Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sun News scores knockout with Trudeau-Brazeau

Trudeau: Age, 40, H, 6-foot-2, W, 180
LET'S GET READY TO RUUUUMMMBLE!! Tonight, Sun News has the show everybody wants to see--Justin Trudeau getting his beak bent by Patrick Brazeau.
I once asked Justin's younger brother Sasha Trudeau if he'd ever get into politics. He said his dad advised against it, telling him, "it's a dirty business filled with dirty people." The former prime minister might have found this a more civilized way to settle a score than the brass knuckles politics practiced in Canada today.
Imagine if this political fight was happening in the States. A senator in a boxing ring against a member of the House? How fast would this be on Fox? Bill O'Reilly's head would explode.
Instead, lowly Sun News will hit record numbers tonight. The bar isn't set that high, but Sun News could see a ratings spike of a 1000%.
This is a media marriage made in heaven. Ezra Levant already looks like a sweaty corner man, Brian Lilley a sleazy boxing promoter.
With all the talk about CBC and budget cuts, the public broadcaster should be all over this sucker. And why not? They will be televising other fights tonight on Hockey Night in Canada. Trudeau/Brazeau is as least as legitimate a sporting event as Leafs/Sabres. Don Cherry would have a field day with this on Coach's Corner.
Brazeau: Age, 37, H, 5-foot-10, W, 183
Sure--despite the money raised for cancer research--there is a queasy feeling to all of this. Remember Celebrity Boxing? Seeing Danny Bonaduce whup Greg Brady was good fun, but by the time that thing devolved into Tonya Harding hammering that chick who had sexual relations with Clinton, we all had to shower twice.
The Showdown in O-Town should be more legit. Trudeau, a Liberal member of parliament, and Brazeau, a Conservative senator, have both trained and appear to be in fighting shape.
22 Minutes will likely be all over the Thrilla on the Hill-a, a gift heading into next week's CBC series' finales.
It is scheduled for three rounds, but Brazeau looks like he has the guns to end this early. Let the winner fight Ben Mulroney and they'd fill the SkyDome.
The pre-fight show begins at 5 p.m. ET on Sun News. Remember, no wagering!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bashing CBC: its part of our culture

I used to goof on CBC all the time when I was the TV columnist at the Toronto Sun. Back then it wasn't even mandatory.
Once I wrote an obit that began, "BROADCASTING CORPORATION, CANADIAN; died in its sleep last night..."
Good times.
The fellow in charge of CBC programming back then, Slawko Klymkiw, was a very patient man who also had something few in his position in this business seem to possess--a sense of humour. He'd call me after I'd rip him in the newspaper, invite me to come the dozen or so blocks west to CBC's downtown Toronto broadcast bunker and he'd tell me why I was an idiot.
One thing I grew to understand over the years was just how impossible his job was. Knuckleheads like me would take shots every time a new series would bomb or Don Cherry would say "Pinko." Culture vultures would wail there was never enough ballet or theat-ah. Guilds would demand more scripted drama. Loyalists would freak over any blackouts with Coronation Street. Politicians would sneer at a perceived news bias. Oldtimers would demand the return of Don Messer's Jubilee. Taxpayers would ask for their money back.
As if running a TV network wasn't already enough of a crap shoot. The CBC had to also be the "eyes and ears of Canada," crank out 100% homegrown content, be a hot house for culture and creativity, kick ass in the ratings and satisfy its distrustful political masters. The place comes with 34 million shareholders, some who are also cabinet ministers.
It also comes with plenty of built in enemies, some of them posing as "friends." Being the captain of this ship is a hot seat on an ice flow, the ultimate programming high wire act.
So while she knew it was coming, yesterday had to be tough day for Kirstine Stewart. As expected, the Harper government's new budget took away 10% of the broadcasters annual appropriation. The $115 million hit will be phased in over the next three years. It was Black Thursday at CBC, Christmas at Quebecor.
The sharp stick in Stewart's eye, however, had to be the headline in Thursday's Globe and Mail: "Suck it up, CBC. You should have seen this coming."
Now, John Doyle is a pal and a very perceptive fellow. People read him for his opinions and they matter. He never has any problem backing them up.
He's as entitled to say CBC has "failed to transcend mediocrity and forcefully explain what it does" as any sportswriter in Toronto writing about Brian Burke or the Leafs.
I'm tickled when Doyle uses words like "flibbertigibbet" and "hodgepodge," as he does in debunking The National, because they are funny words well played. They go straight to my "steal these words later" file.
But saying CBC failed "to offer distinction and originality" because it "went for the jibber-jabber of chatty news and a ceaseless stream of Dragons' Den knock offs" is a bit, as the kids say, harsh.
Like it or not, CBC is in the same broadcast racket (another word I stole from Doyle) as the other guys. They have to provide content that Canadian viewers want to watch. Right now, and for the last few years, Canadians want to watch Dragons' Den.
Would Global find room for it on their schedule? That would be yes. So would CTV or City. It ranked 13th out of all shows in Canada March 19-25, drawing more viewers than Desperate Housewives, Dancing with the Stars or The Voice.
It didn't air this week, and the show that follows it, Republic of Doyle, fell under a million viewers in the overnight rating estimates for the only time this season. The Den is the best lead-in on the CBC schedule, and helps scripted shows like Doyle become and stay popular.
CBC tried two Den-like spin-offs this winter and spring, Redemption, Inc and The Big Decision. Neither has been a ratings blockbuster, but you can't blame them for trying. Fox would have done it. So would CBS or CTV. As Fred Allen said, imitation is the sincerest form of television.
CBC did find success with Arctic Air this winter. Another scripted show, Mr. D, also found an audience. This was a crowded, killer winter, and while some shows opened, not much stuck with viewers on either side of the border. For two new shows to emerge through the noise is pretty impressive.
Neither may meet Doyle's "distinction and originality"standard but even HBO runs out of Luck now and then. Calling the CBC schedule "a blinding sheen of lightweight nonsense" is overkill. I've told Doyle a million times don't exaggerate.
I think Marketplace is a great example of how CBC serves its audience by aiming right at it. The consumer magazine has been pulling million-a-week-plus numbers since January, all on Friday nights. It costs peanuts and punches well above its weight. If you are a programmer, it is a home run.
Now, CBC isn't perfect. All this jibber-jabber about Little Mosque being iconic and ground breaking? Oy vey. Does Stroumboulopoulos look as tired of us as we are of him? Pass the remote.
Where I wholeheartedly agree with Doyle is that the budget cuts do provide an opportunity for CBC to refine its mission and values. But as a network, not as a cultural beachhead. Bitching about CBC, one might argue, is part of our culture.
What I hope happens: can a few dozen managers and vice presidents, and make more TV Canadians want to watch. Aim too high and you get Michael Tuesdays & Thursdays--a distinct, original show very few Canadians watched. CBC has to live by the same TV maxim as the other guys--the audience is always right. The rest is all flibbertigibbet and hodgepodge.

