Monday, November 29, 2010

Pinsent, Williams this week on 22 Minutes


22 Minutes is quietly having a stellar year--despite CBC's best efforts to kill it.
The 16-year-old Canadian comedy showcase hit 925,000 viewers last week, pretty amazing given how little publicity the show receives. That's like, what, three times what Being Erica gets? At, what, one-third the per episode cost??
If it is acknowledged at all in CBC advertising it is in the small print down at the bottom of a Rick Mercer Report ad--"...and at 8:30 22 Minutes." The cast has come to describe their show as "the series between two shows CBC promotes" (the other being The Tudors, which concluded its run last Tuesday night).
CBC cut the 22 Minutes run back to a half-season this year, just 13 episodes. One week this season they let the series dangle a fresh episode behind a rerun of Mercer, with sharply lower ratings the predictable result.
Being backed into a tight corner seems to have emboldened the cast and writers. Last week they were quick to jump on the odd story about Randy Quaid, with Mark Critch showing Quaid and his wife Evi how to become Canadian.
The Halifax-based comedy series has also made great use of Newfoundland icon Gordon Pinsent this season, especially in that viral YouTube video featuring Pinsent reading passages from Justin Bieber's autobiography. Funny, and savvy--Bieber's name has helped the bit draw tens of thousands of hits.
Pinsent, having a Betty White kind of year at 80, is back this week in a sketch acknowledging the end of Danny William reign as King of the Rock. Check it out Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBC and don't miss the hour-long season finale Dec. 14.
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