Saturday, August 9, 2008

I know what girls like

There's a famous interview clip of Tupac in the months before his death, where he talks about the career-making advice he once gave former friend and then-nemesis Biggie Smalls.

Tupac's suggestion was that Biggie should ditch the hardcore, street-tough act and make party music geared for women. His theory was that if you could grab the ears of the ladies, the men would eventually follow and then a platinum album was a mere formality.

It was solid advice - and it worked. Biggie released "Big Poppa" and became a hip-hop legend. The tip has worked for lesser lights like 50 Cent, too.

For some reason, I was reminded of that unique bit of hip-hop history with the start of the Beijing Games on Friday. The Olympics simply aren't geared toward the male audience - and the TV ratings are better because of it.

ESPN's Colin Cowherd started this riff on his morning radio show yesterday, pointing out that NBC is making a hard sell on sports like gymnastics, the overly sentimental stories of the athletes and spectacular, showy events like the opening ceremony. Things that might interest women.

If the Games were solely about hoops and boxing and track and field, they'd rate about as well as those sports usually do without the pomp and circumstance of the Olympic brand. Which is to say, not well.

Thus, NBC has made some overtures toward women in an effort to drive up the ratings. And it'll probably work. It usually does - the Olympics are special in that made-for-TV way.

Women don't care about hardcore, as Tupac would have told you. But they love a good party.

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