In this post I hope to provide a quick primer of television coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games in Canada. Coverage can at times be, overwhelming. I hope to provide as much detail as possible, without making this post overwhelming.
Let’s start with the two questions everyone needs answered? Where can I watch the Olympics and when?
CTV will broadcast approximately 18 hours of first-run Olympic coverage per day. It is broken down into three windows.
- Olympic Morning (hosts Dave Randorf and Catriona Le May Doan) will air from 4:00am ET until 12:00pm ET.
- Olympic Daytime (hosts James Duthie and Jennifer Hedger) will air from 12:00pm until 6:00pm ET.
- Olympic Primetime (host Brian Williams) will provide highlights of the top events of the day, including any Canadian medal performances. It will air from 7:00pm until 11:00pm LOCAL (8-midnight in Atlantic Canada). This broadcast will re-air following local news at midnight LOCAL (1:00am in Atlantic Canada).
- CTV’s coverage will mainly focus on full coverage of the big events (athletics, swimming, diving, rowing and gymnastics), as well as live highlights of other big events taking place. It will be somewhat similar to CBC’s coverage of past Summer Olympics.
TSN will broadcast approximately 15 hours of Olympic coverage per day. It is also broken down into three windows.
- Olympic Morning (host Kate Beirness) will air from 6:00am until 12:00pm ET.
- Olympic Daytime (host Michael Landsberg) will air from 12:00pm until 5:00pm ET.
- Olympic Primetime (host Darren Dutchyshen) will feature highlights from earlier in the day and usually air from 7:00pm-11:00pm ET. Some nights, due to conflicts with live CFL broadcasts, it will air on TSN2.
- TSN’s flagship highlights show SportsCentre will also air live from London (host Jay Onrait) between Olympic Daytime and Primetime most nights.
- TSN’s coverage will focus on some major events, as well as smaller ones. It will also include long-form coverage of many team sports like basketball, beach volleyball and soccer.
Sportsnet will also broadcast approximately 15 hours of coverage per day. Again, broken into three windows.
- Olympic Morning (host Don Taylor) will air from 6:00am until 12:00pm ET.
- Olympic Daytime (host Daren Millard) will air from 12:00pm until 5:00pm ET.
- Olympic Primetime (host Brad Fay) will usually air from 7:00pm until 11:00pm ET on Sportsnet East and Ontario, MT on Sportsnet West and PT on Sportsnet Pacific. Check your local listings to confirm these times in your area.
- Sportsnet Connected (host Ken Reid) will also air live from London from 5:00pm until 7:00pm ET every night of the Games.
- Sportsnet’s coverage is similar to TSN’s with a big focus on long-form coverage of team sports.
OLN will broadcast live long-form coverage of outdoor events like equestrian on many days. Their coverage varies day-to-day, so check back for updates (or see CTV’s Viewers’ Guide).
NBC will broadcast approximately 11 hours of first-run Olympic coverage per day. Their coverage is also broken down into three windows.
- Olympic Daytime (hosts Al Michaels and Dan Patrick) will usually air from 10:00am until 5:00pm Eastern and 9:00am until 4:00pm Pacific (a one hour tape delay for those who receive NBC from Seattle or Spokane). Daytime coverage will start early on the weekends for complete coverage of the road races in cycling and marathons in athletics.
- Olympic Primetime (host Bob Costas) will usually air from 8:00pm until midnight ET/PT. It will begin, and end, an hour earlier on Sundays. It will also re-air at 1:35am ET/PT.
- Olympic Late Night (host Mary Carillo) will usually air from 12:35an until 1:35am.
- Most of the major events will only air on NBC on tape delay in Primetime. These include swimming finals, athletics finals, major beach volleyball games, gymnastics and diving. NBC’s Daytime coverage will feature live coverage of other sports, usually including USA water polo and/or volleyball matches.
CNBC and MSNBC are both American cable channels that are available in Canada. While they are showing Olympic coverage in the US, their coverage is usually blacked out here in Canada.
RDS, RDS2 and V are showing the Olympics in French. OMNI and ATN are showing coverage in other languages as well.
For those at work, the broadcasts for CTV, TSN and Sportsnet are streamed live online. CTVOlympics.ca will also feature world feed streams for many other events.
The Opening Ceremony will air live on CTV, TSN, Sportsnet and OLN Friday July 27 beginning at 4:00pm ET. It will re-air at 7:30pm ET on CTV, TSN2 and Sportsnet. It will also air for the first time on NBC at 7:30pm ET.
Each day during the Olympics the Canadian Sports Media Blog (in conjunction with Channel Canada) will post a daily TV schedule for English, French and third-language broadcasts in Canada. Check back every evening for that. I will also write a series of 3+ opinion pieces on television coverage of The Games every weekend beginning on Sunday evening.