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NBC Rates Missy and Misty Highly in Prime Time

Call it the Tale of the Dueling Patriotic Features.

On Monday afternoon, CTV ran a feature on teenage swimming sensation Missy Franklin that emphasized the fact that her parents are Canadians and that she loves Canada and vacationing in Nova Scotia. It was one of those “I didn’t know that” moments. Sort of like finding out American swimmer Ryan Lochte is originally from a Rochester suburb.

On Monday night, NBC ran a feature on Franklin before she won a gold medal in the backstroke that emphasized her life in Colorado and the criticism her parents received for having her train in a state less known for swimming than California or Florida.

Franklin explained if she was moved away from her friends, coach and high school she probably wouldn’t have been successful because she wouldn’t have been happy. How sweet.

There wasn’t a mention of Canada, which probably seemed like an oversight to anyone who saw the CTV feature.

In any event, Franklin’s performance and upbeat personality have made her the early American star of the Games as noted by Olympic host Bob Costas.

Before the Games began, she also got attention for putting together a music video of Olympians singing the current Carly Rae Jepsen hit “Call Me Maybe.” It is a popular thing for athletes to do. A video of the song was previously done by the U.S. softball team and the Harvard baseball team.

By the way, Jepsen is a Canadian.

NBC is riding women’s beach volleyball in prime time, with Monday’s program featuring a John McEnroe interview with Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings that included a fashion discussion. McEnroe asked them if they thought their bikinis had anything to do with the sports’ popularity. Duh. You think? After the interview, Costas suggested the most well-known or popular volleyball player before the sport became really popular was the late NBA star Wilt Chamberlain. That prompted Johnny Mac to suggest that Wilt (whose self-proclaimed record-setting sexual prowess became a national joke) would have approved of the bikinis.

BEIJING, CHINA - MAY 10: Misty May-Treanor of ...

Misty May-Treanor: Do Bikinis Matter? (Getty Images)

In response to an item here Monday that wondered how Channel 2’s advertising sales were doing during the Olympics because of all the “Better Days” promos running, Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner sent along an email noting that ad sales are up over 50 percent from Beijing in 2008. In other words, better days indeed for Channel 2. “It is like the potential messaging power of 6 Super Bowls,” wrote Toellner of advertising during the Olympics.

The ratings continue to be strong on Channel 2. Monday’s four-hour telecast had an 18.9 rating, down from a 20.1 in Beijing when the competition for the night was much more exciting. NBC’s overnight rating for the Top 56 markets was 20.1, down 5 percent from Beijing.   

AMC has killed “The Killing” after two seasons, the first of which impressed Emmy voters and a second that many viewed as unnecessary if the writers had just solved the murder at the end of the first season as expected.

My colleagues in the Television Critics Association gave out the following awards at the semi-annual meeting in Southern California over the weekend : Program of the Year: HBO’s “Game of Thrones”; Outstanding New Program: Showtime’s “Homeland”; Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials: PBS’ “Downton Abbey”; Outstanding Achievement in Comedy: FX’s ”Louie”; Outstanding Achievement in Drama: AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” Outstanding Achievement in News and Information: “60 Minutes;” Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming: “So You Think You Can Dance;” Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming: ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth.” Career Achievement Award: David Letterman.

You may note that not one current network scripted drama or comedy was honored, which could be a foreshadowing of what happens at the Emmys in September. It also was notable that AMC’s violent “Breaking Bad” dethroned AMC’s “Mad Men” as best drama. The one network series honored was NBC’s “Cheers,” which won the Heritage Award that annually honors a person or program that had an impact on TV history.

Note to Buffalo News critic Jeff Simon, who today wrote that “The Newsroom” creator Aaron Sorkin “proved to be so liberal he could invent a martydom for a fictional assistant to (former Republican presidential candidate) Rick Santorum.” A little research would have discovered the fictional gay, black aide appeared to be modeled after former Santorum aide Robert Traynham, who engaged in a spirited discussion with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in January.  The fictional aide in Sorkin’s episode did an excellent job defending Santorum and himself and making fictional anchor Will McEnvoy (Jeff Daniels) feel like such a bully that he went back into therapy. 

pergament@msn.com

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