “TODAY” show will be in Paris from 7:00 to 9:00, and then we will come out and go from 9:00 to 6:00 weekdays, live on NBC. And that allows us to be truly live because, like you said, the time difference, it’s six hours, so everything is happening all day long. So from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon Eastern Time is almost like primetime live in the afternoon. You’ll have swimming, gymnastics, and track and field finals on NBC.”

Another great question for all three of the panelist was what was their earliest memory of watching the Olympics, in which Snoop had this response:  “You’re going to tell how old I am if I say it. I’m going to let them go first. I’m going to see what year you all first started watching. You all go first.” (Laughter)

Rowdy asked Snoop if he remembered watching L.A. in ’84 and Snoop said it was ’84 and that he was 13 years old. Which Rowdy said “Just a kid.” Snoop replied: “See? So I can tell you when I first started watching.” (Laughter)

Molly asked Snoop if he was watching Rowdy win his gold medals and Snoop answered “He jumped in the water. He was backstroking, and flipping, and dipping, and doing all kinds of stuff, and he won a gold medal.” More laughs

Rowdy said for him it was 1976 in Montreal and that he was 17 and didn’t start swimming until he was 17 and watching those Olympics kind of influenced and motived him to really become a swimmer and he went all in after that.

Molly’s first memory was in the 1976 Montreal games as well.  “Nadia Comăneci, and what I think is so magnificent about the Olympic games is that it has always, dating back into the ‘70s, put women athletes at the floor and in primetime. All of the amazing things that we’re seeing happening in women’s sports right now, really, the genesis was the Olympic games and the fact that women athletes have been part of the spotlight for so long.”

Snoop said he remembers Edwin Moses, him running, winning and that they were celebrating as if he was their uncle or something.  They were happy and that is what the Olympics do.  He remembers how his whole family was watching and rooting for him as if he was a family member and that was his first impression of the Olympics.

The last question asked was for Snoop.  The press member wanted to now about his coverage, would he be doing research about the sports and athletes or come in cold?

Snoop replies with “I don’t never come in cold. I always come in hot.! (Laughter)  So, with that being said, don’t worry about the research. I know everything about everybody. We’re going to have fun, you all.”  More laughter.

Molly Solomon said: “I think we should end on that.” (Laughter) and we were all thanked by Molly.

It was a great surprise to see Snoop Dogg come out on stage and what fun it was to be part of that panel and the laughs.  Can’t wait to see the Summer Olympics on NBC and Peacock.

Here is a photo I took of a fan taking a photo with Snoop Dogg aka OG, so you can see his awesome red, white and blue Olympic jogging suit:

Snoop Dog, Feb 14, 2024 TCA Winter Press Tour For NBCUniversal, “2024 Paris Olympics” Langham Hotel, Pasadena (Photo THT)