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How did Sandra Bezic get such a high-profile gig on NBC?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by fenway2, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. fenway2

    fenway2 Well-Known Member

    Anyone know? This isn't a bash thread about her commentating. I'm truly curious how a woman without name recognition in the U.S. landed such a plum job in the NBC lineup. Did she work her way up in the network, or did Scott suggest her for the job? It just occurred to me while watching nationals this weekend that I never heard the story behind her hiring. I did a web search but couldn't find much about her broadcasting history. She's a gifted choreographer but I'm just shocked that NBC went with an unknown instead of a well-known network face or even a past skating champion.
  2. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Reformed Manspreader

    Casting couch maybe?

    In all seriousness, I've wondered that too. She isn't a judge, and her competitive record wasn't anything to write home about. She has done some terrific choreography for competitive skaters and for SOI, but if anything that should be a clear conflict of interest.
  3. dorianhotel

    dorianhotel Banned Member

    She is far easier for me to understand than Elfi Schlegal in gymnastics. She was the director of Stars on Ice, which is a huge position in the World of skating, especialy in the U.S, for decades. Heck she might still be today, I wouldnt know as I no longer follow the now nearly dead tour. She was one of the most sought after and highly respected choreographers in the World, and mostly worked with some of the most famous North American skating stars. I dont see why anyone is surprised how she got a job with NBC, even if it might be a surprise how long she kept it with increasingly poor quality work in the 2000s onwards (she was pretty good before that).

    Compare that to Elfi Schlegal who is just an ex so so Canadian gymnast, who is an annoying and condescending blabbermouth, who has no ties or contributions to U.S gymnasts at all. How on earth she got her NBC job (which she was horrible at from day 1 to boot) is beyond me, and Bezic while I dont care for her is only 1000 times easier to understand than her.
  4. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Sandra used to be a high choreographer. She did choreography for Boitano during the 1988 Olympic season as well as several other champions, including Yamaguchi and Lipinski.

    She was offered the commentators position when skating was still relatively rare on NBC.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  5. my little pony

    my little pony war crawling into canada

    FOS - friend of scott

    not famous or tall enough to overshadow him
  6. FiveRinger

    FiveRinger Well-Known Member

  7. dorianhotel

    dorianhotel Banned Member

    Yet Sandra was working for NBC long before Scott ever did, and while Scott was firmly commited to only CBS. I know the comment was meant in jest but in all seriousness who knows, maybe Scott got his job after CBS ceased to hold the rights to any skating due to his friendship with Sandra who put in a good word for him. I know many cant stand her, and in the last 12 years I have been added to that list, but I cant believe anyone would deny with her role of directing Stars on Ice, for many years the Worlds biggest and highest earning skating tour, and being one of the most sought after choreographers in the World, Sandra was anything but a hugely important figure in the sport, and that is a large reason she was hired by NBC.
  8. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    One thing I found interesting in TSL's interview with Sandra is that she made it sound like she no longer choreographed for Olympic-eligible skaters due to the conflict-of-interest that would arise if she was commentating about them on NBC. However, in an interview years back, I remember reading how she no longer choreographed because she wasn't a big fan of the IJS and felt too stifled.

    Anyway, it's interesting to see which choreographers have easily transitioned from being highly-sought after 6.0 choreographers to highly-sought after IJS choreographers, and which ones haven't.

    Does anyone know of a Chris Dean program designed specifically for IJS?
    bardtoob and (deleted member) like this.
  9. my little pony

    my little pony war crawling into canada

    didnt he do eleanor rigby for crone / poirier?
  10. girlscouse62

    girlscouse62 Well-Known Member

    IIRC he choreographed Crone and Poirier FD for 2010 season when they won Canadian Nats.
  11. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    And thank God for that, because if her lack of understanding of IJS was reflected in her choreography, the skaters would be leaving points on the table left and right. I'm not sure what Sandra's best piece of choreography was, but she certainly crafted some crap for Chen Lu.
  12. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    IMO Boitano's Napoleon LP was her best choreographed program. It was challenging because Boitano was not known for his artistry or for his expressiveness. She used a piece of music that fit his introverted nature and created a masterpiece that showcased his great technical ability, and using the power in his skating to create artistry. She is a terrible commentator, but she is/was a really good choreographer for singles skaters. I can see why she would have difficulty choreographing under the IJS. She used in her choreography the skater's personality to create a work of art. The restrictions of having x number of technical points would have really restricted her.
  13. my little pony

    my little pony war crawling into canada

    of course, she also may have been responsible for the "gold medal rap"
  14. Karpenko

    Karpenko Not Impressed.


    I find Sandra's snobby and overly-artsy tone at times to make me ask myself this same question. ;) Her "No!" in SLC is exhibit #A.