Mythbusters duo rock Toronto stage show

Thanks to an invite from the folks at Discovery Canada, I caught the Mythbusters "Behind the Myths Tour" as it stopped in Toronto Thursday night. Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman were like rock stars at the Sony Centre, playing two shows with the evening performance packed to the rafters.
A full house of adoring fans--many in the high school and college age range--were probably hoping to see Adam and Hyneman blow stuff up really good. There was none of that, but we did get to see a few stage stunts posing as science experiments, including Savage hanging from the rafters held up by friction in the form of two phone books with overlapping pages.
Savage is such an energized stage presence he must love doing these live shows. Hyneman stays right in his stoic, nonplussed character. Fans just seemed buzzed about seeing their heroes in person. Several were brought up on stage to help with the stunts and experiments. That worked best when the duo's super slo-mo camera was put to comical use as volunteers saw how dramatically their faces distort doing simple things like giving raspberries.
The show has a Canadian connection. The creative director, Jim Millan, is from Toronto and was asked to stand and take a bow at last night's show. Millan directs Kids in the Hall, a perfect prep for Savage and Hyneman.
Mythbusters has been one of the most popular shows on Discovery for 10 years now, topping 200 episodes. As Savage said, this is the only stage show where a damaged hot water tank can be wheeled out to spontaneous applause. (It was blasted into space in a memorable episode.) Several other clips from the series, including outtakes, were shown on a giant screen. The two men also take questions from the audience. First question to Hyneman: "Is your mustache real?" Answer: yes.
The difference between science and just screwing around having fun is "writing it down," Savage reminded us. These two are taking that nugget to the bank. Fans in Montreal can see them tonight on their final stop in Canada (they are near the end of a 31-city tour). As it says on their site, "parents should only bring their young children if they can sit through a two hour theatrical show without disrupting other audience members." Who, the parents or the children?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

This week's podcast: back from the future

This week, CHML's Scott Thompson wanted to know what I was up to this week in Vancouver. Told him I was invited by Showcase to the set of their new sci-fi cop drama Continuum, which premieres May 27.
Continuum stars spunky Rachel Nichols (G.I. Joe) as a kick-ass cop from the year 2077 who gets zapped back to 2012 along with some criminals on death row.
Rachel Nichols stars in Continuum
The series blurs the good guy-bad guy barrier with governments being replaced in the future by corporations. Hey, isn't that happening now?
Scott also asked if the premiere of the movie blockbuster The Hunger Games put a dent in TV ratings. It did, particularly last Friday night, when it set a one day box office record of eleventy billion-million dollars. That was also the night Fringe returned after a few months on Fox and only 2.8 million viewers were counted in the overnights, about half what Fox had hoped for. Seems a lot of Fringe fans wanted to be first in line for The Hunger Games.
We also discuss the fifth season premiere of Mad Men, particularly the sexy dance number performed by Jessica Pare. We both agreed she can clean our houses anytime.
You can listen in here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Brioux Report: old favourites Survivor, Amazing Race, Idol, NCIS and CSI dominate

Navratilova was a net job on DWTS
Again, no new Big Bang Theory, allowing other shows to reach the top of the weekly Canadian TV ratings. But Survivor, NCIS, CSI and The Amazing Race all in the Top-5? Strong showings from American Idol and Dancing with the Stars? What is this, 2006?
Sifting through all the reruns were a couple of specials and debuts. Here’s how all it all played out across Canada in prime time among adults 2+ the week of March 18 to 25 according to overnight estimates:

MONDAY

Two two-hour reality shows crowded comedies off CTV and CTV Two's usual prime time grid. Mike & Molly (866,000) was bounced to CTV at 7. Two and a Half Men managed a strong 1,119,000 even though it aired at 7:30 on CTV instead of its usual home, CTV Two.
CTV got back in simulcast synch at 8 with The Voice, which was heard by 1,362,000. Castle followed with 1,720,000.
Back at 8, CTV Two waltzed off with an impressive 1,321,000 with the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars. NBC renewed Smash for a second season this week, but CTV gave it no such vote of confidence, bouncing it over to CTV Two where 467,000 found it.
Global’s House repeated to 751,000 at 8 o’clock. A rerun of NCIS: Los Angeles drew 767,000 leading into a new Hawaii FIVE-0 (1,754,000).
With all those other talent shows on the schedule, City’s Canada’s Got Talent slid to 346,000 overnight viewers for a results show. How I Met Your Mother bounced up to 728,000 and 2 Broke Girls did a rich 840,000. Alcatraz drew a devilish 666,000 at 10.
A Mr. D repeat drew 506,000 on CBC, with soon-to-end Little Mosque down to 207,000. The Dragon’s Den spin-off The Big Decision managed 409,000 at 10.
A Canada/Denmark women’s curling tilt did 639,000 on TSN. A Leafs/Bruins game scored 555,000 on Sportsnet Ontario. Canucks drew a further 428,000 vs. Minnie on Sportsnet Pacific.
Montreal and Boston drew 589,000 NHL fans to TSN; San Jose and Edmonton scored 495,000 for TSN’s late game. Score pinned 309,000 with WWE Raw. Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All drew 295,000 at Discovery. Pretty Little Liars did 261,000 at MuchMusic, honest. Midsomer Murders killed on TVO (260,000).

Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly of NCIS. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS
TUESDAY

NCIS got Global off to a big start with 2,222,000 viewers. NCIS: Los Angeles followed with an almost as impressive 1,918,000. Wipeout fell to 313,000 at 10.
Whitney began CTV’s night with 971,000 viewers. Hot in Cleveland drew 969,000. The season (series?) finale of The River pulled 728,000. Unforgettable ended CTV’s night with 1,593,000.
The Rick Mercer Report was seen by 901,000 viewers. 22 Minutes followed with 707,000. Arctic Air is over for the season, so Just Four Laughs took over the slot and pulled 577,000.
City stuck with Last Man Standing (352,000) but bounced up with new episodes of Cougar Town (384,000) and New Girl (549,000). Raising Hope (222,000) and Body of Proof (468,000) followed.
CTV Two aired the terrible movie Bewitched (210,000) followed by the new infomercial/talent search series Fashion Star (345,000).
Toronto/Islanders drew 575,000 hockey fans to Sportsnet Ontario. Canada/Sweden in women’s curling drew 554,000 on TSN. Discovery had another bonanza with Gold Rush Alaska (357,000). Pawn Stars fetched 455,000 and 542,000 on History.

