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Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Cool runnings, but poor ratings

By JOE McQUAID
February 25. 2018 9:41PM




NBC television's ratings for the Winter Olympics have been way, way down this year. I blame the ice-skating commentator with the bizarre hairdo. But it could also be the Jamaican women’s bobsled team’s bobsled.

Past champion skater Scott Hamilton was bumped from doing prime time commentary in favor of a couple of youngsters. One of them is a guy who looks a lot like Richard Chamberlain did in a long-ago TV miniseries called “Shogun.”

At least Chamberlain could act. This kid definitely doesn’t steal the show.

The show could have been stolen if NBC had spent more time unraveling the curious case of the Jamaican women’s bobsled team’s bobsled.

The team’s coach, a German, quit before the team could compete. She took her bobsled with her. How she passed off that puppy as carry-on luggage is beyond me.

But the Red Stripe beer folks (the beer is most popular, mon, in Jamaica) said they would furnish a new bobsled. They did, but there is no truth to the rumor that the team was caught drinking the brand on the way down. That would have been BWI (bobsledding while intoxicated).

The team didn’t win, but they became the first Jamaican women to compete in a sport that is not easy to practice in Jamaica. The snow melts faster there than on a February day in New Hampshire.

Two American women, by the way, became the first to win gold for the U.S. in cross-country skiing, another sport that has many challenges in Jamaica. NBC did do a nice job with the cross-country story.

Perhaps I’m just too old for this Olympic watching. (The color commentator for the men’s downhill events was Bode Miller, who is so old he threw out a Red Sox first pitch once with yours truly and Gov. John Lynch.) I’m so old I remember when my father attempted to teach a young woman named Penny Pitou a few ski moves. And that was after she had won Olympic medals.

I was content over the weekend to watch the Honda Classic golf tournament. Tiger was playing, and I wanted to see if he did better than I at the treacherous water holes they call the Bear Trap.

My buddy, a relatively young man, hit an awesome drive on the 17th hole. It flew the green and rattled around in the temporary grandstands. OK, it was from a tee location slightly in front of where the pros hit. But still, could Tiger have done that?

And in completely unrelated TV trivia, “Jeopardy!’’ host Alex Trebek is going to moderate a political debate in Pennsylvania. Does this mean the participants have to shape their responses in the form of a question?

Stay tuned.

Write to Joe McQuaid at Publisher@unionleader.com or on Twitter at @deucecrew.


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