Being Erica: how low can she go?

The full colour ad in yesterday’s Toronto Star showed Erica at the corner of Hope and 2nd Chance Streets. But how many second chances does one series get?
Tuesday, Being Erica sunk to an overnight, estimated 362,000 viewers. Across Canada. Lone Star country.
Yes, it’s a tough timeslot. Dancing with the Stars is huge Tuesday nights on CTV–over 2.1 million viewers tuned in last night according to overnight estimates. Over at Global, NCIS: Los Angeles arrested 1,867,000 viewers.
Still, CBC’s Rick Mercer Report approached a million against almighty Glee (just under 2 million) and super-powered No Ordinary Family (close to 1.8 million) at 8. 22 Minutes clocked in at 673,000 at 8:30.
Every night is tough and other CBC shows manage to crack a million this season despite heavy competition from at least three other networks. City averaged almost half a million Tuesday night from a two hour Biggest Loser opposite Erica, but there was no triple whammy from /A channel last night, no big sports draw on TSN.
If you break it down it just gets worse. Over 60% of Erica‘s modest audience is 50+. Young women–the audience the show should be connecting with–are just not into her.
Viewers have watched this series try to find itself into a third season and have moved on. Each week is like watching another pilot. Characters come and go, families, boyfriends and workplaces keep changing. It can’t decide if its a comedy or drama. The character is supposed to jump back and forth in time, not the people making this show.
Erica started with such promise but all the early inspiration seems to have been lost or misplaced. Erica to me has always been a half hour show squeezed into an hour-long timeslot. It used to take 40 minutes to get to the good part, now there’s no good part.
Maybe it would never have found a mass audience. Being Erica at its best (the first season) reminded me a bit of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, a smarter show from the late ’80s that never really broke through on NBC. About a women struggling to make it in Manhattan (played by Blair Brown from Fringe), it was always a cable show trapped in a network timeslot.
I don’t think Erica’s future would be any brighter on specialty. I think CBC should take the substantial marketing budget they spend on all those Erica radio and print spots and start spreading some of the love over to 22 Minutes, Ron James and other better-rated and worthier properties. The corner of Hope and 2nd Chance seems to be leading to a dead end.

5 Responses to “Being Erica: how low can she go?”

  1. Young women are watching – at least my friends and I are, but we are students without TVs and we watch online!

    I really love this show, and it’s the only TV show I watch. She’s finally someone a bit like me, a bit like my friends, and the writing is intelligent and it actually reflects the Canada that I live in. I hope this gem continues to survive!

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  2. I can’t watch it in the United States but seem to catch it online. I watch every week faithfully but it will be here in January. Maybe Soapnet could take it over if the CBC doesn’t want to anymore.

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  3. I entirely disagree with you. I live in the United States and am forced to watch this show online. If CBC made this show available online for Americans and Canadiens, they would get way more viewers. Not to mention, the fact that I am 22, a young woman, and all the people I know who watch it are also young women as well. Your statement about 50+ women being the only women watching the show seems entirely false.

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  4. I agree with most of these comments. I am in the United States also and love this show but only get to watch on Hulu as I don’t get home at a decent hour to watch it on the only station in the US to carry this show, soapnet. I don’t watch a lot of TV but if this show goes off the air I am going to be so frustrated. I think it is an interesting show that makes me think, please tell me one person that doesn’t have a regret in their life that they can learn from and I think this makes you think about them in a good way.

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