NBC sets record with Olympic opening ceremony ratings
NEW YORK — A look at media coverage of the London Olympics:
An opening ceremony from the mother country with a Beatle, a queen and Mr. Bean proved irresistible for viewers in the United States, with a record-setting 40.7 million people watching NBC’s first night of summer Olympics coverage.
The Nielsen company said Saturday London’s opener was the most-watched opening ceremony of any summer or winter Olympics. It topped the previous mark of 39.8 million people who watched the 1996 Atlanta Olympics begin; 34.9 million watched the colorful first night from Beijing four years ago.
The London ceremony featured an unusual made-for-TV stunt featuring actor Daniel Craig portraying James Bond escorting the real-life Queen Elizabeth II to the ceremony and ended with Paul McCartney’s anthemic “Hey Jude.” But according to Twitter, the biggest spike in tweets came when actor Rowan Atkinson (“Mr. Bean”) appeared in a “Chariots of Fire” homage.
An estimated 5 million comments about the opening ceremony were made on social media, according to the research company Bluefin Labs. It was more interesting to women, apparently — 58 percent of the comments were from women and 42 percent from men, Bluefin said.
Md. man accused in shooting plot was ‘gentle giant’
WASHINGTON — To his friends, Neil E. Prescott was a “gentle giant” — a physically towering young man with a background in computers and electronics and a sarcastic, even biting, sense of humor that people close to him knew to shrug off as innocuous.
But police say they had no choice but to take it seriously when Prescott threatened to shoot up his workplace and referred to himself as “a joker,” comments that raised particular alarm in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at a Colorado theater during the latest Batman movie. The man accused in the Colorado shootings dyed his hair reddish-orange, and New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said the man called himself the Joker — a reference to Batman’s nemesis.
Prescott was taken into custody early Friday at his apartment in Maryland, where officers found several thousand rounds of ammunition and a cache of about two dozen weapons including semi-automatic rifles and pistols.
He was receiving an emergency psychiatric evaluation at a hospital and had not been charged as of Saturday afternoon.
Two friends told The Associated Press Saturday that they couldn’t imagine that Prescott, who was in the process of being fired or already had lost his job, intended to be taken seriously when he allegedly told a supervisor: “I’m a joker and I’m gonna load my guns and blow everybody up.”
2 missing US climbers found dead
LIMA, Peru — Searchers on Saturday found the bodies of two U.S. mountaineers who apparently plunged to their deaths off a ridge after ascending a glacier-capped 20,000-foot Peruvian peak, the rescue coordinator said.
“They did summit and they got into trouble on the way down,” said coordinator Ted Alexander. “What led to the fall, I cannot tell you now.”
Gil Weiss, 29, and Ben Horne, 32, fell an estimated 1,000 feet) off a ridge after reaching the west summit of Palcaraju in the Cordillera Blanca range in mid-July, he said.
He said a private plane had helped the three-person search team piece together what might have happened. He said he would have a better idea of how the climbers died after examining photos taken by rescuers on-site.
Both Weiss, of Queens, N.Y., and Horne, of Annandale, Virginia, were experienced climbers. Weiss was a repeat visitor to the Cordillera Blanca while this trip was Horne’s first.
By wire sources