While I'm still a bit ruffled that Dick Button had very little input on the commentary for NBC's coverage of U.S. Nationals, you simply can't deny NBC did a great job of hyping the competition.
When the Nielsen Ratings numbers were released, NBC's coverage of Nationals drew the biggest audience for the event in 5 years (ABC/ESPN was the previous carrier of the event). Last weekend's coverage on NBC attracted 12.5 million viewers, up from 4.7 million on ABC and ESPN2 last year.
An NBC spokesperson suggested that the advertising campaign for the event, Scott Hamilton and Sale and Pelletier's prescence, along with renewed interest in skaters such as Lysacek, Weir, and Zhang bolstered the numbers.
Such a strong showing for figure skating was desperately needed as ratings for the sport have fallen sharply over the past few years. This strong showing may nudge NBC to pick up the contract for the 2009 World Championships that are just over a year away and with no television sponsor in the U.S. Also the fact that all of the young competitors that did so well (McLaughlin and Brubaker, Zhang, Flatt, Nagasu) at Nationals will all be eligible to compete in L.A. I would think would give any of the major networks reason to take on the event.