NBC’s Kentucky Derby broadcast is two minutes of race, 2 hours 58 minutes of hats. So who better to fill the time than Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski, who became America’s sweethearts during the Winter Olympics and have since pitched in on “Access Hollywood’s” Oscar red-carpet coverage. On Tuesday, the network announced that Weir and Lipinski will join the May 3 telecast from Churchill Downs.
The reason? Female viewers. Reports the AP:
Slightly more than half of NBC’s Derby viewers last year were women attracted to the party, the Nielsen company said. No other major TV sports event, with the exception of the Olympics, is so weighted toward female viewers, NBC said.
Weir and Lipinski were a hit in Sochi while covering figure skating for NBC and its related networks, as fans kept tabs on Weir’s constant wardrobe changes.
Both former figure skating champions have at least some familiarity with the ponies, the AP reports. Lipinski rode horses as a youngster and Weir competed in equestrian events. Weir also attended the 2010 Kentucky Derby while sporting “a giant, fur-covered sombrero,” even betting on the winning horse, according to AP. If he doesn’t break out that sombrero again, America loses.