Peculiar Olympic viewing numbers have emerged from the Bay Area.
It seems that the Valley's finest have voted with their comforters and refused to play along with NBC's notion of, "You'll watch what we want you to watch, when we want you to watch it."
Although the San Francisco area averaged a 20.5 rating for the nine nights that ended last Sunday, this was down on the average rating for the Athens Games, which clipped along at 21.5.
It is not my intention to dance on NBC's bank vault. Some of the coverage has been excellent. And I personally have enormous affection for the ability of announcers such as Dan Hicks and Al Trautwig to make you feel you are in the presence of the Second Coming.
But the fact is that San Francisco finished fourth on the Nielsen Olympics ratings of 56 markets in 2004. This time around, it's 17th. Whatever you might think, it's not some strange isolated West Coast community. It is tied with Los Angeles. Folks in Sacramento, Calif., and Portland, Ore., seem to be losing patience too.
Would it be excessively brazen, therefore, to suggest that for the remainder of the Games, NBC switches to a live feed for the West Coast? Against my better judgment, I am prepared to say "please".
Surely NBC (and its advertisers) might be able to imagine that it would garner increased ratings from this risky, revolutionary strategy.
Perhaps it might mean more money too. Um, I mean viewer satisfaction.
It has to be a good thing for NBC to keep the engineers of our Future World happy. Otherwise, who knows what these irritable, irascible, irredeemably mercurial beings might do, in a fit of pique, to NBCOlympics.com?