TSN scored a massive victory Sunday night, with an average minute audience of 5,087,000 watching a thrilling, come-from-behind victory by Montreal over Saskatchewan in the 97th Grey Cup. Add the 1,009,000 Alouette fans who tuned in on RDS, and an overnight, estimated 6.1 million Canadians watched the CFL championship.
BBM Canada counted a peak of 8.35 million watching at 9:49 p.m., just as Montreal kicker Damon Duval aced his do-over as time expired.
TSN rushed out a release Tuesday proclaiming it "the most-watched Grey Cup ever*." The asterisk was there to cover their asses in case a higher score was recorded prior to the introduction of People Meters in 1989. It is possible--CBC scored massive numbers with the Grey Cup throughout the '70s and '80s in a much less splintered TV universe. Still, 6.1 million in Canada is huge and might just be the biggest Grey Cup audience ever.
What is indisputable is that it is the biggest audience of the year for any program in Canada. The Grey Cup beat the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards in total audience this year, although it was the only one to benefit from the new Portable People Meter data.
How excited is TSN-owner CTV about this? Clearly, the new PPM's have given live sports a gigantic shot in the arm in Canada. If you had the Olympics, wouldn't you be pretty excited?
TSN grabbed another 2,227,000 viewers with the pre-Grey Cup show and 2,129,000 with the post-show. It was by far the biggest night ever for the network.
OTHER SUNDAY NUMBERS: Amazing Race 2,419,000. Desperate Housewives 1,752,000. Wonderful World of Disney on CBC 781,000. Heartland 747,000. My Rona Home on City 162,000. Two Corner Gas reruns thrown up against the Grey Cup did much better than Degrassi usually does in the Sunday at 7 timeslot (461,000 and 592,000).
SATURDAY'S NUMBER: A rare Saturday night off for the Leafs still drew 1,783,000 to see Montreal lose in a shootout on Hockey Night in Canada.
FRIDAY NUMBERS: With Flashpoint through for the season, CTV scored 1,049,000 with The 40 Year Old Virgin. The fifth estate drew a strong 952,000 with their "Unofficial Story" conspiracy report on the 9/11 attacks. That so-so Stephen Colbert Christmas special from last season did 495,000 at 10 on CTV. On CBC at 8, Ron James drew 663,000. That shot-in-Toronto Family Channel TV-movie Skyrunners I wrote about, starring Aaron Stone's Kelly Blatz, scored a respectable 259,000.