By ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun
Already, it's become one of the biggest TV stories of the Sydney Games.
The only surprise, however, might be the swiftness with which it has spread.
Not that CBC didn't expect it, but within days of the start of these Olympics, the Canadian network's coverage became a hit with Americans living in border cities such as Buffalo, Detroit and Seattle.
Americans who didn't want to wait as much as 21 hours to watch taped coverage of some of their favourite Olympic events on NBC.
"We knew from Atlanta (1996) and Nagano (1998) that people (from the U.S.) would be watching our coverage," said Joel Darling, CBC's executive producer in Sydney. "They like to have that other option."
The story has spread like wildfire. CBC has taken media calls from as far away as New York and Savannah, Ga., inquiring about the public broadcaster's round-the-clock live coverage.
NBC, meanwhile, has been slagged almost from the get-go for choosing not to air a single second of any event live. Competing network shows, such as ABC's Good Morning America, have poked fun at the NBC formula with great glee, even crossing the border into Windsor earlier this week to film Canadians watching the Games in the middle of the night.
That led to this gem of a line about NBC's coverage style: "It's like watching the Super Bowl on a Monday."
Darling said it's only further validation that CBC's way is the right way, even if the ratings in the wee hours are hardly earth shattering.
"Like with any sports fans, there is a big appetite to watch it live," he said from Sydney. "We feel our philosophy is the right philosophy."
THE OVERNIGHT SHIFT: Just when this corner was about to declare the U.S. Dream Team's series of thumpings one of the non-stories of the Olympics, the Lithuanians come through and make the rich NBA boys sweat. Hold that thought ... When I see the Williams sisters playing tennis, I think Wimbledon or U.S. Open. I don't think Olympics. Something still seems odd about that picture ... Canadian medals won in the wee hours now outnumber the ones most of the country saw 2-1 (take a bow, Nicolas Gill). And you wonder why some of us stay up ... Whassup with Italian swimmer Massimiliano Rosolino and his Aussie accent?
DOWN UNDUH TALK: Good news for CBC comes tonight and tomorrow, when it has rowing finals in prime time, with hopes for Canadian medals on both nights. Something it looks like can't be said about the 100 metres on the track ... CBC is using host broadcast feed for its coverage and for the most part, it's high-quality stuff. But when a Canadian boat lagged in last place during rowing last night, the red and white crew often wasn't seen on viewers' screens. Not exactly the best situation ... Geoff Gowan is back on the Olympic track beat for CBC. That is a very good thing.