CBC sacrifices 18 to Life to Death Star

A moment of silence, please, for Little Mosque, 18 to Life and Village on a Diet. CBC’s worst nightmare came true as the Canadian juniors will square off against the United States tonight in a semi-final rematch of last year’s final of the World Junior Hockey Championships.
Last year’s junior hockey final was the Death Star of Canadian TV, sucking a record 5.4 million viewers over to TSN. CBC stubbornly rolled the dice and threw the return of tonight’s two comedies plus their new weight loss reality series down a deep sink hole along with all the marketing dollars that went into full colour ads in this morning’s Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and other newspapers.
Little Mosque–which nosedived last season in the ratings–and 18 to Life will not break the Brampton barrier in the overnight, estimated ratings numbers. They will be lucky to come near the low 300,000s that Men with Brooms drew Monday nights this fall on CBC. They needed a soft landing, not this bruising slam headfirst into the boards.

The cast of 18 to Life: catch them next week

In television, as in life, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression so burying your season premieres against a killer timeslot opponent is never a smart move. If CBC programmers were counting on a free pass in terms of counter programming they again have their heads down. Besides the semi-final hockey tilt, tonight also marks the season premiere of The Bachelor on City as well as the return of the most popular show on MuchMusic last season, Pretty Little Liars.
Starting at 9, Village on a Diet might at least get some viewers to flip over after the game as long as it doesn’t run into overtime. The 10-part series finds six health and fitness experts traveling to Taylor, B.C. in an effort to motivate the tubby townsfolk into shedding one ton of fat. Read more at this story I wrote in today’s Toronto Star.
At least, for anyone in the media wanting to give 18 to Life or Village some love, CBC has finally restored access to photos and press releases at their on-line Media Centre. The site was inaccessible all fall. I thought I was just blocked for running photos of Erica all red and/or upside down as her ratings continued to plummet but, no, colleagues I spoke with at major newspapers across Canada had the same problem.
Calls to the CBC’s outsourced promotion company failed to lift the photo fog or to even provide clues as to what was up. Offers were made to retrieve photos on an individual basis but media sites are there to provide the speed and choice needed in a digital media world. Imagine any other network in North America taking new shows to market and then not providing access to an active media centre–all fall. If that had happened at Fox for 15 seconds, heads would roll. Sorry, 22 Minutes, Erica, Ron James. If you survive, we’ll try and get some photos up next year. I think if I was producing any of those shows, I’d be taking my next pitch to another network.

One Response to “CBC sacrifices 18 to Life to Death Star”

  1. From someone who enjoyed the first and third seasons of Little Mosque, I think it was intentionally put against ‘Death Star’ for this year’s start. It is CBC’s ready made excuse. (No TSN) that was a weak – where’s any money for a ex-character or two or three cameo – execution of what should have been one of the series’ grandest episodes. As disappointing as the final shrunken cast year of According to Jim.

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