I still give this a good chance of happening. There's some compelling strategic reasons.
ASO is aligned with the TOC which has moved into competition with the Giro's timing. TOC will be broadcast in Europe in late evening on Eurosport, so it will get some EU recognition. TOC guys have said they want to get bigger too, maybe 10 days, maybe 3 weeks eventually? Ultimately it could become a competition for the best riders between TOC and the Giro.
To most US sports fans, there's the TdF and that's it (and only LA rides in it). The Giro probably has low US recognition beyond avid cyclists, but a great product/route/competition (some think even better than TdF).
So it makes good sense for the Giro to counter and even preempt moves by the ASO TOC-TdF alliance, build some US recognition, and maintain their position in the global tour landscape. Otherwise they risk becoming a regional race with less value to sponsors and riders.
Hard on the riders? Start the last US stage at 10 AM, create a rest/xfer day, blend in a flat Italian stage starting at 1 or 2 PM (not the Mortirolo first day back), and arrange an all business/sleeper class charter - should work.
The 8 hr flight is probably equal to the time of the 500+ mile xfer this year from Amsterdam. My guess is elite athletes can handle it. The elite guys at least get some benefit too, name recognition in the biggest untapped cycling market. I agree, harder on the support staff, and broadcast entourage
Also if I'm RCS, I get a deal with ESPN for US TV distribution. Enough with this Versus, NBCU, Direct TV-Comcast fight. Let the TdF share the screen with freakin' Bull Riding! ESPN could put it on "2" during the day and replay at night. Maybe even show some big stages live on "1". What else are they broadcasting in May? Imagine: "Basso, he Could-Go-All-The-Way!" "There goes Garzelli! WhoooooP!" Get Boomer on a bike and maybe he can get off that Nutrisystem food.