Global's Titanic miniseries set sail last Wednesday
WEDNESDAY
                                                  
A surprise twist helped Survivor One World stay on top of the overnights with 2,327,000 viewers. Are You There Chelsea? (475,000) and I Hate My Teenage Daughter (354,000) followed. At 10, Global aired Part I of their new Titanic miniseries, with 636,000 survivors.
A two hour American Idol drew 1,975,000 CTV viewers. A new CSI followed with 2,220,000.
CTV Two led with America’s Top Model (94,000), took a big jump with Criminal Minds (1,469,000) and tumbled back down with the CTV Two premiere of Ashley Judd’s new international drama Missing (362,000). What really went missing was the other 2 million CTV viewers who caught this series’ opener.
Republic of Doyle remained Rock steady, topping the million mark overnight again with 1,042,000 viewers. Dragon’s Den led the way on CBC with 1,551,000.
City had reruns of The Middle (187,000), Suburgatory (223,000), Modern Family (383,000) and Happy Endings (340,000). An umpteenth Murdoch Mysteries rerun was slotted in at 10 (144,000).
Canucks and Blackhawks faced off to 775,000 on TSN, where more women’s curling brought 483,000 earlier in the afternoon.
TSN scored 664,000 for a Montreal/Ottawa game. Sportsnet Pacific drew 590,000 for a Canucks/Phoenix game.
Back-to-back episodes of American Restoration drew 402,000 and 533,000 on History. IRT: Deadliest Roads drove off with 514,000 and Swamp People did 504,000. King sunk again on Showcase, down to 54,000.
                                                                                 
THURSDAY
                                                                                 
Once again, The Big Bang Theory was Missing at CTV—literally. The second episode of the Ashley Judd drama drew a strong 2,219,000. Criminal Minds followed wityh 1,171,000, then C.S.I Miami (1,424,000).
American Idol (1,257,000) did what it does on CTV Two. Mike & Molly (358,000) and Up All Night (312,000) followed. Criminal Minds did 223,000 at 10. CTV Two opened the night at 7 with Vampire Diaries (285,000).
The Nature of Things drew 561,000 with “Smarty Planets.” Doc Zone did 296,000.
The Exes opened meekly for Global at 8 (290,000). Rob reran to 296,000. Kiefer Sutherland’s new series Touch roared back with a new episode drawing 1,914,000 Global overnight viewers. Awake was up over the week before at 860,000.
City saw 335,000 tune in to Community. 30 Rock rolled to 316,000 and 289,000. Reruns of Parks & Recreation and Private Practice did 118,000 and 163,000.
Canada/Scotland curling rocked the house on TSN (632,000). Sportsnet pacific had a Canucks game (476,000). Frozen Planet thawed to 348,000 on Discovery. Undercover Boss Canada hired another 389,000 at 9 p.m. on W.

FRIDAY

Marketplace was back, this time exposing “Dirty Hospitals” to 911,000. Mercer 2.0 did 625,000, then the fifth estate had 605,000 “Lost on Ice.”
CTV stuck with Shark Tank at 8 (881,000) followed by a rerun of Grimm at 9 (595,000) and C.S.I. New York (1,079,000).
Global slotted in Kitchen Nightmares at 8 (593,000) followed by Harry’s Law (1,023,000) and Ringer (424,000).
CTV Two’s big draws were Nikita (270,000) and Dateline (220,000).
City was back with Who Do You Think You Are (459,000) and Fringe (436,000) and the Mantracker (203,000).
More women’s curling drew 444,000 and 593,000 on TSN. WWE Smackdown drew 223,000 on Score. Otherwise everyone was at The Hunger Games.

SATURDAY          

Hockey Night in Canada scored 2,045,000 with the early Leafs/Rangers game and 1,052,000 with the late featuring the Canucks.
CTV got 828,000 to watch W5 and another 637,000 to sample a repeat of Missing.
Women’s curling peaked at 808,000 on TSN.
Buried Saturday at 8 and airing six days after its NBC broadcast, a two hour Celebrity Apprentice was found by 328,000 Global viewers.
Saturday Night Live dropped down to 306,000 viewers with another repeat.

SUNDAY            

Once Upon a Time (1,337,000) was solid at 7 for CTV. After all these seasons, The Amazing Race (2,491,000) remains the show to beat in Canada on Sundays. Desperate Housewives did 1,484,000 at 9. The new prime time soap GCB (1,183,000) seems to have found its level.
Same with Canada’s Got Talent, which drew 940,000 and 754,000 back-to-back on City. Only 15,000 across Canada then watched You’ve Got Mail on City. Can’t you get that anytime on Hollywood Suite?
Global opened with The Simpsons (689,000) followed by Bob’s Burgers (532,000), Family Guy (520,000) and American Dad (492,000). Guest star Matthew Perry (above right) boosted The Good Wife (896,000). The West Block  ended Global's night with 97,000.
Heartland galloped off with 808,000 at 7 on CBC. A Marketplace rerun followed (605,000) then the Sunday movie Barney’s Version (237,000). Still waiting for Fred and Wilma’s version.
The big draw over at CTV Two was CSI Miami at 10 (740,000). W5 did 210,000 at 7.
The Gold Medal game at the Women’s Curling Championship drew 750,000 on TSN.
Lost Girl was found by 241,000 at 9, outgunning Justified on Showcase at 10 (155,000).
Women’s curling drew 708,000 to TSN for a tilt between Canada and China. Lost Girl was found by 185,000 at 9 on Showcase.
How many people caught the fifth season opener of Mad Men in Canada on AMC? Wish I knew. Forward the number if you've got it.

The L.A. Complex gets new lease at CTV

News that The L.A. Complex has been picked up for an additional 13 episodes did not come as a total surprise today--even though the series was not exactly a ratings smash.
The drama, about young Canadian wannabes struggling to make it in Hollywood, premiered  Jan. 10. It drew 351,000 viewers on CTV in overnight estimates. An additional 60,000 were counted the same night on MuchMusic.
The five subsequent episodes aired only on Much. It drew 87,000 there for the second episode, 40,000 for the third, 44,000 for the fourth.
Epitome Pictures invested heavily in the series, creating a Hollywood style back lot at their production centre in Toronto. An outdoor recreation of the infamous Hyland Gardens motel in Hollywood was also constructed, complete with swimming pool.
The series was executive produced and directed by Martin Gero, who helmed the Canadian feature Young People F--king. The L.A. Complex pretty much covers similar ground.
The timing of CTV's renewal is all about the launch of the series in the U.S. next month. It premieres on The CW April 24.
Programming officials there were very high on the series when I spoke with them in January, bumping it up from a proposed summer slot to directly follow the final episode of their long-running series One Tree Hill.
“We loved it," said Thom Sherman, Head of Development at The CW. “It’s an authentic look at people trying to make it in Los Angeles. It was edgy and smart, funny and fresh, and it just felt like a show that belonged on our network.”
Networks on both sides of the border are looking to reduce risk and share costs. The L.A. Complex seems like a good fit with that formula; now it just needs viewers to sign off on the deal.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lloyd lost as Vancouver gives up her ghost

