Oh, say, can you see? When it comes to CBS' coverage of the Winter Olympics, the answer is a resounding yes.
It wasn't long ago that watching certain winter sports was a peekaboo affair. There goes the bobsled around the curve, and, wait a second, there it is again. Here's Franz Schussmeister in the downhill, and, let's cut to another camera, he should be bouncing over that hill any moment.
No more. Now, it's every move you make, CBS will be watching you. That might not be good news if you're Franck Piccard falling on the top of the super-giant slalom course or the Puerto Rican bobsledders turning over, but it's terrific viewing.
They shoot, they score: If CBS were trying to present a case for the return of hockey to network television, it couldn't have put together a better argument than its coverage of the sport in the Olympics. In addition to the excellence of announcers Mike Emrick and John Davidson, the production has been superb. Yesterday, for example, the cameras caught a super-slow-motion replay of a shot by Canada's Eric Lindros that ricocheted off the goal post and then the crossbar while staying out of the net. And let's hope the people who produce NHL telecasts are taking notes on CBS' technique of placing two boxes on-screen to keep up with live play while showing a replay.
These are a few of my favorite things: That was a great piece yesterday morning on the old town of Tignes, which disappeared under a lake after a dam was built in the Alps. . . . A primer on figure skating judges might have gone a little soft on them, but there was at least one memorable line: "Skating is the only sport in which you get the marks you deserve the year after," coach Carlo Fassi said.
Looking ahead: Because of the Presidents Day holiday, CBS is broadcasting an afternoon program (1-6) today. . . . This morning (7-9) features plenty of interviews: silver-medal figure skater Paul Wylie, silver-medal skier Hilary Lindh, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, and Christopher Dean, former ice dancing great (with Jayne Torvill) and now choreographer for the Duchesnays of France. . . . Paula Zahn reports this morning on a U.S. program to develop black skiers. . . . Mark McEwen is being dispatched to Pralognan, venue for curling. . . .
The afternoon show's highlight should be live coverage of the U.S.-Sweden hockey game. . . . Another scheduled live event is women's super-giant slalom. . . . CBS is saving the ice dancing finals for tonight's show (8-11).
Ratings game: With the men's figure skating finals as a draw, CBS had a 21.0 rating and 34 share in overnight ratings (measuring the top 25 markets) during Saturday prime time. On a comparable Saturday night during the 1988 Winter Games, ABC had 24.5/39. But CBS far outdistanced its network rivals Saturday; ABC had 9.3/15 and NBC 9.1/15. A rating measures the percentage of all television households watching a program. A share measures the percentage among homes where television is in use.