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The Olympic alternatives

While online sites are touting which Olympic sport you should follow based on your Zodiac sign or the 11 inspiring reasons you should watch them all, a recent Gallup poll claims that fewer Americans are interested than ever before.  In fact, 61 percent don’t plan on watching any of the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

It’s possible that this is due to Americans’ general lack of understanding regarding snow and winter sports.  Or a fear of Sasquatch.  Plus there’s that pesky time difference which makes watching the games live an all-nighter event.

Usually, the other networks not covering the Games lose out big time during the two-week Olympic season.  With a glaring lack of eyes glued to their channel, the other networks often run repeat episodes or shows they can access on the cheap to fill their primetime slots.

But this year, CBS is fighting back with new alternate programming.  The network has trapped eleven celebrities of questionable calibre in the Big Brother house with over a hundred cameras and microphones.  So we get to watch these TV hostages drink their way through the day while Omarosa – the ex-White House something-or-other – dramatically whispers her fears about the future of the U.S.
And this is going on four nights a week including Friday’s two-hour episode.  That’s five hours of Celebrity Big Brother a week, 13 episodes over 18 days.

That’s just wrong on so many levels.

Then CBS also has The Amazing Race blanketing both the globe and our CTV affiliate, CKPR Thunder Bay.  As locally we missed the original start date of the show back in January, CTV is now running all 12 episodes of the season over 15 days.  So pack your Dramamine.  You’re going to need it.

Meanwhile, ABC has warmed up the hot tub for night after night of The Bachelor and The Bachelor Winter Games.  Yes, Bachelor Nation contestants – those quality folk who signed up for The Bachelor and Bachelorette over the years and didn’t make it to the final rose – are coming back to compete in various athletic games for the ultimate prize: Love.

And notoriety.  And future endorsement deals.

So we’ve got a lot of alternate realities for viewers to peruse during the Olympics.  However, if the majority of viewers aren’t tuning in to winter sports anyway, why bother with this change in the schedule at all?

Well, nothing makes the heart grow fonder – or ratings go higher – than a little distance and a returning/premiere date.  In fact, most of the networks will be premiering at least a couple new shows shortly after the Games close.  We’ve got A.P. Bio, Instinct, Timeless, For the People, Deception, The Detail and Station 19 all beginning in March.

So now is the time to play couch potato either cheering for your favourite countries, your favourite teams, your favourite sports, or your favourite personalities.  Or you could watch the Olympics.

Either way, your regularly scheduled programming will return in a couple weeks.