VANCOUVER--Came here to see a ghost but it's gone.
I'm actually in Vancouver to visit the set of Continuum, a new sci-fi police drama coming May 27 to Showcase. The series is about a policewoman from the year 2077 who travels back to 2012 and teams with present day cops in pursuit of escaped convicts from the future. And, if you're wondering, no, the Leafs still haven't won another Stanley Cup.
The drama stars Rachel Nichols (Criminal Minds) as back to the future cop Kiera Cameron. Calgary-native Victor Webster  (The Lot) co-stars as her present-day police partner. Its a first series from UBC grad Simon Barry.
The series shoots on location all over Vancouver, which has been chillier than usual this past winter.
Showcase has kindly ensconced out of town press at the Sutton Place hotel, just three blocks from a construction site at Granville and Robson.
That's where I headed this morning to see the "ghost," an old fashioned, outdoor billboard painted on a brick wall to advertise the 1922 Harold Lloyd comedy Grandma's Boy. The silent film--Lloyd's first five reeler as the sign says--played 90 years ago around the corner from the sign at the Capitol Theatre. There are several old movie houses that still stand--albeit in various stages of disrepair--on Granville street.
The sign was revealed when construction workers recently raised the building next to it. That building went up 90 years ago and kept the sign hidden. Unfortunately, the same crew knocked the Lloyd sign down three weeks ago. Here's all that remains at the site.
The "ghost sign" was on the near wall which has been torn down
Too bad there could not have been a way found to lift that brick section out and preserve the sign, but the real bricks are probably worth more today than the nostalgia value of preserving a piece of movie history. Lloyd was as popular as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in the '20s, a real crowd pleaser best remembered for dangling from that clock in Safety Last, released in 1923.
Lloyd died in 1971 at 77. His birthday was March 8; the Vancouver ghost sign came down March 7.
The front wall of the building, which has art deco flourishes, is being preserved. It has a historical plaque on it. A lot of good that did.

Recap: Navratilova gets no love on DWTS

Even working with a net, Navratilova caught no love on DWTS
Bruno did a lot of hollering again Monday night on Dancing with the Stars. Too bad he didn't speak up when somebody was designing Martina Navratilova's wacky dance costume. The former tennis ace looked like she had rushed the net and got all caught up in it. Then she went and stubbed her toe during rehearsal and danced like she had tennis rackets on both feet. Double fault.
Other than that, the episode was memorable for judge Len Goodman's remarkable apology and for front runner Kathryn Jenkin shaking her "naughty bits."
More objectionable is ABC's decision to post tweets right on screen during their broadcasts of the show. "breastfeeding & watching @DWTS" went one tweet. And it was from a man! That child is going to grow up scared of television.
The full recap of Monday night's episode can be found here. Look for Navratilova to be sent to the showers.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Apartment key to unlocking Mad Men

Don Draper sees what other men think
Man Men returns Sunday at 9/8c on AMC with a two-hour, fifth season premiere. Will viewers flock back after a 17 month hiatus?
The answer, of course, is yes. This is television's best drama, an Emmy-winner four years in a row. The Sopranos sat out similar breaks and came back stronger than ever in the ratings.
Besides, there is so much built-in curiosity with a Man Men return. Did Don Draper marry his beautiful young secretary (played by Montreal native Jessica Pare)? Did Joan (Christina Hendricks) have her child? Is Roger (John Slattery) still smoking? And what year is it? Will we see Draper wear bell bottoms and love beads as this series slips deep into the '60s?
Creator, writer, executive producer and showrunner Matthew Weiner was spilling nothing last January when he joined the cast at an informal meeting with TV critics in Pasadena last press tour. Still, a scrum with this guy is always worthwhile. Weiner is just so on his game and his insights on television in general are always worth noting.
While he won't talk plot points about this season's shows, the 46-year-old showrunner is a big classic film buff and is always ready to talk about one of his creative inspirations, The Apartment. (Curiously, on the same press tour, Ricky Gervais told reporters that it was also his favourite film.) Weiner has long acknowledged that the 1960 Oscar winner served as a style blueprint for his series, but its also a writing guide, he says. "Any comparison [to that film] is one of the most flattering things."
Weiner didn't see The Apartment until he studied it at the USC School of Cinema and Television. Like his series, he says it was a project nobody wanted to make. "People thought it was crass and crude," he says. 
The Baltimore native says it is a great snapshot of America "between Eisenhower and Woodstock." The movie shows that the era wasn't as dull and grey as people today tend to believe. "There is infidelity going on, there is drinking going on, Mr Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) is dressing his Christmas tree as his mistress is calling him on the verge of suicide...sordid doesn’t seem appropriate in a Hollywood movie, yet there you see it at the nexus of popular culture."
Draper would have had a key to The Apartment
In terms of storytelling, he notes how the film unfolds at a very unusual pace for a Hollywood feature. "There is an hour and 20 minutes in that movie when all that’s happening is catching the audience up with what has already happened," he says. The movie finds single man office schlub Jack Lemmon loaning his apartment out to his superiors for trysts. "There’s no forward movement in the story except for the audience finding out what this guys life is like." Does that kind of story telling sound familiar, Man Men viewer?
Weiner says director Billy Wilder and co-writer I.A.L.  Diamond were "one of the great writing teams of all time." He finds The Apartment to be a very contemporary movie, "as contemporary as Desperate Housewives or any reality show. "People were seeing people they know and it was done in a very classic way, just masterful storytelling."
Weiner was also asked about network attempts to tap into the same ‘60s vibe with shows such as Pan Am, The Playboy Club and the upcoming U.S. cable effort Magic City, all set in the middle of the last century.
More power to them, says Weiner. “I applaud anyone who can get a show on the air,” he says, referencing the 80 or so pilots broadcasters order each season before committing 20 or 25 to series.
Weiner says he got a chilly reception from most studio heads when he was shopping a series about ad men in the ‘60s. “Most of it feels like vindication just that they were making these shows,” he says.
Besides, he says, just because a show is set in the ‘60s doesn’t mean it’s a copy-cat show. “Those shows are no more related to this show than The Wild, Wild West was related to Maverick or Bonanza,” he says of the proliferation of westerns that dominated television in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Still, he acknowledges that style often shapes, if not dictates, content on TV. He says he was taught that “window dressing”—the clothes, the hair, the styling—is “literally the texture of the show.”
He tells a story of meeting Josh Brolin when the actor was shooting American Gangster. “He was wearing the most amazing leather jacket,” says Weiner. Brolin was given the jacket by Denzel Washington and told, “that is the character.”
That's why Weiner plays such close attention to wardrobe in Mad Men. He singled out the polka dot dress that Betty Draper (January Jones) wore all day and night when she found out her husband had been having an affair. "Never take those clothes off. Wallow in it," is how Weiner put it. "It gave her character irony to see her in this beautiful dress, incredibly depressed."
For more on Weiner from that same TCA press tour scrum, follow this link to the story I wrote this week for The Canadian Press.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bent goes bust, but Smash sticks

