NBC has already predicted a $200 million loss on the Vancouver Olympics.
The CTV-Rogers consortium won't make such predictions, but the general feeling in the Canadian broadcast community is that it will lucky to avoid millions in losses.
But there's no denying that these Games are a popular hit, which may allow both to raise the rates for unsold ads and cut those losses dramatically.
On Wednesday night, NBC did the seemingly impossible by outdrawing ratings king American Idol 30 million to 18 million. That's the first time in six years anything has topped the amateur hour show.
The draw was snowboarder Shaun White and skier Lindsey Vonn, which is incredible considering that Vonn's race ran about seven hours before NBC aired it. Maybe nobody in the U.S. has a radio or Internet access.
In the Great White North, CTV and friends averaged 4.5 million viewers in prime time. That's 45 million American considering we have one-tenth the population.
Daytime averaged 2.9 million, an incredible audience for a Wednesday afternoon.
As the games continue, with the big hockey games yet to come and many more Canadian medals to come according to predictions, there's little doubt the Games will be the ratings story of the century. Yeah, it's early in the century, but that's impressive.
Imagine what Thursday's grudge match against the mighty Swiss might do for ratings.
THE HORROR, THE HORROR: I'm not sure this was brilliant or complete overkill, but I found CTV biathlon analyst (much call for that?) Daniel Lefebvre's explanation of what skiers are going through fascinating. Here's how he put it: ``The quads are screaming, it tastes like stell in your mouth, you get the lactic acid and your tongue is swelling, it's hard to breathe, your muscles are spasming ... your boots feel there's lead in them ..." And on he went. Mamas, don't let your kids grow up to be skiers.
THE GOOD: Great call by Rod Smith on the women's 1000m speed skating Thursday. He captured all the excitement without sounding like he was pulling for the Canadians. ... The most amazing television innovation in these games by far is CTV's Super Bodies feature. ... The feature gives you a unique view of what an athlete's body goes through during a competition. And Dr. Greg Wells, who was chosen from among dozens of applicants, does a great job of explaining things in terms that those who didn't got to medical school can understand. ... Canadian skier Kelly Vanderbeek has been a great addition to the CTV cast. ... It was a bit of a time-waster, but the sight of NBA star Steve Nash trying to do a figure-skating lift of Jamie Sale was absolutely hilarious, especially when the two apparently cracked heads during Nash's first futile try. ... CTV got a great shot of Charles Hamelin kissing girlfriend Marianne St-Gelais after she won silver Wednesday.
THE BAD: Somebody called The Toaster was wasting video in a Whistler bar Thursday in an attempt by CTV to add some fun to the proceedings. It didn't. ... Reminder to all announcers: Podium is not a verb. You hope to get on the podium, you'd don't hope to podiium. And while we're at it, medal is not a verb, either. ... Note to Jamie Campbell: Please retire that ``this great country" line. It's embarrassing. A note to Catriona Le May Doan, who does a great job on speed skating: Stop calling every second skater ``gutsy." ... I'm more than a little confused by CTV's handling of Chinese and Korean names. Han Jialing's surname, for example, is Han. Yet Rod Smith tends to introduce the skaters backwards. Jialing Hin, for example,That's like referring to himself as Smith Rod. Short-track announcer Rod Black calls the skaters mostly by their surnames but has used their first names at times. Let's be consistent. Wonder what they would have done with that former Olympian Yang Yang? ... Here's a sign that things were either really dead Wednesday night or CTV is doing everything it can to promote hockey (as if that was necessary.) It aired more than five minutes of a Team Canada hockey practice Thursday. A hockey practice!. ... Brian Williams had a nice interview with short-track silver medalist Marianne St-Gelais near the end of Wednesday's proceedings. But why wasn't she interviewed right after winning her medal? .And why did CTV not show the victory ceremony? Surely, a Canadian silver merited breaking into halfpipe competition.