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Picks and Pans Main: Tube

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After four years, the human drama of competition has returned. There’s the excitement of watching people doing whatever it takes to triumph. There’s the heartbreak of a silly mistake turning winners into losers. Not to mention the annoyance of countless marketing ploys turning the event into some artificial made-for-TV affair.

And that’s just the presidential campaign. But the same can certainly be said for the Olympics, which NBC is covering, starting with a two-hour preview at 9 P.M. Friday, July 24. It will take 161 hours of network programming and 47 announcers to make it to the closing ceremonies on Aug. 9. Perhaps the Olympics and campaign coverage can merge to cover such events as issue jumping.