Bent did not break in the U.S. Wednesday night. I like the new NBC rom-com, starring Amanda Peet and David Walton, and say so here in my overnight review for theStar.com. NBC seems determined, however, to toss it away, dumping it into Wednesdays at 9 opposite American Idol, Criminal Minds and Modern Family with little promotion. No Canadian network picked it up, never a good sign.
TV By The Numbers says the series premiered to just 2.82 million viewers Wednesday night at 9 and dipped to 2.42 mil. at 9:30--worse than The Paul Reiser Show did last spring. U.S. cable shows like Doomsday Bunkers, Rip the Runway and Storage Wars pulled more viewers in the hour. Yikes.
Another NBC mid-season tryout, Smash, has earned a second season according to today's announcement from the network. Averaging 7.7 million viewers a week, Smash is NBC's top-rated scripted series in both total audience and A18 to 49--which should give you some idea of NBC's overall fortunes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This week's podcast: mid-season mayhem

This week, CHML's Scott Thompson wanted to know what the dealio was with Community, one of my favourite shows. NBC cut this year's order and brought the third-year series back last week after a four month hiatus. The good news it returned with season high ratings, both in the States and on City in Canada, boosting its chances for renewal.
This provoked a quick stock taking of mid-season shows so  far. Many have been tried but few have been chosen. Shows such as Smash, The Firm, Alcatraz, The River, Touch, Awake, Luck and many others have had a hard time bursting through the clutter of so many shows on so many schedules. One other I like based on the pilot starts tonight, Amanda Peet's Bent (9 p.m. on NBC).
David Walton and Amanda Peet get Bent
CBC, I think, was smart getting Arctic Air and Mr. D off the ground so soon after New Year's. Both found viewers before things got fuzzy.
Fox yesterday cancelled the horrible comedy I Hate My Teenage Daughter. Luck was cancelled after the death of three horses, although the fact HBO had only hooked half a million U.S. viewers a week did not help.
Adding to the clutter, a ton of old favourites are returning or set to return to specialty and cable, including Pawn Stars, Game of Thrones, Girls and, of course, Sunday's two hour return after 17 months of Mad Men. King is back on Showcase but stumbling badly out of the gate.
The new Ashley Judd international drama Missing opened big on CTV last week, topping 2.4 million in the overnights (thanks to a Big Bang Theory timeslot boost), but TV By The Numbers only rated it as a "toss up" for cancellation on ABC.
Scott also brings up Bell's takeover of Astral, which was announced last week. That sound you hear is me kicking myself for not buying Astral stock, especially after hearing Astral CEO Ian Greenberg's boast last September at the TIFF opening gala that the company had enjoyed 60 consecutive quarters of growth. The concentration of media ownership has to be a concern, however, and not just for parents with children in communications or radio and television programs. I don't see this adding jobs to the industry, and it makes me nervous when there are only so many doors left to knock on in this racket, as Doyle calls it.
You can listen in here.

Brioux Report: Big Bang goes Missing

Missing: Ashley Judd's smile and wrinkles
It was March Break across Canada and a break as well for The Big Bang Theory, allowing other shows to reach the top of the weekly Canadian TV ratings. They included The Amazing Race, Survivor and the new Ashley Judd drama Missing, launching in the Big Bang timeslot.
Sifting through all the reruns were a couple of specials and debuts. Here’s how all it all played out across Canada in prime time among adults 2+ the week of March 12 to 18 according to overnight estimates:

MONDAY

The Voice opened at 8 for CTV with 1,467,000 viewers. Smash went up for a third week in a row to 1,058,000 overnight viewers.
Global’s House repeated to 707,000 at 8 o’clock. A rerun of NCIS: Los Angeles drew 825,000 leading into a robust repeat of Hawaii FIVE-0 (1,132,000).
It was all reruns at CTV Two starting with The Mentalist at 8 (388,000) followed by Two and a Half Men (583,000), Mike & Molly (620,000) and Castle (266,000).
City opened Canada’s Got Talent (483,000) followed by How I Met Your Mother (486,000) and 2 Broke Girls (719,000). Alcatraz drew 652,000 at 10.
A new Mr. D drew 685,000 CBC viewers, with Little Mosque at 443,000 and the Dragon’s Den spin-off The Big Decision pulling 706,000.
Montreal and Boston drew 589,000 NHL fans to TSN; San Jose and Edmonton scored 495,000 for TSN’s late game. Score pinned 452,000 with WWE Raw. A SpongeBob marathon peaked at 429,000 viewers at YTV, helping Mr. Young premiere to a robust 289,000 at 6 p.m. Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All drew 282,000 at Discovery. Midsomer Murders killed on TVO (249,000).

TUESDAY

On a night of broadcast repeats, Sportsnet soared with Hometeam Hockey, scoring 2,040,000 nationally. The big draw, as usual, was a Leafs game on Sportsnet Ontario (1,054,000) with the Canucks tapping in another 542,000 on Sportsnet Pacific.
Global managed to pull 1,384,000 in with a rerun of NCIS. NCIS: Los Angeles followed with 1,300,000. Wipeout did 495,000 at 10.
Whitney began CTV’s night with 1,073,000 viewers. Hot in Cleveland drew 1,041,000. The River swelled to 738,000. Unforgettable ended CTV’s night with 981,000.
The Rick Mercer Report repeated to 661,000 viewers. 22 Minutes followed with 597,000. Arctic Air soared in its season finale, rising to 963,000 overnight, estimated viewers.
City started low with a rerun of Last Man Standing (247,000) but bounced up with new episodes of Cougar Town (434,000) and New Girl (603,000). Raising Hope (228,000) and Body of Proof (792,000) followed.
CTV Two went with a rerun of The Mentalist (235,000) followed by Whitney (140,000) and then the premiere of the new NBC talent search-slash-infomercial Fashion Star (345,000).
Toronto/Florida drew 746,000 hockey fans to Sportsnet Ontario. TSN scored 473,000 for a Sharks/Flames game. Discovery had another bonanza with Gold Rush Alaska (627,000). A new Pawn Stars was back after a long hiatus on History and fetched 497,000 overnight viewers.

Colton aims for his next victim on Survivor One World
WEDNESDAY                         
Survivor One World stayed on top of the overnights with 2,415,000 viewers. Are You There Chelsea? (314,000), I Hate My Teenage Daughter (237,000) and Kitchen Nightmares (303,000) followed on Global.
A two hour American Idol drew 2,163,000 CTV viewers. A new CSI followed with 2,345,000.
CTV Two led with America’s Top Model (137,000), took a big jump with Criminal Minds (1,291,000) and settled back down with The Mentalist (340,000).
For the tenth consecutive week, Republic of Doyle topped the million mark overnight with 1,044,000 viewers. Dragon’s Den led the way on CBC with 1,424,000.
City stuck with The Middle (350,000), Suburgatory (401,000), Modern Family (785,000) and Happy Endings (509,000). Revenge For Real drew 243,000 at 10.
TSN scored 664,000 for a Montreal/Ottawa game. Sportsnet Pacific drew 590,000 for a Canucks/Phoenix game.
Back-to-back episodes of American Restoration drew 449,000 and 426,000 on History. IRT: Deadliest Roads drove off with 419,000 and Swamp People did 429,000. Kung Fu Panda chopped away at 422,000 on YTV. Four Weddings Canada did 129,000 at 10 p.m. on Slice. The premiere of Monster Man did 127,000 on Space.
King sunk to a new low on Showcase, drawing 64,000.
                                                                                 
