Nobody ever reports it. CTV buries it in what is otherwise another hyperventilating press release. Yet there it is: Degrassi The Next Generation continues to be one of the lowest ratings shows on Canadian television, drawing just 398,000 viewers for its eighth season premiere Sunday. In case you missed it, here's a clip below:
Eight seasons! What other show in the history of Canadian or American television has so consistently drawn so few viewers yet gets renewed year after year?
Consider the ratings for the shows right before it and after it on CTV on Sunday. The premiere of Star Wars: Clone Wars, while, as Yoda might say, "unspectacular they were," captured 652,000 viewers Sunday at 7, good enough to best can't-kill-it-with-a-stick America's Funniest Home Videos on A (610,000) and the return of Heartland on CBC (513,000). Following Degrassi at 8 on CTV was The Amazing Race, still an amazing draw with 1.796 million viewers. Even that 'orrible Celine movie on CBC drew twice the Degrassi crowd at 761,000.
The rest of Sunday is huge for CTV: Desperate Housewives drew 2 million (beating Global's animated Seth MacFarlane comedies Family Guy, at a million, and American Dad, 674,000), while Law & Order: Criminal Intent captured 985,000 viewers, edging Global's Brothers & Sisters (850,000) in total households across Canada. (Source: Preliminary overnight data, CTV Total, Global Total and CBC Total, from BBM Nielsen Media Research.)
Meanwhile, back on Friday nights, against stiff competition from CTV import Ghost Whisperer (1.3 million), look who is keeping the lights on at CBC: Air Farce--now called Air Farce: Final Flight because a) it's no longer "live" and b) it is being grounded after New Year's Eve--drew 611,000. That's better than the season premieres last week of all these heavily-promoted shows from the new CBC regime: The Border, Little Mosque on the Prairie, Heartland and especially Sophie.
So why is Air Farce (featuring Alan Park, above, as Stephane Dion) going off the air again?