A pint of Olympic TV notes: How L.A.’s No. 26 rating won’t hurt NBC, and does Geoff Witcher with Danny Tosh = Mike Walden and Super Dave?


We’ve been avoiding all contact with Olympic-related news today, having been out at the Dodgers-D’backs game. Now that we’re back, do we dare go to NBCOlympics.com to see what the schedule is for tonight — no, because they give away results so fast, you can’t effectively click away as you would when your boss comes around and sees you’re somewhere you shouldn’t be.

Among the daily news we’ve come across:


== Ratings for those who want to understand such a thing — such as, good ones generally reinforce NBC’s programming decisions to delay everything until as late as possible:

The network said 38.7 million saw Tuesday’s prime-time coverage, which included the U.S. women’s gymnastics team winning gold. They couched it as the largest “first Tuesday for any non-U.S. Summer Olympics in the history of televised Summer Olympics,” going back to 1960. A 21.8 household rating is the best for a Tuesday night since the Salt Lake Games in 2002.

No, Ross Porter isn’t in the network’s research department.

The first five nights have drawn a 19.5 household rating, and a 33 share, with L.A. coming in above that average (21.0/39), but nationally, the nation’s No. 2 TV market is tied for 26th. The highest-rated time zone through the first Tuesday is the Mountain (23.0/40, home of swimmer Missy Franklin), with the Pacific (21.5/40) and Central (21.0/35) ahead of the East (20.2/34).

The top 10 markets so far: 1. Salt Lake City (27.7/48), 2. Kansas City (25.4/41), 3. Denver (25.2/47), 4. Milwaukee (25.1/42), 5. San Diego (25.0/44), 6. Columbus (24.5/41), 7. Indianapolis (24.3/41), 8. Norfolk, Va. (23.8/37), 9. Richmond, Va. (23.6/38) and 10. West Palm Beach, Fla. (23.0/38). Michael Phelps’ hometown of Baltimore did not make the top 20.

As a result of some late ad sales, NBC says it will probably break even on its $1.2 billion rights fee instead of taking an anticipated loss.

“We are way ahead of where we thought we’d be,” said NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, who had an earning call with Comcast investors this morning. He projected ratings would be down 20 percent from 2008 in Beijing; so far they’re up 9 percent.

== Steve Tignor, on his “Concrete Elbow” blog post for Tennis.com, could have written worse after having seen Pat O’Brien on the Olympic tennis coverage (linked here):

“At first, it seemed as if O’Brien, a veteran of many Olympics past, felt like an exile having to host the tennis coverage way out at the All England Club, and way up the dial on Bravo. He has rambled some, he has gotten colleagues’ names wrong–“let’s send it over to Rebecca Stubbs”– and he’s generally sounded like the channel’s crusty uncle. But he ripped Ryan Harrison more forthrightly than those in the tennis biz would have been likely to do.

The Bravo broadcasts haven’t been perfect. Like ESPN, the network will make you sit through a less-than-germane studio piece even while a match you want to see is reaching its crucial stages. And like every other channel, the commentators talk too much. But I’m not going to complain when tennis is one of the few, maybe the only, sport on NBC with a dedicated network that’s showing the event live. And when they do bring out Mary Jo Fernandez’s son to show off his pin collection while Tsonga is playing Raonic, I can always stream it online.”

== The fact that other networks are giving out results can even draw ire from viewers.

The Sports Business Daily reports that CBS’ Scott Pelley said Tuesday night on the network’s “Evening News” that: “We got an earful from some of you today because we reported yesterday’s Olympic results before the delayed broadcast that runs behind the Games by several hours. Well, here comes another Olympic story, so don’t say we didn’t warn you this time.”

== And while Stephen Colbert has been trying to master the dressage on his “Colbert Report,” there’s this from Daniel Tosh, on Tuesday’s latest episode of Comedy Central’s “Tosh.O” (linked here):

“Every four years we spent two weeks watching athletes competed for a chance to be on a box of disgusting cereal that nobody’s bought since the ’50s. Who wants to spend two weeks in London? The food sucks, it’s always raining, and no one looks like Christian Bale. It’s just like Boston, with a big clock.

“The Olympics haven’t been fun since ’92 when the Dream Team destroyed every country they played by 40 points and … ”


Tosh proceeded to do a little bit of every sport in a two-minute sequence, with the narrator sounding an awful lot like a self-proclaimed “fully arroused” Geoff Witcher reading off a script.

It brought back memories of Mike Walden and “Super” Dave Osborne … without F-bombs. Could this very well signal the end of the Witch’s local sportscasting career as we know of it?

Note: F-bomb included at the 2:37 mark amidst plenty of politically incorrect references.

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