Vancouver Day 9: A small ratings dip and une grande gaffe
Is it really Day 9? Seems like only yesterday I was drifting off to sleep having disturbing dreams about Wayne Gretzky standing in the back of a pickup truck while holding something fiery in his hand. (I had a similar dream yesterday about Tiger Woods apologizing for everything but World War II, also.)
Friday wasn't a big one on the Olympic calendar and it reflected in the ratings. The most amazing thing about them is that Jon Montgomery's gold medal victory, which came at about 11:30 p.m. Eastern time, drew more than 4.6 million viewers.
CTV averaged 4.5 million in prime time Friday, according to BBM Canada overnight ratings, which was more than 1 million below Thursday's average and 600,000 below the Games' average. But an in-depth Star investigation shows that there is a trend here.
Let's see: 5.9 milliion average Thursday, 4.5 million Wednesday, 5.7 million Tuesday. So why were ratings so high Tuesday and Thursday? Hint: It starts with an H.
Now that presents a rather huge dilemma for the CTV-Rogers consortium Sunday night. Three Canadian women will be skating for medals at the speed skating Oval just about the time Canada and the U.S. face off. CTV isn't giving out any hints on how it's going to juggle this one, but you can be sure there have been some seriously long meetings at the media centre.
The most interesting thing about Friday's ratings is that 606,000 people watched the Czech Republic-Latvia hockey game. Who knows what Saturday's monumental Switzerland-Norway game will draw?
SACRE BLEU: Under the What Were They Thinking category, a couple of RDS figure skating announcers are the subject of a complaint from a Quebec gay rights group for some boys-will-be-stupid comments during the men's competition. Claude Mailhot and Alain Goldberg apparently took some pleasure in mocking flamboyant American Johnny Weir. Mailhot asked if Weir lost points because of his costume and body language. Goldberg, who must have forgotten what century it was, replied that Weir was setting a bad example for boys everywhere. The pair also suggested Weir take a gender test or compete in the women's competition. They apologized, for what that's worth, as did RDS. Where did they think they were? In a bar? The incredible thing is not that they still have their jobs but that they weren't alone. A couple of Australian TV yobbos engaged in similar witty repartee.
CAN YOU SAY PROROGUE?: CTV aired a clip of a Canadian medal winner taking a congratulatory phone call from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. So now we know the real reason he shut down Parliament. Can't run a country when you've got all those phone calls to make, I guess.
THE GOOD: Rob Faulds did a great job calling Jon Montgomery's gold medal race. He showed the difference between celebrating the moment and cheerleading. ... Ski analyst Brian Stemmle made his feelings known on the set-up of Saturday's women's giant slalom course: ``This course is impossible," he said after five skiers wiped out. Stemmle was also critical of the women's downhill, which featured some serious crashes. ... Figure skating analyst Jennifer Robinson didn't hold back on assessing the Russian ice dancers leading the competition after compulsories: ``They were sloppy, they were slow. I really think that they lost it here tonight, even though they're in first place." ... Skeleton analyst Duff Gibson on Melissa Hollingsworth's fifth-place finish: ``I'm shocked at this result." ... Farhan Lalji handled the interview with Hollingsworth well, asking her what went wrong without coming across as being accusatory. Hollingsworth's emotional response and apology to those she felt she let down was quite moving.
THE BAD: Heard Canada's Olympic men's hockey team referred to as ``the Dream Team" on the CTV News the other night. Please don't do that again. It conjures up images of American basketball millionaires pummeling Angolans. ... There's a long lineup for free zip-line rides in Vancouver. We get the point. We also get the point on those silly scenes involving poor James Cybulski amid hordes of mugging, screaming tourists in downtown Vancouver. ... The morning show is mostly a lot of fluff, but CTV should keep bubbly co-host Melissa Grillo away from sports. On Saturday, she informed viewers that the sport of biathlon is not pronounced ``biath-u-lon." We needed to know that.