Time for CBC, CCA to fix mess

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 6:52 AM ET

Over to you now, Nancy Lee.

The CBC Sports executive director clearly holds the hammer again when it comes to what we see in televised curling -- at least for the season ahead, and probably longer.

That became abundantly clear last Friday, when TSN walked away from discussions with the Canadian Curling Association aimed a finding a new broadcaster for the sport.

The Score stepped aside, too.

Both of them fearful of the CBC's intent to pursue legal action if the CCA went ahead with its plan to terminate their four-year agreement after one season. Simply put, it's not their mess and they want no part of it.

Which, in the end, leaves the CCA with only one option: Mend fences with the CBC, and figure out a way to make everyone happy in the season ahead.

The solution?

To quote Lee, "let's get back to what works."

Step No. 1: Ditch CBC Country Canada. While the digital channel might have been great for the CBC's business plan (that is, get some real viewership for Country Canada), curling fans hated it. Lee has said County Canada was taken "off the table" during discussions with the CCA in the spring. So let's keep it there.

Then, Lee should consider one of two options: Offer TSN the opportunity to take back the weekday draws it aired for nearly two decades, or bring The Score back as a partner for as many evenings as possible.

While the TSN option would please fans of Vic Rauter, Ray Turnbull and Linda Moore, it might be too late to make that work.

The Score, available in five million Canadian homes, is a viable alternative. It did well with curling as a last-minute substitute last season, and would be interested in such an arrangement.

"We would listen, for sure. It's a good property," said Dave Errington, The Score's senior VP and GM.

Start those talks now -- "the sooner, the better," said Errington -- and perhaps the CBC could convince The Score to take on, say, Monday-Wednesday nights for the Olympic trials, Brier, Scott and women's worlds. That would offer some necessary consistency, making life a lot simpler for viewers.

In other words, it's what works.


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