Vancouver Day 2: Record ratings for opening ceremony
It may have run a little overtime and the ending was a bit of a letdown, but Friday's Vancouver Olympics opening ceremony was the most-watched event in Canadian TV history.
Records have to be taken with a bucket of salt these days, what with all of them soaring since a new measuring system was brought in last summer, the numbers from Friday are truly staggering. According to BBM Canada overnight ratings, an average of 13.3 million Canadians watched the three-hour broadcast. That's better that one in three people in the country.
Overall, more than 23 million Canadians watched some or all of the broadcast on CTV and 10 other broadcast consortium channels. That's 78 per cent of the population, if you're wondering.
By comparison, that 13.3 milliion average is more than double the audience of the Super Bowl and Grey Cup. The previous record was 10 million for the 2002 Olympic gold medal hockey game, but that was based on the old ratings system. With the new one, a Canadian gold medal victory this time could easily approach 20 million.
OPENING A HIT FOR NBC, TOO: Friday's opening ceremony scored a huge rating for NBC, up 47 per cent from Torino and the most-watched Olympic costume drama not held in the U.S. NBC reports it was watched by 67.5 million Americans and an average of 32.6 million.
CANADIAN-AMERICAN SWITCHEROO: So, guess who directed the world feed for Friday's opening ceremony? Greg Breakall, a Canadian. Who directed CTV's coverage? Louis Horvitz, an American. Not to sound like a toque-wearing homer who was drinking Molson and eating dill-pickle chips while watching, but NBC's coverage looked a tad crisper to me. From what I hear, CTV didn't use many world feed shots while NBC did. You do have to wonder why CTV cameras kept focusing on the Governor-General's stand, which early in the proceedings resembled the coat-check room at a Legion smoker.
AND THE OLYMPIAN KNUCKLEHEAD OF THE DAY IS ... Sportsnet anchor Don Taylor, who opened Saturday's show with a juvenile reference to the technical glitch that messed up the finale of the opening ceremony. ``I really appreciated it, as a man over 45, when the hydraulics didn't work on the cauldron. I really appreciated it. I felt it was dedicated to me." That might have received a few laughs in a bar. But on national TV?
TRAINING SECRETS: We always assumed that Canadian Olympians trained on the most nutritious food, watching every calorie, carbohydrate and protein. But, according to a McDonald's commerical, we now know they spend their lunchtimes scarfing down Big Macs and fries. Who knew?
UGH: Sportsnet anchor Evanka Osmak produced Saturday's first clanger, telling viewers that Canadian athletes were ``hoping to podium." Podium is not a verb. Neither is ``medal."