Vancouver Day 3: Lost in TV land
It's wonderful that the CTV-Rogers consortium is giving us so many chances to watch the Vancouver Olympics. But it could do a much better job of directing viewers to what's on and where.
On Sunday, for example, CTV was showing the women's speed skating 3,000 metres event, which pretty much is the big event of the day. But at the same time women's hockey (China-U.S.) was airing on Rogers Sportsnet while OLN was carrying the men's luge event.
But you would have needed a TV schedule or a fast-working remote thumb to know that. The assumption the CTV folks are making is that everybody has a computer and knows all about the broadcast strategy. Only once during the day did CTV air a notice about what was on other channels. If you weren't watching at that moment, you were on your own.
How about one of those crawls from time to time?
OVERZEALOUS INTERVIEW: There's nothing worse than those softball interviews that pollute the airwaves during too many sports events. But sometimes the interviewer goes a bit too far in trying to avoid lobbing marshmallows. A good example of that came Saturday night when Katherine Dolan made it sound as if moguls skier Jennifer Heil had somehow failed by winning silver. She basically asked her how tough it was to lose gold. Heil was obviously disappointed, but there had to be another way to phrase the questions -- especially when Heil lost only because American Hannah Kearney skied perfectly.
BEST INTERVIEW: It's not really clear what Michael Landsberg's role is, beyond doing his rapid-fire interview shtick, but he scored a coup with a guerrilla interview with U.S. vice-president Joe Biden. Risking the wrath of bodyguards and a rather stern publicist, Landsberg actually got the v-p to answer a few questions about sports. The man who's one heartbeat away from the Oval Office is picking the U.S. to win the women's hockey gold, if you're wondering.
TYPO OF THE DAY: During a post-event interview with moguls skier Chloe Dufour-Lapointe Saturday night, a CTV graphic identified her as ``Fufour-Lapointe." Who said close only counts in horseshoes?
MORE EXPLANATION, PLEASE: It's great when analysts explain what's going on and why, say, ski jumper A is better than ski jumper B. But I'd like to see an explanation of hand signals. With jumpers flashing a varied combination of fingers at the cameras, I have no idea if they're celebrating their jumps, sending messages to ski jumping gangs in Finland or telling us to take a flying leap.
PLEASE, NO MORE CLOSEUPS: As if watching biathlon wasn't enough of a challenge -- anyone who can figure out who's leading deserves a medal -- the cameras don't make it any easier. During Sunday's ski-and-shoot sprint, CTV gave us a slow-motion close-up a guy horking out a pretty significant wad of saliva after crossing the finish line. Another good reason to avoid HD.
SEPARATED AT BIRTH: Rod Smith and Steve Armitage. They don't look alike, but Smith calling speed skating sure sounds an awful lot like the old CBC guy. Have they ever been seen together in the same broadcast booth?