Thursday, February 24, 2011

Out at CBC: 18 to Life and Dragon Brett Wilson

Couple of CBC things that make you go "huh" on a Thursday. First is the news that started to filter in yesterday that 18 to Life is officially dead. Odd this call was made the week the show took a major jump in the ratings. This Monday, 18 to Life pulled 381,000 viewers, up over 100,000 from recent weeks. It did better this week than InSecurity (356,000), the Tuesday night CBC spy spoof that made the CBC protected list over a week ago.
The second year comedy should have been tested at least once on another night. That's network TV 101.
The other news today is that Calgary entrepreneur W. Brett Wilson is departing Dragons' Den. “Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement on the terms of his contract," says Julie Bristow, executive director, Factual Entertainment, CBC Television. Couldn't work out a deal? Isn't that what he does on the show??
Wilson's departure raises the question: do some dragons earn more than others? You'd think they'd all get the same deal. The other four Dragons will all be back next fall when the show returns for an sixth season.
As a viewer, I always found that Wilson brought a quiet dignity to the hit series as well as a social conscious to the table. The prostate cancer survivor just seemed like a decent guy, a solid counter point to that all-about-the-money showboat Kevin O'Leary. He also delivered on his deals--something that set him apart from some of his fellow Dragons according to at least one published report.
He'll be missed, although he did seem a tad bored at times this season.
Another possible factor: the Den is probably too small to hold all those egos. Wilson must have went "what the hell?" when O'Leary and Robert Herjavec got that short-lived Shark Tank gig on ABC.
"Haven't seen the CBC press release re Dragons Den," he tweeted Thursday. "am on a plane. Curious as to what they said...might comment later..." His previous tweets, some just hours earlier, seem to suggest he was very much into the show.
Who'll fill the empty seat? Jim Balsillie would be awesome, no? It's not like he has an NHL team to look after or anything.
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