THURSDAY                                                           

The Big Bang Theory was Missing at CTV—literally. CBS shelved the comedy this week so CTV substituted the new Ashley Judd drama Missing, which premiered to 2,436,000. This allowed CTV to boast it had the season’s strongest debut. Missing from the release was the fact the new series was about 1.2 million off what Big Bang usually draws Thursdays at 8.
CTV`s night continued with Grey’s Anatomy (2,150,000) and Law & Order SVU (1,011,000).
American Idol (1,211,000) slipped a bit week-to-week on CTV Two. Two episodes of Up All Night (257,000, 305,000) followed. Criminal Minds did 284,000 at 10. CTV Two opened the night at 7 with Vampire Diaries (259,000).
The Exes opened meekly for Global at 8 (238,000). The Office (237,000) is probably toast. Kiefer Sutherland’s new series Touch drew 926,000 Global overnight viewers. Awake was up over the week before at 733,000.
City saw 425,000 race back for the mid-season start of Community. 30 Rock rolled to 379,000. ). Person of Interest (381,000) had to be a rerun. Private Practice was back and did 506,000.
TSN2 has a Pittsburgh/Rangers game (547,000). Undercover Boss Canada stayed strong on W, hiring another 556,000 at 9 p.m.

FRIDAY

No Marketplace this week, with CBC going with a Friday night hockey game between Ottawa and Montreal (851,000).
CTV shook things up with Shark Tank at 8 (1,063,000) followed by the usual Grimm at 9 (716,000) and a rerun of Blue Bloods (1,127,000).
Global slotted in a 16: Bigger Picture at 8 (368,000) followed by Harry’s Law (9230) and Ringer (382,000).
CTV Two’s big draw was Dateline (379,000).
City took the night off with no new Fringe and nothing drawing over 150,000.
Ratatouille was seen by an estimated 440,000 on Family.
TSN drew 684,000 with a Brier playoff match. An iCarly marathon topped out at 534,000 at YTV. A Flames game scored 373,000 on Sportnet West. Star Wars Clone Wars had 311,000 glued at Teletoon. WWE Smackdown drew 268,000 on Score.

SATURDAY          

Hockey Night in Canada scored 2,101,000 with the early game and 1,1123,000 with the late featuring the Canucks.
Women’s curling drew 573,000 on TSN.
Buried Saturday at 8 and airing six days after its NBC broadcast, a two hour Celebrity Apprentice dipped to 279,000 Global viewers. Trump should say to Global, “You’re fired!”
Saturday Night Live dropped down to 332,000 viewers for a repeat. Merlin did 257,000 on Space.

Walton Goggins and Timothy Oliphant of Justified
SUNDAY            

Once Upon a Time (1,254,000) was solid at 7 for CTV. After all these seasons, The Amazing Race (2,443,000) remains the show to beat in Canada on Sundays. Desperate Housewives did 1,733,000 at 9. The new prime time soap GCB (1,065,000) seems to have found its level.
Same with Canada’s Got Talent, which drew 829,000 and 981,000 back-to-back on City. Another lame Lethal Weapon movie tumbled City’s cross Canada take down to 46,000.
Global opened with The Simpsons (955,000) followed by Bob’s Burgers (518,000), Family Guy (755,000), American Dad (546,000), The Good Wife (677,000) and The West Block (149,000).
The two hour finale of Canada’s Smartest Person was seen by 656,000 dummies on CBC. Heartland galloped off with 834,000 at 7.
The big draw over at CTV Two was CSI Miami at 10 (654,000). W5 did 262,000 at 7.
Discovery saw 618,000 tune in at 8 p.m. for the two hour season premiere of Frozen Planet.
Lost Girl was found by 264,000 at 9, outgunning the Showcase premiere of Justified at 10 (199,000).
Women’s curling drew 708,000 to TSN for a tilt between Canada and China. Lost Girl was found by 185,000 at 9 on Showcase.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recap: Urkel aces Dancing with the Stars

Maksim Chmerkovskiy takes Melissa Gilbert a long way from Little House
Me recapping Dancing with the Stars?
I know, it's a bit like asking Bill Maher to say Mass. Still, I'll be doing just that every week over at thestar.com. You can find my recap of Monday night's two hour premiere here.
Now in its 14th edition, the ABC celebrity dance series is not the ratings magnet it once was. CTV--which has a hotter reality show it can simulcast, The Voice--has even bounced it over to CTV Two. When Urkel is your big draw, as he is in this edition, you are definitely running out of stars.
Jaleel White with dance partner Kym Johnson
Yet if I have to watch a celebrity talent show, I'll take one where the folks are at least trying. That's certainly the case with Battle of the Blades as well as this show. 
The 14 contestants on Monday nights DWTS all put in a solid effort and judge Len Goodman and host Tom Bergeron both said it was the best opener to the series yet. 
That's another reason I check in on DWTS. The three judges--Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli--are knowledgeable, entertaining and totally themselves. All three are so different you want to hear from all of them, unlike on some talent shows where the comments all sound the same.
Based on first impressions, Latin hunk William Levy, Disney kid Roshon Fegen, Family Matters nerd Jaleel White and British classical music diva Katherine Jenkins are the four to beat, but even the oldest contestant, 67-year-old Gladys Knight, was impressive.
I interviewed Fegen a few times when he was among the Disney kids camped out in Toronto and Muskoka shooting those Camp Rock TV-movies. Nice kid, full of spark and energy and part of a showbiz family. Look for him to go far.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

TONIGHT: Justified premieres on Showcase


Justified's Timothy Oliphant: giddy-yup
Justified premieres Sunday night at 10 p.m. on Showcase.
The compelling drama, which began on FX in 2010, was already available in Canada but on Super Channel, a premium pay service.
"I probably shouldn’t be saying this," Justified showrunner and executive producer Graham Yost told me at the January TCA press tour, "but my brother would subscribe to Super Channel in British Columbia the week before it started airing and cancel as soon as it ended.”
Viewers who have been enjoying Justified on Super Channel can go right on watching Season Three episodes there. Showcase is showing the very first episode and continuing with Season One this spring.
Inspired by a character created by author Elmore Leonard, the drama stars Timothy Oliphant as a brooding bounty hunter with a penchant for cowboy hats and an itchy trigger finger. The exposure on Showcase should allow more Canadians to see what all the fuss is about. Read more about Justified here at this article I wrote for The Canadian Press.
By the way, as at least one reader has pointed out, Season One of Justified can also be seen in Canada on Netflix.

