Vancouver Day 16: The end is nigh
One more day to go. One more day of boffo ratings for the CTV-Rogers guys.
Friday's prime time averaged 7.7 million, led by the Canada-Slovakia hockey game (9.5) and women's curlng (6.8). It turns out, by the way, that Thursday's women's hockey final was more popular than originally advertised.
An error in the ratings was corrected Saturday, showing that the game averaged 7.5 million viewers. It did beat out aerials, though, as the correction dropped its average by about 2 million to 5.5.
RADIO DAZE; While most of the Games focus has been on television -- mine, too -- radio has played an interesting and unique role in the Olympic story. The CTV-Rogers consortium's radio network, which includes Toronto's FAN 590, has been supplying precedent-setting Olympic programming. In addition to regular updates and features, there's been plenty of play-by-play. Every time a Canadian is in a position to win a medal, the radio network has broken into programming, using the television feed. It's supplied some strange moments -- just imagine figure skating on the radio -- but it's been invaluable to those who can't get to a TV. ``We've been getting a lot of great feedback from listeners," says Nelson Millman, head of the consortium's radio operations and general manager of the FAN until Monday . ``Two years ago, I wasn't sure we could do this and a lot of people said we were crazy to try it. But I think it's worked very well." The key, Millman says, is the amount of work done by reporters and announcers. ``They've really embraced this," he says.
THE GOOD: CTV provided great coverage of the Brian McKeever controversy Saturday morning. Michael Landsberg produced the best question when he asked cross-country ski analyst Jack Sasseville what he would do if it was his decision. Sasseville, an excellent analyst, said that he would have kept the legally blind skier in the race. By making the decision the coaches put the four others in a very difficult position, he said. ... While the CTV Fam-Cam (my name, not theirs) has produced some interesting shots, most of the close-ups of athletes' parents have been pretty much time-wasters. But it struck gold Friday night by zeroing in on short track medalist Marianne St-Gelais as boyfriend Charles Hamelin skated in the 500 metres. Watching her was as exciting as the race itself. ... NBC's Kenny Albert after Canada escaped a late rally by Slovakia in Friday's hockey semifinal; ``A collective exhale from 34 million residents of Canada." ... CTV's Pierre McGuire on Slovakia's second goal" ``(Richard) Zednik just wanted that puck more than anybody for Canada." ... Analyst Darren Pang detailed how a soft goal on Canadian goaltender Roberto Luongo set the tone for Slovakia's comeback. ``But at the end of the day, it's his great save that solidifies the win." ... CTV's Nick Kypreos on Slovakia's defensive strategy: ``If the Slovaks back up any more on (goaltender Jaroslav) Halak, they're going to fall into the Pacific Ocean." ... Gord Miller as Friday's game ended: ``Canada wins, barely." ... Brian Williams' interview with figure skater Joannie Rochette was excellent, ending with Williams telling her, ``What you did was beyond courageous." ... Great moment: Catriona Le May Doan walking into the CTV studio Friday night after curler Cheryl Bernard told Williams that the former speed skater was her hero. Thankfully, Darren Dutchyshen did not appear with a bottle of champagne. ... Ski analyst Brian Stemmle on the men's slalom course Saturday: ``You almost needd a Google map to figure this one out." ... Another great Stemmle line during the foggy race: ``I'd describe his skiing style, but I can't see it." ... Great feature on the Ghanain skier known as the Snow Leopard on Saturday. It's a great story and Perry Solkowski's post-race interview capped it nicely.
THE BAD: Following the Canadian hockey victory, viewers were promised the gold medals on short track speed skating and bobsled. But first, CTV airs one of those etalk features on the guy who wrote the music to CTV's ubiquitous Olympic theme song. Among the fascinating things we learned was that he likes to go shopping and that he watches breathless host Jeanne Beker's show ``all the time." As long as we have our priorities straight. ... Don Cherry surfaced this week, giving his reassurances that Canada would win the gold medal in hockey. One the main reasons, in his opinion, was the goaltending of ``Lalongo." Must be Canada's secret weapon. ... McGuire on Canadian defenceman Shea Weber's strength: ``He's Adonis on skates." Sounds suspiciously like a man-crush, doesn't it? .... Vic Rauter has done a great job calling curling throughout the Olympics, but was caught trying to set up a Canadian victory in the 10th end of Friday's women's final. As Cheryl Bernard's final stone approached the house, Rauter began calling the victory before it disappeared... It's nice that Canadian athletes have those nice team toques, but couldn't they take them off when the national anthem is played? It's kind of a basic, isn't it? ... Brian Williams pitching Olympic merchandise? Say it isn't so.