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NBCUniversal's Kentucky Derby Coverage Rivals Olympics In Terms of Cross-Platform Convergence

NBCUniversal has announced its coverage plans for the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, and it is extensive. Much like NBCU does with the Olympic games, a number of networks and platforms will be in place to cover the derby, including some channels not typically associated with sports.

All told, NBCU will present 14 1/2 hours of coverage leading up to the race Saturday afternoon.

Among the participating channels and shows:

On NBC, “Today,” Al Roker and Jenna Wolfe will be live from Churchill Downs Thursday, Friday and Saturday. “Today” will also run a number of segments focusing on the Derby. During the fourth hour, Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford will select a winner who makes the most interesting derby hat to send to the event.

“Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” created a Derby sketch that will run during NBC’s coverage, and will also have Derby-themed bits this week.

“Access Hollywood” will also cover the event.

CNBC is sending sports business reporter Darren Rovell to Churchill Downs, where he will report on Friday and this weekend.

Weather Channel will have “Wake Up with Al,” from Churchill Friday and Saturday, with Stephanie Abrams also hosting her show from there.

E! will have a number of Derby specials and segments this week, as will sister network Style.

Digital outlets, like Today.com, iVillage, DailyCandy will also provide extensive Derby coverage.

More information below.

NBCUNIVERSAL SURROUNDS THE KENTUCKY DERBY

NBCU Marketing Council Designates Derby a “Cross-Channel Priority”

TODAY Show Segments Live from Churchill Downs Starting Thursday

Features and Segments from NBCUniversal Properties Including CNBC, Access Hollywood, Weather Channel, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, E!, Style, iVillage, Daily Candy

NEW YORK – May 3, 2011 – The NBC Sports Group will present 14½ hours of Kentucky Derby coverage beginning tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET on VERSUS and culminating with the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on NBC, Saturday, May 7 beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

The shared vision of Churchill Downs and NBC Sports’ successful ‘Big Event Strategy’ to assemble the broadest possible audience led to the 2010 Kentucky Derby being the most-watched Kentucky Derby in 21 years, in addition to the year prior which was the most-watched Derby in 20 years. Last year’s Kentucky Derby averaged 16.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Kentucky Derby since 1989 when Sunday Silence won (18.5 million).

In the 10 years that Churchill Downs and NBC Sports have been together the event has experienced remarkable growth. The Kentucky Derby is now seen by 7.4 million more viewers than the last Kentucky Derby broadcast by ABC in 2000 (16.5 million vs. 9.1 million, up 51 percent).

CROSS-CHANNEL PRIORITY: Kentucky Derby coverage on NBC and VERSUS has been identified by NBCUniversal’s Marketing Council as a cross-channel priority. It is receiving the benefit of extensive promotion across NBCUniversal’s 20 channels and more than 40 websites. Also, once again this year, a host of NBCUniversal properties will participate in promoting the food, fashion, celebrity and entertaining spectacle that is the Kentucky Derby.

Below is a summary of the NBCU properties that are supporting the Kentucky Derby:

TODAY Show: The TODAY Show, the No. 1 morning news show (averaging 6 million viewers/week), is featuring Derby segments highlighting the food, fashion, celebrity and entertaining elements of the Derby everyday this week. Al Roker and Jenna Wolfe will be live from Churchill Downs Thursday, Friday and Saturday and their coverage will include interviews with NBC Sports horse racing analyst Gary Stevens and reporter Donna Brothers, who last year in a live interview with Roker was thrown from her horse and became a viral hit.

The Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee (4th hour): For the second straight year, Hoda and Kathie Lee are featuring a Derby trip giveaway contest for the fan who creates the most interesting Derby hat. The contest began Wednesday, April 27 and concludes this Wednesday. Viewers are asked to send in pictures of their originally-created hats, and one viewer will be selected to win a trip for two to the Derby. KLG and Hoda are promoting the contest through the show, on TODAYShow.com and through their Facebook page and Twitter accounts.

