Numbers are in for how the CBC shows have fared over the first ten weeks of 2008 and the Rick Mercer Report stands at the top of the list, both in total households and in the 25-54-year-old demographic, CBC’s targeted demo.
Between Jan. 7 through March 16, the Rick Mercer Report (which featured Anne Murray last night) averaged 889,000 total viewers, followed by Little Mosque on the Prairie at a 835,000 a week average. The Week The Women Went, CBC’s just concluded new reality series, scored 754,000 on average. That was followed by Air Farce Live, still a player after 15 seasons with 657,000 weekly viewers across Canada. (All numbers are BBM/NMR estimates based on average minute audience.)
Of note is that the Friday repeat of Mercer came in at fifth on the list, just nudging past This Hour Has 22 Minutes (648,000) but also beating out all those CBC rookies, including The Border (621,000), Heartland (572,000) and Sophie (541,000). Just Four Laughs hung in with 434,000 total viewers per week.
Well back were two shows given the axe, jPod (300,000) and MVP (289,000).
MVP also skidded into the boards in the 25-54 demo, averaging just 138,000 viewers. The producers were claiming that the show should have been saved because it was drawing younger viewers to the network. Not really, and besides, half of nothing is still nothing.
Heartland, too, scored poorly in the demo count, sinking even lower than MVP with 110,000 weekly viewers 25-54. That may be because the Sunday family hour series scores better among tweens and teens.
Here is the complete 25-54 list from the first ten weeks of 2008:
2 WEEK WOMEN WENT, 358,000
3 LITTLE MOSQUE, 337,000
4 RICK MERCER Friday repeat, 288,000
6 AIR FARCE LIVE, 254,000
7 THE BORDER, 239,000
8 SOPHIE, 196,000
9 JUST FOR LAUGHS, 189,000
10 JPOD, 171,000
11 MVP, 138,000
12 HEARTLAND, 110,000
The Border, for those still keeping score, drew 595,000 viewers this Monday, a bit below average. That CBC special with comedian Ron James pulled 677,000 the same night. Both were up against the premiere of another season of Dancing With the Stars on CTV, which danced off with 1,898,000 viewers. Compare Canadian to Canadian, though, and CBC looks good against CTV’s Degrassi, down to 314,000 viewers, and bad compared to Corner Gas, which scored 1,134,000 out of that strong Dancing lead in.
Other recent numbers: jPod drew 232,000 last Friday on a night both Air Farce and the Rick Mercer repeat both topped 700,000. Still, jPod did better than a couple of Canadian shows thrown away on the weekend by the private networks. CTV’s Whistler scored 214,000 on Saturday, where Global’s Painkiller Jane managed a painfully low 109,000.


  1. Hey Bill, are you bein subversive here? Because I’ll tell ya, I got a smile from the idea of “Just Four Laughs.”

    Too true. Too true.

    And from the “all numbers not created equal” department — even though I don’t really ever watch it, I think trying to claim 25-54 for Heartland is indeed a miss. CBC once owned that family hour on Sunday and it was a shame that they ever gave it up. It seems like the people watching that show like it, and if it’s more tweens/teens and older people than adults, so what?

    Part of CBC does still have to be mandate driven. Those Heartland numbers seem like a good start to reclaim a time that was once a real CBC strength.

    And considering that except for the canceled shows, everything scored better than the last raft of shows CBC had on air, slow and steady progress aint the worse thing.

    Though of course the Hallelujah Choros of the Anonymous Apocalypse will doubtless disagree.

    And nice for Mercer too. He does a good show.

  2. Just Four Laughs. Damn I wish I was that smart. I hate it when my best stuff is a typo. I’m leaving it up, though and calling it that from now on.
    Heartland is bringing families back to CBC on Sunday nights, a great step in the right direction. Hats off to CBC for their best 10 weeks in years, a solid turnaround in a year when everybody else shed viewers like crazy.

  3. Do Canadian’s under 35 realize there’s something called a CBC?…and what horrible numbers, hardly worth a loonie let alone a billion.

    Hallelujah and Amen Bro.,

  4. bill brioux 4:38 PM

    “hats off to CBC for their best 10 weeks in years”

    There was a time, not so long ago, when productions were cancelled for having less than 800,000 viewers. The numbers for Air Farce used to be close to 2 million – now they get less than a third of that.

    Pretending that Dick Stursberg is doing a terrific job is disingenuous. The CBC is in rapid decline and they have no relevance to Canadian culture. Their programming, which they do not produce or pay for, is watched by an infinitesimal percentage of Canadians – and even those numbers are suspect. BBM counts channel surfers as audience if they linger for a minute and the CBC fudges those numbers with repeats – because their ad revenues have dropped so sharply for the last number of years they have manipulated the ratings.

    Suggesting that the CBC is experiencing some sort of renaissance is BS. Tell us about the “numbers” for the Hour, Chris and Steve, Hockeyville, the One, Gill Deacon, Fashion File – even HNIC is down by a third – the National is down from what it was a few years ago…

    The CBC is a billion dollar bureaucracy that does nothing and your credibility suffers by suggesting otherwise. You are not a TV critic Bill, you’re a CBC propagandist – I just hope they’re paying you.

  5. anonymous 7:55
    i like the gut of your jib. can we get together and make out?

  6. a cbcer warbles…”i like the gut of your jib. can we get together and make out?”