    Though I do find her insightful and educated, and her voice sounds like she hasn't been sucking on helium and sugar cubes.
  15. Manaud

    Manaud New Member

    Her commentary during us nationals made my ears bleed. Neither she nor Scott give the impression of caring to learn a thing about the scoring system and it would be really nice if NBC axed them for the Olympics and had Johnny weir and Tracy Wilson call all the events.
  16. dorianhotel

    dorianhotel Banned Member

    Your Lu Chen example is bogus. Other than Cranston's Last Emperor Chen's best artistic programs were all with Bezic by far. Her 96 Worlds LP is one of the all time great masterpieces. How else could she have won the bronze at the 98 Olympics with such lame technical abilities for a top level skater by then (even if she skated cleanly and far above her expectations technically for the time), if it wasnt for her superb Bezic choreography which still stood far out over almost everyone.
  17. rosiekins

    rosiekins Member

    I can't stand her. I'm always yelling at her to shut up. Ugh!!!
  18. leesaleesa

    leesaleesa Active Member

    My guess is a clearing in the woods, a pentagram, pigs blood, and some weirdos in robes.
  19. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller #1 Dick Button Fan

    Sandra was THE choreographer of choice 'back in the day' (esp. after Boitano's win in 1988). She was tied to Stars on Ice which means the Scott Connection. C'est tout.

    I know I've joined many in bashing her arrogant voice but she is very knowledgeable and, too, has a pretty on-camera appearance. I guess I've made my peace with Sandra in my middle age. :)
  20. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

    I like Sandra but I had the same question. My guess is she has a communications major in there somewhere. I checked her profile on linked in - it doesn't mention college. But her time line shows that her analyst work for NBC dates to 1990. This appears to be prior to any of her production responsibilities for SOI or the television shows, but after her big first stint as choreographer. She looks and sounds like a broadcast news woman, so I'm sure that helped.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  21. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

    One more thought on Bezic.... She started with NBC in 1990. Peggy Fleming was nabbed by ABC, Hamill still skated, Yamaguchi hadn't won yet. I guess there was Janet Lynn but she bowed out of the whole scene. So Sandra filled a void at the time wrt no real US lady options.

    Who commentated at Boitano's Olympics? That was just before Sandra started.
  22. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller #1 Dick Button Fan

    Uncle Dick and Peggy. ABC still held the rights for the Olympics in 88.
  23. MrLucky

    MrLucky Active Member

    I couldn't agree more. Sandra's work for Lulu are among my favorite programs in history. I still watch them when I need a break from the aimless arm flapping that is considered art under the COP.

    I have never minded Sandra's commentary and unlike many posters/posers at skating boards - Sandra has left a major mark on the figure skating world.
    Meredith and (deleted member) like this.
  24. SpeedySucks

    SpeedySucks Active Member

    Sandra's first assignment on U.S. TV was 1990 Worlds for CBS. That coverage was produced by David Michaels (brother of Al Michaels). David Michaels left CBS for NBC shortly after 1990 Worlds, and he has been the producer or director of NBC's figure skating coverage since then. I think he's the reason why Sandra ended up on NBC and has stayed there all these years. NBC doesn't make a lot of changes to its commentators, though it did recently replace Elfi Schlegel (who was also hired by Michaels) with Nastia Liukin for gymnastics.
  25. Flying Camel

    Flying Camel Member

    I felt the job should have gone to an American lady. We have had so many champions. I can't believe none of them would have been interested.

    Sandra got on my nerves talking about Mirai having to stop to catch her breath. The girl is not 16 anymore. She is a 20 year old woman. What was wrong with her taking a couple of seconds to breathe.
  26. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    When did she start working for the CBC? Was it before she started working for NBC? Maybe NBC was just lazy and decided to hire someone with credentials instead of finding some inexperienced American woman with name recognition like Dorothy Hamill or Tai Babilonia and giving her a shot.
  27. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

    Well, to be fair, Sandra was pointing out the choreographic disruption of the program and how noticeable it was compared to the other ladies. It is a competition.
  28. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    This didn't include a lot of arm flapping. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58pdFFpT74E -- though you might want eye bleach.
  29. MrLucky

    MrLucky Active Member

  30. dr.frog

    dr.frog Well-Known Member

    Bezic was also quite a well-known skater in her own right. She was a 5-time Canadian pair champion with her brother Val, and competed at the 1972 Olympics. The US "LIFE" magazine even put her on the cover in 1972! As a professional skater, she worked with both Toller Cranston (she pops out of a giant clam in "Strawberry Ice") and John Curry (as the title character in "The Snow Queen"), and competed with her brother in at least one of Dick Button's World Pro events. Her work with Boitano was what really put her on the map as a choreographer, but before that she had worked with Underhill & Martini from the very beginning of their competitive careers.

    I don't know the story about how Bezic got started doing TV commentary, but 1990 Worlds for CBS is the first event I recall her doing, and then she moved the NBC the following year when they got the ISU contract. I think that in that timeframe, Bezic was *not* particularly a "friend of Scott" -- she was affiliated with the Boitano/Witt "Skating" tour, which was a rival to Stars On Ice.

    BTW, Tracy Wilson *does* owe her job to being a "friend of Scott". She was feeling pretty lost at the time she lost her partner Rob McCall to AIDS, and per Hamilton's autobiography, he talked CBS into hiring her so she would have something productive to do again.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.