Olympic TV coverage mind-blowing in scope, but also yields iffy moments
In covering these prime-time events, the consortium broadcast has shone its brightest. That deep bench of hosts, analysts and commentators from TSN and Rogers Sportsnet has so far aced Olympic hockey coverage. Seasoned pro Rod Black has been a rock throughout the figure skating events, with Jamie Sale and David Pelletier bringing insight and passion along with remarkable candour. There is never any pompom waving from these former Olympic champions.
As the Games have progressed, CTV has become better at telling viewers exactly what airs where and when. Olympic “alerts” at the bottom of the screen have directed viewers to TSN and Sportsnet feeds or even to the Internet.
The cross promotion gives viewers the widest possible window on these Games — provided, of course, that they have cable and satellite packages which extend to all these channels.
Still, at times, it seems like there are too many people in the Canadian broadcast booth. The consortium extends deep into CTV’s stable of specialty channels, including MuchMusic and MTV Canada. Everybody from VJs to eTalk red carpet reporters have been thrown into the Olympic mix.
This can lead to the same old celebrity fixation that gums up supper-hour viewing every night. It has no place at the Olympics, not when genuine heroes like Alexandre Bilodeau are set to emerge out of nowhere.
CTV did a brilliant job covering not only the race of Bilodeau’s life but the touching family connection that made him Canada’s Golden Boy.
Still, you’re not going to record winning moments in the hours before the Games begin.
Some playfulness is necessary and welcome, as when Canada AM co-host Seamus O’Regan tried on those wild and crazy Czech Republic duds Friday morning. With the West Coast time difference, he’s up wandering the Olympic village pre-dawn.
More questionable coverage has had a jarring effect. Scenes of bikini-clad babes scarfing shooters off the flat belly of some dude prior to the opening ceremonies seemed wildly out of place hours after the tragic death of Georgian Olympic team member Nodar Kumaritashvili.
CTV seems too intent to party on and pander to younger viewers, at times, leading to the Degrassification of much of the daytime coverage.