The young athlete has been the topic of conversation around American dinner tables, and has become the front running inspiration for many black young women.
Bob Costas also took up the charge to encourage African American girls to also take up the sport in an ad. But directly after, viewers got to watch some monkeys showing off their ring skills.
“Gabby Douglas’ gold medal performance last night was an historic and inspiring achievement,” said NBC Universal spokeswoman Liz Fischer. “The spot promoting ‘Animal Practice,’ which has run three times previously, is one in a series with an Olympic theme which have been scheduled for maximum exposure. Certainly no offense was intended.”
Unfortunately for the network, it’s the second time during the Olympics that a promotional ad has proven troublesome. NBC ran a “Today” show promo showing swimmer Missy Franklin holding her first gold medal a few minutes before airing the race where she won it.
RATINGS: Ratings continue very strong for NBC. Thursday night’s prime-time telecast, featuring Douglas’ win and a gold medal swim by Michael Phelps, was seen by 36.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That’s 7 million more than the corresponding night four years ago in Beijing. NBC also said that five Olympic events have been streamed online by at least 1 million people. The top event, streamed 1.46 million times, was the U.S. women’s gymnastics team winning the gold medal Tuesday, followed by Phelps’ gold medal swim over Ryan Lochte.