NBCUniversal Harnesses Mass Appeal of Kentucky Derby

Philadelphia, PA.

Once again, a host of NBCUniversal properties will participate in NBC Sports’ ‘Big Event Strategy,’ focusing on the food, fashion, celebrity and entertainment spectacle that is the Kentucky Derby. (Photo: NBC Sports Group)

NBC Sports Group will present 14.5 hours of Kentucky Derby coverage, which began Wednesday, May 1 on NBC Sports Network with Kentucky Derby Classics, and will culminate with the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on NBC, Saturday, May 4, beginning at 11 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network and continuing at 4 p.m. ET on NBC.

NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage, which in 2012 was honored with an Eclipse Award in the Television-Live Programming category, includes 8.5 hours on Derby Day across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

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

Today Show: TODAY’s Al Roker will report live from Churchill Downs on Friday and will interview NBC Sports analyst and Kentucky Derby jockey Gary Stevens about his return to racing from retirement. Roker will also interview NBC Sports horse racing reporter Kenny Rice, who will give his thoughts on this year’s Derby.

Weekend Today: Coverage continues on Saturday with Weekend TODAY as correspondent Dylan Dreyer reports live from Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., with Kentucky Derby segments throughout the show. Dreyer will interview NBC’s on-horse reporter Donna Brothers. TODAY coverage from Churchill Downs continues on Sunday with an interview with the Derby-winning jockey and trainer.

Today with Hoda and Kathie Lee: For the fourth year in a row, TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb hosted a Kentucky Derby trip giveaway contest for the fan that created the most interesting Derby hat. Also, Kathie Lee and Hoda’s "drink of choice" during Tuesday’s show was the mint julep, and Len Berman hosted a "Who Knew" Kentucky Derby segment on Wednesday.

Weather Channel: Wake Up with Al is live from Churchill Downs on Friday morning with Roker and Stephanie Abrams, and guests including NBC’s Rice and Brothers. Abrams will also report live from the Derby on Friday for On the Radar and Morning Rush, as well as Weekend View on Saturday morning.

CNBC: CNBC’s sports-business reporter, Brian Schactman, will file reports live from Churchill Downs all day Friday. Schactman will also be a part of NBC Sports Network’s Kentucky Derby coverage.

E!: E! News will feature Kentucky Derby segments all week, covering parties, food and fashion of the Derby. E! News will also air an interview with Kentucky Derby jockey Rosie Napravnik, and E! Online will update photo galleries with pictures from the exclusive Barnstable Brown party, as well as from Oaks and Derby days.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: Jimmy Fallon will entertain viewers with two Derby-related skits on his Friday night show: 

  • Puppy Predictor – A recurring skit that the show does on a regular basis featuring puppies to predict the outcome of an event;

  • Fallon to do a Dateline-style interview with a horse about his chances of winning the Kentucky Derby.

Fallon also gave his Derby pick for a feature that will run during NBC’s Kentucky Derby broadcast.

Saturday Night LiveThis week’s host Zach Galifinakis and the cast of SNL will contribute content to NBC’s Kentucky Derby broadcast on Saturday.

Oxygen: Coco Rocha, supermodel coach on Oxygen’s The Face, will talk Kentucky Derby fashions on Friday’s NBC Sports Network coverage and Saturday’s NBC Kentucky Derby coverage.

Access Hollywood: Michelle Beadle will report live from Churchill Downs on Friday for AH Live, and will also be part of NBC Sports’ coverage, contributing features and celebrity interviews. In addition, throughout Derby Week, AH Live will cover celebrities in Louisville to attend the Derby and the exclusive Derby parties.

Bravo: Andy Cohen, host of Bravo, Watch What Happens Live, picked his Kentucky Derby horse for a feature that will air during NBC’s Kentucky Derby broadcast.

iVillage: iVillage, the essential digital brand for women which reaches more than 30 million unique visitors per month, will celebrate this year’s Kentucky Derby by featuring coverage all week of party planning, fashion, celebrity and style of the Derby.

DailyCandy: DailyCandy.com will feature a "Derby 101" editorial package that gives readers everything they need to know to prepare for Derby Day. Additionally, Scout, the DailyCandy mobile app, is running Derby-related challenges all week with prizes for the best Kentucky Derby fashions.

Universal Pictures: The Minions, from the soon to be released Universal Pictures movie Despicable Me 2, gave their Derby picks for a feature that will run during NBC’s Kentucky Derby broadcast.

Universal Parks and Resorts: Universal Parks in Orlando and Hollywood have been running NBC Sports Kentucky Derby promotional spots on their Astrovision screens for the past three weeks, reminding park goers of NBC’s Kentucky Derby coverage.

LXTV1stLook, which spotlights the latest in exclusive restaurants, shopping, fashion, nightlife and entertainment, featured a 30-minute show about the Kentucky Derby, hosted by Ali Fedotowsky.1stLook airs in NBC’s local markets.

NBC Sports’ ‘Big Event Strategy’ Helps to Increase Viewership

The shared vision of Churchill Downs and NBC Sports’ successful ‘Big Event Strategy’ to assemble the broadest possible audience led to the 2012 Kentucky Derby drawing 14.8 million viewers, the third most-watched Kentucky Derby in 23 years. Since implementing NBC Sports’ ‘Big Event Strategy,’ the last four Kentucky Derby races have all recorded at least 14.5 million viewers.

For more information about NBC Sports Group shows and properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.