Cinefest 32: Stooges crash the lost film party

Hey, knuckleheads: the Stooges are in for a big year
LIVERPOOL, N.Y.--Cinefest is probably the only place you'll hear an audience break into spontaneous applause at the mere mention of the names Wheeler & Woolsey.
That happened earlier this week when the generally forgotten comedy team from the '20s and '30s were glimpsed among  a series of "Song in the Dark" moments, one of the highlights of this year's Cinefest 32.
Saturday brought many more theatrical  gems to upstate New York, starting with nearly eight hours of mainly silent (with live musical accompaniment) 35mm films at the local Palace movie house. An early Stan Laurel short (1922's The Pest) was among the gems, as were a couple of very entertaining silent features starring Clara Bow (1927's Get Your Man) and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., (Mr. Fix-It, from 1918).
Eighty, ninety years after these films were made, the charisma these stars had still practically leaps off the screen. Another silent film, One a Minute (1921), demonstrated that less has changed over the last century than we sometimes think. The story was all about how franchise businesses can wipe out mom and pop operations. The jokes, including one extended courtroom gag where a Chinese witness gives a two minute answer which was translated into "yes," is still a sitcom staple.
Popular acts like the Marx Bros or Laurel & Hardy are seldom seen at Cinefest but there was a glimpse of the Three Stooges Saturday (the upcoming Farley brothers Stooge feature had to have been a factor). Surprise Surprise (1937) was a short theatrical ad featuring Curly, Larry and Moe promoting a toy movie projector kids could send away for after buying two boxes of Farina breakfast cereal. The bit of film was once thought lost.
The emphasis at Cinefest is more and more on film preservation and restoration, spotlighting  work being done in this area at the nearby George Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y. (not impacted, by the way, by Kodak's financial troubles), The Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress and New York University. The recent Best Picture Oscar win for The Artist is seen by many here as a catalyst toward renewed interest in preserving early film heritage.
Cinefest's George Read, a.k.a. Lafe McKee Jr.
For the first time ever, on Saturday evening, rare films were digitally projected. This sacrilege at a strictly 16mm and 35mm film festival was tolerated by buffs who otherwise could not have seen several delightful films Saturday night. A fully restored and tinted version of George Melies A Trip to the Moon (1902) was shown. A segment of this short film, which cost half a million dollars and took efforts in several countries to restore, was featured recently in Hugo. 
That  was followed by a delightful feature called His Captive Woman (1929) featuring the captivating Dorothy Mackaill as well as strong silent type Milton Sills. Ingeniously bridging the silent to talkie era, the courtroom scenes featured synchronized dialogue and the flashback scenes on a desert island were shot silent style. Considering the transitional year this was made there was nothing clunky about the camera work, especially during an underwater shark attack. The judge's decision at the end as shockingly just.
It had been over 80 years since an American audience had seen a sound print of Mamba. The 1930 adventure is the first all-talking, all-colour drama. Long considered lost, a technicolor print was discovered in 2009 Australia by film preservationist and historian Paul Brennan. The original sound discs were rounded up around the world and sent to sound specialist Jonas Nordin in Stockholm, who married the audio to the video. Both Brennan and Nordin were in the house and took a bow for their efforts.
By the way, a reel of Clara Bow's Get Your Man is still lost, so check your attics.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Community: TV's modern screwball comedy

A couple of screwballs: Danny Pudi and Chevy Chase of Community
What's an analogy? According to Britta on Community--which returned Thursday after a four month hiatus, "it's like a thought with another thought's hat on."
Wacky, right, maybe even--screwball? There is enough of a twisted thread of logic to that definition to make you get it, which is more or less this series in a nutshell.
I took time out from screening films from the '20s and '30s here in Syracuse, N.Y.--home of Cinefest 32--to watch and file a review of Thursday's episode of Community. You can find that review here at theStar.com.
I caught an early screwball comedy today at the festival, a 1930 Paramount rarity called Laughter (featuring a young Fredric March and Nancy Carroll). While watching that movie, something clicked about Community--it is a modern screwball comedy.
A basic definition of screwball is that it is a genre of comedy which is unconventional, goes in different directions and behaves in unexpected ways.
That's Community, by any definition. It is odd to think of a series crammed with meta comedy moments and pop culture references as the bastard step child of Bringing Up Baby or The Awful Truth but that's my theory and I'm sticking to it--at least until I can ask executive producer Mark Harmon if I'm stretching this hat with another hat on it a little too far.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This week's podcast: horses and Luck

This week, CHML's Scott Thompson wants to know why there are no pictures of me riding a horse while I was out in Calgary. I explain that's because I wasn't riding a horse. I was on the set of the Horses of McBride, an upcoming CTV Christmas movie starring Aidan Quinn and Kari Matchett. They weren't riding horses either, just snowmobiles. Hey, mild as it is, it is March in Calgary.
Speaking of horses, HBO announced Wednesday that they are shutting down production on Luck after a third horse died during production. The series, which was set at the Santa Anita racetrack in Arcadia, Calif., had already begun work on a second season. (It airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada.)
Luck was a critical hit but never a ratings grabber, with about 400,000 tuning in per episode on HBO in the States.
The racing scenes were amazing, putting you right in the middle as horses headed down to the wire. The series illustrated how easily thoroughbreds can get injured, with random shoes flying off and nicking other horses legs in the heat of a race. In a way, the series was a victim of exactly what writer David Milch had already observed. Luck is a fickle thing in television.
Luck enjoys a big name cast, including Nick Nolte (right), Dennis Farina, Dustin Hoffman and Jill Hennessy. John Ortiz is outstanding as a successful trainer. Richard Kind had his best role in years as a jockey agent. Milch and director Michael Mann say they want to try and do something else. Let's hope they have better luck with that.
None of this is discussed in the podcast with Scott. You can listen in here.

The Brioux Report: Big Bang wins another week

Canadians love shows about nerds who buy comic books
Last week in Canadian television saw its share of reruns and mid-season misfires. The Big Bang Theory was Canada’s most-watched show, with usual suspects Survivor, The Amazing Race and Hockey Night in Canada also crashing the Top-5. Canada’s Got Talent stayed strong at City, with Leaf games continuing to be major draw at both TSN and Sportsnet. CBC continues to get million-plus audiences for Republic of Doyle and Marketplace and even tricked a few people to tune in for The Genies.
Here’s how all it all played out across Canada in prime time among adults 2+ the week of March 5 to 11 according to overnight estimates:

MONDAY

The Voice opened at 8 for CTV with 1,657,000 viewers. Smash went up for the second week in a row, from 748,000 to 814,000 to 988,000 overnight viewers.
Global’s House repeated to 740,000 at 8 o’clock. A rerun of NCIS: Los Angeles drew 658,000 leading into a robust repeat of Hawaii FIVE-0 (1,278,000).
It was all reruns at CTV Two starting with The Mentalist at 8 (366,000) followed by Two and a Half Men (771,000), Mike & Molly (599,000) and Castle (428,000).
City ran back-to-back episodes of Alcatraz (810,000, 748,000) followed by reruns of How I Met Your Mother (273,000) and 2 Broke Girls (297,000).
A new Mr. D drew 629,000 CBC viewers, with Little Mosque at 479,000 and the finale of Redemption, Inc 672,000.
The Brier was the big attraction over at TSN, scoring 751,000 curling fans for the 8th draw. Score pinned 382,000 with WWE Raw. Canada’s Greatest Know-It-All was way up at Discovery at 337,000. Midsomer Murders killed on TVO (281,000).