TodayShow.com: TodayShow.com is featuring a special Derby video player for viewers to replay all the Today Show Derby segments that are running throughout the week.

Weekend Today: The No. 1 weekend morning news show will air live segments from the Derby this weekend with Jenna Wolfe featuring interviews with NBC Sports talent on Saturday and scheduled to interview the winning connections on Sunday.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Jimmy Fallon and his creative team developed a Derby sketch that will premiere in Saturday’s Derby coverage on NBC. Fallon also created pre-Derby coverage that will air in his show this week.

Access Hollywood and AH Live: Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live will highlight the Derby in a segment featuring Derby attendee and Celebrity Apprentice’s Niki Taylor shopping for her hat for Derby weekend. In the past years, Access shopped with Paris Hilton and Tinsley Mortimer as they prepared for the Derby.

CNBC: CNBC’s sports-business reporter, Darren Rovell, will report live from Churchill Downs all day Friday.

WEATHER CHANNEL: Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams will broadcast live from the Derby Friday and Saturday morning with “Wake Up with Al.” Abrams will also host “Your Weather Today” and “Weekend View” from the Derby.

E!: E! News is featuring Derby segments this week, including hat shopping with Sports Illustrated model and Derby attendee, Marisa Miller, and an interview with Jordin Sparks, who will perform the National Anthem at the Kentucky Derby.

Eonline.com is the premiere destination for breaking entertainment news and celebrity inside information to over six million unique users per month and will feature five distinct Derby-themed photo galleries each day of Derby week.

Style: MyStyle.com premieres Derby-themed photo galleries each day of Derby week and will also feature a Derby Day photo gallery with up-to-the minute Derby pictures from Churchill Downs.

Local Media & Comcast sports nets: Feature clips from NBC Sports Group’s Kentucky Derby coverage are being distributed to all 235 affiliates as well as the 11 CSN’s this week. NBC is also producing a satellite media tour with Betsy Berns, horse racing expert.

IVillage: iVillage, the essential digital brand for women, which reaches over 30 million unique visitors per month, will celebrate this year’s Derby by hosting a “Derby Yourself” application on its thriving Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ivillage), where fans can enter to win a fabulous new wardrobe and accessories from Vineyard Vines’ brand-new Kentucky Derby collection. Users can visualize themselves at the historic Churchill Downs race by creating their own avatar and dressing them in the height of Derby fashion, with fancy clothes, outrageous hats and all the accessories perfect for watching the event that marks the official start of the racing season.

DailyCandy: DailyCandy.com will feature Derby editorial content on its homepage each day of Derby Week and feature Derby fashion in their new feature, “Round-Ups.” In addition, a Derby-themed “Party Time” section will be featured in all DailyCandy editions and links to Derby content in DailyCandy Local and Everywhere emails will be present all week.

Swirl by DailyCandy: DailyCandy’s sister sample sale site, Swirl, launched a Derby-inspired sale this week featuring spring dresses, hats and other Derby attire. DailyCandy and Swirl content will link with iVillage Derby content.

NBC SPORTS GROUP KENTUCKY DERBY COVERAGE (All Times ET):

KENTUCKY DERBY – 14½ Hours

Today, Derby Classics – Smarty Jones, 4-5 p.m., VERSUS

Today, Kentucky Derby Draw, 5-6 p.m., VERSUS

Tomorrow, May 5, Derby Classics – Barbaro, 4-5 p.m., VERSUS

Tomorrow, May 5, Live from Churchill Downs, 5-6 p.m., VERSUS

Fri. May 6, Derby Classics – Mine That Bird, 4-5 p.m., VERSUS

Fri. May 6, Kentucky Oaks, 5-6 p.m., VERSUS

Sat. May 7, Live from Churchill Downs, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., VERSUS

Sat. May 7, Kentucky Derby, 4-7 p.m., NBC

Sat. May 7, Kentucky Derby Wrap-up, 7-7:30 p.m. VERSUS

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