    I don’t know anything about anyone’s gut and/or jib but I do know it’s sad when a cbcer is reduced to impersonating an anonymous troll.

    lovingly yours,

  7. You have to put the numbers in context. Current CBC management predictably compare their performance to the very worst of their predecessors. The earlier poster who pointed out that “Heartland” cannot be held to the same demographic test as the other shows is correct, it was built for family and has done exactly what was asked of it. Mercer’s numbers aren’t just good, they are historical highs. Mosque seems to have stabilized. The worrisome thing about The Border and Sophie are not their mediocre averages but that they have been tending downward. That Whistler is still on the air is only more proof that the privates don’t care, they are only programming the minimum because they have to.

  8. I’m not sure that’s entirely fair either. “management compares to the worst of the numbers.” I mean. The reality is that when you take the averages, and look at the spread of the last, canceled bunch of dramas from CBC — Wonderland, Davinci’s City Hall, the other one I’m forgetting — they were all quite lower than this new crop — with the exception of the two canceled shows.

    It’s not so much Border and Sophie are trending lower in that they see saw and haven’t settled yet. Sophie was remarkably consistent for weeks and weeks and then dropped. Border’s been up and down and up and down with volatility in the 25-54 numbers too. The question is, does CBC see potential for growth?

    You get all kinds of idiots quoting the numbers back and forth, ignoring things like how much the whole TV landscape was off, year to year comparisons, etc.

    It’s remarkable that Mercer has strengthened in its — what — fifth? sixth? year — but I’d argue that’s because that show really focused and found its brand. You’ll notice the getting out there and doing stuff with people segments are way more prominent than any of the comedy/satire bits– because that’s what the audience responds to. Also, and here’s what’s helping Sophie too — people just like Mercer. Just like a lot of Canadians really like Brent Butt.

    One other note about Whistler, and this actually circles back to CBC and their recent sure-handed decision making. Once a show’s got CTF money, they have to show it. So if you want to critique CTV it’s maybe for greenlighting another season of Whistler. Once it’s in the can, unlike in the USA where they just take massive writeoffs, you have to show it.

    Yet another reason why CBC being brutal and not committing to seasons they don’t think have legs is actually good decisionmaking.

    Yup, the sophomore year jury is still out. These new shows could crash and burn, or they could pull what Mosque did. Nobody talks about Mosque — but it’s funny how the same gleeful trolls that trumpeted Mosque’s fall decline got quieter and quieter through the winter as those numbers rose ever more steadily as people found their way back to it. It’s not Corner Gas numbers yet, but it’s CBC’s second highest rated show – with room to grow even more.

    Far more interesting to me anyway is the first data from the US that seems to indicate that people are slow to come back to TV. In 1988, 10% of the TV audience never returned after that Writers Strike? What will the legacy of this one be? Stay tuned. (Or not, which is the whole problem I guess.)

  9. Other category: maybe I’m better off not reading of the numbers for City’s Murdoch Mysteries – which I like;)
    It’s a shame The Border doesn’t also have a weekly replay anywhere – especially for those of us without ‘timeshift’ continental satellite service; Mondays have been overloaded with both Cdn & U.S. series for the past few years. Like Corner Gas & RMR I can always keep up with Murdoch, if missed, on the weekends.

  10. I was setting my PVR and noticed the Border is starting rebroadcasts on Country Canada.

  11. I actually watch Whistler and I think it would’ve gotten better numbers, had it gotten a better timeslot. Its first season aired during the summer and bounced around the schedule from week to week. It premiered at the end of June–a horrible time to premiere a show. Then this past year it was stuck in the Saturday night timeslot. Horrid.

    I was shocked when Global actually gave The Guard a good timeslot on Tuesdays, and it did good. That goes to show you that Cancon dramas can do well–when they aren’t stuck on Friday or Saturday nights.

    I was perplexed to see that the demos given here were for the 25 to 54 bracket. Aren’t the numbers usually given 18 to 54? I’m 24 so I can’t figure out why the numbers were made like this–why cut it off at 25? The nets usually take a heavy interest in the 18 to 24 demo.

    CBC is doing fantastic. Slowly they’re getting eyeballs back to their channel. It’s the snowball effect that’s needed–people who are watching CBC will see promos for other shows so may check out those too. Slowly but surely the numbers can build back up to what they were before the ill-fated 1999 budget cuts. It won’t be overnight but having this many shows getting 500,000 plus viewers on average is a big success story. Next year, maybe let’s set the bar at 750,000.

    Who here thinks the anonymous posters are all the same person?

  12. Nope ladycanuck, we’re different people, trust me…umm a bit of a “nosey parker” but since we’re speculating here are your parents trade unionists?

    yours faithfully,

  13. anon 8:32
    why do you keep teasing?
    let’s get together and fuck.
    i’ll call you stephen harper, you call me w. we can come together.

  14. You have to use lube this time.
    and no poo play.
    i’m saving that for the man i leave my loveless marriage for.

    Shamefully yours,

  15. Heh, a cbcer(I got nuthin’) upchucks an insane profane rant…what?…you expect something else from these people?

    kind regards,

  16. anon 10:06,
    my dear frank,

    stop being so coy. you know you want it. why do you keep leaving me messages here? you know how I like to read between (your) lines.

    i’ll even be the girl next time if you want. please can we read conrad black together. i ache for you.

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