TUESDAY

On a night of broadcast repeats, Sportsnet soared with Hometeam Hockey, scoring 2,040,000 nationally. The big draw, as usual, was a Leafs game on Sportsnet Ontario (1,054,000) with the Canucks tapping in another 542,000 on Sportsnet Pacific.
Global managed to pull 1,463,000 in with a rerun of NCIS. NCIS: Los Angeles followed with 1,162,000. Wipeout did 405,000 at 10.
Whitney resurfaced on CTV and 1,018 found her. Hot in Cleveland drew 946,000. The River drained to 637,000. Unforgettable ended CTV’s night with 1,117,000.
The Rick Mercer Report repeated to 564,000 viewers. 22 Minutes followed with 506,000. Arctic Air dipped to 658,000.
City started low with a rerun of Last Man Standing (298,000) but bounced up with new episodes of Cougar Town (445,000) and New Girl (733,000). Raising Hope (275,000) and Body of Proof (489,000) followed.
CTV Two slummed with a Fast & Furious movie (310,000) and another rerun of The Mentalist (279,000).
TSN’s top Brier take was 549,000 at 7:30 p.m. Discovery had another bonanza with Gold Rush Alaska (541,000).

Colton Cumbie plots who to stab in the back next on Survivor One World

WEDNESDAY                         
Survivor One World leapt up to the top of the night with a crazy episode where the men won the elimination challenge and still decided to go to tribal council. A robust 2,444,000 tuned in. Are You There Chelsea? (405,000), I Hate My Teenage Daughter (267,000) and Kitchen Nightmares (364,000) followed on Global.
A two hour American Idol drew 1,891,000 CTV viewers. CSI followed with 1,579,000.
Criminal Minds (561,000) and The Mentalist (341,000) repeated at CTV Two (627,000). A new season of America’s Top Model opened at 8 to 70,000.
For the eighth consecutive week, Republic of Doyle topped the million mark overnight with 1,066,000 viewers. Dragon’s Den led the way on CBC with 1,391,000.
City stuck with reruns of The Middle (150,000), Suburgatory (159,000), Modern Family (443,000) and Happy Endings (429,000). Revenge For Real drew 266,000 at 10.
Even as they’re losing, the Leafs keep winning, on TV at least. Toronto vs. Pittsburgh was a big draw (1,084,000) on TSN.
Back-to-back episodes of American Restoration drew 302,000 and 379,000 on History, where IRT: Deadliest Roads drove off with 289,000. Four Weddings Canada did 122,000 at 10 p.m. on Slice.
What’s going on with King? Drawing in the 200,000-300,000 range last season, it managed just 94,000 in the overnights for its second outing of the year. The show is, creatively, stronger than ever. Not enough promotion? New night and time needed?
                                                                                 
THURSDAY                                                           

CTV got twice the Big Bang for its buck with a new episode of The Big Bang Theory at 8 (3,648,000) followed by a repeat at 8:30 (2,687,000). Add in the 1,529,000 that watched the syndicated repeat at 7:30 and you get close to eight million viewers! CTV`s big night continued with back-to-back airings of The Mentalist (1,357,000, 1,877,000).
American Idol (1,269,000) slipped a bit week-to-week on CTV Two. Two episodes of Up All Night (208,000, 293,000) followed. The new drama GCB got tested on CTV Two, and did a mere 379,000.
The Exes opened meekly for Global at 8 (170,000). No new Rob, so The Office (237,000) sat in. The Finder followed with 1,054,000.  Awake was a snooze in its second week, dropping from 1,198,000 to 510,000 overnight viewers.
The Genie Awards, well-placed in the Nature of Things timeslot, managed to pull 378,000 at 8 p.m. on CBC. Doc Zone got the exact same (estimated) audience at 9.
City stuck with 30 Rock (261,000), Parks & Recreation (254,000) and Person of Interest (665,000). Another Murdoch Mysteries repeat ended City’s night with 129,000.
The Brier swept to 675,000 on TSN for Draw 17. A Canucks game scored 564,000 on Sportsnet Pacific.
Undercover Boss Canada stayed strong on W, hiring another 513,000 at 9 p.m.

FRIDAY

Marketplace topped a million for the sixth time this season with 1,029,000 tuning in to see “Tripped Up.” Mercer 2.0 did 547,000 with the fifth estate pulling 776,000 with “Time Bomb.”
CTV did well again with Undercover Boss at 8 (1,297,000). Things got Grimm at 9 (996,000) followed by another strong Blue Bloods (1,721,000).
Global took 235,000 Behind the Scene at ET Canada. The Office slid at 8:30 (134,000) followed by Harry’s Law (709,000).Ringer drew 282,000 at 10.
Who’d You Think You Are (384,000) began City’s night, but no new Fringe saw 9 p.m. go to another Murdoch Mysteries repeat (175,000). Mantracker found 148,000 at 10.
Shark Tank drew 514,000 on CTV Two, followed by Nikita (85,000) and Dateline (349,000).
TSN drew 684,000 with a Brier playoff match. SpongeBob soaked up 348,000 on YTV. WWE Smackdown drew 236,000 on Score.

SATURDAY          

Hockey Night in Canada had another big night, with 2,223,000 catching the first game with Leafs/Philly in the mix, and another 1,131,000 sticking around for Montreal and Vancouver at 10:05.
The Brier semi-final drew 768,000 on TSN.
Buried Saturday at 8 and airing six days after its NBC broadcast, a two hour Celebrity Apprentice dipped to 365,000 Global viewers. Global has also surrendered The Firm (393,000) to Saturdays.
Saturday Night Live dropped down to 340,000 viewers for a repeat. Merlin did 253,000 on Space.


SUNDAY            

The Amazing Race got CTV’s Sunday off to a fast start with 2,442,000 viewers. Once Upon a Time at 7 did 1,512,000; Desperate Housewives did 1,446,000 at 9. The new prime time soap GCB dropped from 1,266,000 to 1,098,000 in its second week.
City continues to soar Sundays with Canada’s Got Talent, which drew 953,000 and 1,124,000 overnight viewers back-to-back. A Lethal Weapon movie tumbled City’s cross Canada take down to 35,000.
Global opened with The Simpsons (987,000) followed by the second season premiere of Bob’s Burgers (520,000). Family Guy (825,000), American Dad (681,000), The Good Wife (698,000) and The West Block (98,000) did the usual.
The Wrath of Grapes: part two of The Don Cherry Story, improved slightly week-to-week with 762,000 viewers. Heartland galloped off with 842,000 at 7.
The big draw over at CTV Two was CSI Miami at 10 (858,000).
The Brier final scored 1,136,000 at 8 p.m. on TSN. A Toronto/Washington game drew 555,000 on Sportsnet Ontario. Lost Girl was found by 185,000 at 9 on Showcase.