While there was still plenty of Super Bowl stories to pick through--including a rehash of David Letterman's Leno/Oprah airlift--this week's radio chit-chat with CHML's Scott Thompson eventually gets around to the Olympic Winter Games. As you may have heard, CTV is carrying the big show this year, starting Friday live from the Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver at 8:45 p.m. ET. Brian Williams--participating in his 13th Olympic Games broadcast--hosts as always with Lloyd Robertson and Catriona Le May Doan also in the booth for English Canada. Pierre Houde and Richard Garneau--incredibly covering his 22nd Olympic Games--will be on the French language broadcast team.
The Games are starting to gain traction in the U.S., where David Letterman aimed a few snowballs Tuesday night. With sunny Vancouver enjoying its hottest winter in years, Letterman suggested moving the Games to snowy Washington, D.C. Balmy Vancouver does look poised to host the world's first Winter and Summer Games.
Snow or no, this will be the first time ever the Canadian broadcaster has produced their own feed of the opening ceremonies (Canada would piggy back on the U.S. visuals in the past), so there will truly be a different window on the big show Friday.
Williams, working around the clock to prepare for the Olympics, kindly took my call Tuesday night for a story I'll have up on the CP wire tomorrow afternoon. He takes a lot of kidding for his, "It's 8 o'clock in Nagano, 3 a.m. in Turin, 4:30 in Newfoundland..." intros but at 63, Williams is still the gold medal man at Olympic time, the coolest head in the booth.
He's also a true gentleman, generous with praise for colleagues in a industry not always famous for peer support. Way back when I was at TV Guide, I was asked to weigh in on some long forgotten radio appearance. When I got back to my desk, the phone rang and it was Williams--who I had never met--calling to tell me how much he enjoyed the report. It was a kindness I never forgot. I've also lost count how many times I've told that story to colleagues who told me they, too, at one time got a shout out from the man.
I asked Williams the big question--did he know who would be lighting the Olympic flame Friday night? Williams said he did not but had heard the same rumours every one else has heard--Mars bar ski darling Nancy Greene, Wayne Gretzky, Terry Fox's mom, even the wild story out now that it could be a hologram of Fox. Sounds more like Fox News or something even CNN would pull on election night.
I have my guess and share it with Scott at the end of the podcast. You can listen in here.