Every year Globo television broadcasts short 'vignettes' of bits of the samba schools' songs; the samba enredos. These little clips appear between regular TV programs in Rio at various times of the day. This year these vignettes show the dancers, drummers and singers of the samba school. In previous years they seemed to focus as much on Globo’s TV stars (presumably the ones parading with the school) as with the people of the samba schools themselves.
Heres a link to the vignette of Imperatriz, who have my favourite samba enredo this year. If you want to see the other clips, they're all linked from that page.
Globo has a very close relationship with the organisation of the Special group parades. The website of the League of Samba Schools, LIESA, which organises the parades, is http://liesa.globo.com/. The samba school parades are peppered with Globo soap stars, usually on the floats, and you can be sure that the television coverage will linger on each and every one of them.
They get interviewed live before and after the parades, always saying exactly the same things (THRILLING!!!!, MARVELOUS!!!!!, EMOTIONAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
It’s generally very annoying for us gringos watching the TV coverage. We don't know who these people are. We want to see the passistas and the bateria and crowd warm-ups at the start of the parades, and the dramas of broken floats, and instead we get interviews with people we’ve never heard of, gushing platitudes in Portuguese – it isn’t even interesting visually.
But Globo pours a huge amount of money into carnival to secure the exclusive broadcasting rights; it has to be made worth their while. And for Brazilians this stuff has meaning. It’s deeply annoying to the real carnival fans, but it pulls in a lot of viewers with no interest in carnival but with an addiction to the gossip columns - Rio Carnival as a reality TV show.