Saturday, September 25, 2010

No Theory: Big Bang Canada's No. 1 show

The Big Bang Theory roared back Thursday night on CTV, drawing an overnight, estimated 3.1 million-plus viewers across Canada. All those billboards and bus shelter ads paid off. CTV says that's the biggest Canadian TV audience for a sitcom since the finale of Friends.  CTV had a monster night thanks to Thursday imports that do better in Canada than in the United States. Grey's Anatomy pulled 2,528,000 at 9, while The Mentalist did even better at 10, drawing 2,643,000.
So You Think You Can Dance Canada's results show, tucked behind the Big Bang explosion at 8:30, waltzed off with 1.2 million viewers. Old reliable CSI pulled 1,863,000 out of simulcast at crazy early 7 p.m., thanks mainly to Canadian-born guest star Justin Bieber.
There were still plenty of viewers left over for the return of Bones on Global, which did a robust 1,743,000 opposite Big Bang (despite being the cheesiest episode ever). Global Thursday comedies The Office (888,000) and newcomer Outsourced (close to 800,000) kept the lights on. Not so much at CBC, where The Nature of Things (373,000) and Doc Zone (321,000) did BBM (Below the Brampton Mark).
Which brings us to this cockamamie front page story in Saturday's Toronto Star, the one that says CBC has pulled past Global as "the second most watched network in Canada after CTV."
What--on Saturdays during the hockey season? CBC has been spinning this fable for a couple of years now, ever since the U.S. writers strike put Global at a disadvantage for a few weeks one winter, allowing CBC a tiny advantage for about ten minutes. That was the year CBC declared the TV season was only as long as the writers strike, sorta like when George Bush had that "Mission Accomplished" photo op on that fighter jet.
I'm all for putting Allan Hawco on any Front Page and giving Republic of Doyle, Dragon's Den, Battle of the Blades and Heartland their due, but a glance at the latest BBM Canada weekly Top 30 shows that for the week of Sept. 13-19, Global had nine of the Top-30 shows across Canada (including No. 1 Survivor Nicaragua) compared to CBC's three--and two of those were Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! The next weekly Top-30 will be even more tilted toward CTV and Global as season premieres for Glee, House, Bones and Hawaii FIVE-0 kick in. If you compare in the 18-49 demo--the one that matters most to advertisers--CBC falls even further behind the private networks. (CTV, BTW, had 16 shows in the Sept. 13-19 list, with Citytv chipping in with two.)
Thursday night, CBC fell to fourth place across Canada behind emerging Citytv stations, where the season premiere of Fringe (666,000--the sign of the ratings beast!) scored at 9 p.m., with 30 Rock doing 653,000 and Community back with 389,000. City, which had a strong week with returning hits Modern Family and Cougar Town and a good start with The Event, could in fact battle CBC for third across Canada all season.
TSN also drew close to half a million for a Tampa Bay/Edmonton pre-season hockey game.
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