It’s going to be a long summer for Canadian network programmers. The summer switch off seems to be in full force despite plenty of programming. Nobody seems too jazzed about the reality poop being hurled at the screens.

A look at the June 9-15 Nielsen/BBM Ratings tells the tale. As predicted in my Toronto Star story two weeks back, the summer thrill has gone out of Canadian Idol, down to 15th place in Toronto with just 209,000 viewers, with a still respectable 1.37 watching across Canada. New reality imports are off the radar, with only CTV’s Million Dollar Password having any impact, pulling in 1.3 million nationally and 253,000 in Toronto. CBC’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria auditions cracked the national Top 30 at No. 26 with 590,000 viewers. The 2008 MMVA’s did well in Toronto, bringing 225,000 viewers to MuchMusic last Sunday, good enough for 14th place overall in the city. Three episodes of CBC’s Coronation Street cracked the Toronto Top 30, with fans flocking back now that NHL playoffs have stopped screwing around with their favorite show. City-TV has the No. 3 show in Toronto with Hell’s Kitchen, scoring 331,000 viewers.
Still, the highest rated show in Toronto that week (So You Think You Can Dance, at 386,000 viewers) scored about half the audience you would need to top the T.O. ratings in February or March. The exodus is on.
Global, by the way, had only three shows in the Toronto Top 30 the week of June 9-15–reruns of Bones, NCIS and House.


  1. I hate to say it, Bill, but without context those numbers (except for Idol, where the context is stated) are as bad as the usual drabble you get here from the Anonymouse Idiot Chorus.

    Historically, what’s a good number for any of the CanNets in the summer?

    Are they off from last year? Are they off from what’s doing down south?

    I hear a number like 600+ for Maria and I have no idea what that means. And though that might not mean anything to them Internet sages who squeeze every piece of data to prognosticate on a wall of bullshit, to us punters — it’s a wash.

    Cool or no, personally, I’m all about July 27th and Mad Men. Though I’ll probably be PVRing Flashpoint too.

    But when you report those numbers in a few weeks — what will it mean?

    What is a summer number?

  2. Today’s post was meant only as an early summer observation, many big guns still to come, but numbers are down year to year, in Canada and the States, and down sharply in Toronto.
    Canadian Idol, for example, is down about 300,000 to 400,000 from June 2007. What jumps out to me in the big picture is how many Jeopardy/Coronation Street/local news entries there are in the national and Toronto Top-30. This suggests there are about 60 hours of prime time summer fare on the three main Canadian nets that just ain’t making a dent. For Global to have only three entries–all reruns–suggests all those new summer shows they bought and announced are just not breaking through at all. Those shows include Durham County, Swingtown, even Burn Up, the two parter with Neve Campbell that aired during the sample week. CTV’s premier of Mad Men also failed to place.
    None seem like summer fare to me and maybe that is the problem, they are not being scheduled with any sensitivity to the season, but even the stupid summer crap shows are doing nothing for Global so far this summer.

  3. Burn-Up did about a 430,000 the first night and something like a 350,000 the second night. Durham County suffers the same fate as Dexter on CBS – they are not network shows. They do well for their cable niche markets, the market for which they were created.

    In terms of the numbers for “Maria” – at that 600,000 level, it is performing as well as Canadian drama that aired during the winter.

    It will be interesting to see what “Flashpoint” does in July and August. Will viewers be starved for something original or be too busy to care?

  4. dmc 4:55 PM

    “I hear a number like 600+ for Maria and I have no idea what that means.”

    Actually, BBM ratings for the week of June the 9’th has calculated the avg. per minute audience for Maria at just under 590,000 viewers which puts it in the 26’th position for the week, which means that Canadians aren’t tuning into the CBC – but we’ve all known that for some time.

    It’s also worth noting that the only other “Canadian” production” in the top thirty for the week of June 9’th was Canadian Idol – which hardly qualifies as a “Canadian production” – it’s like a franchise opportunity.

    Without the simulcast of American television productions there’d be nothing to watch – not that anyone is watching as evidenced by the historically low ratings published by BBM.

    How much do Canadian taxpayers spend on culture each year? Over $7.5 billion? For Canadian Idol and Maria? Wow, even state funded culture in Venezuela attracts proportionately higher numbers.

  5. And the Aria comes in from the cheap seats…

    Deborah, what will be interesting for sure is to see if Maria holds to that reality pattern and builds in a few weeks. That’s often the pattern with those things — but is it the pattern in the summer?

    It’s a relevant question because everybody talks about this move to the “year round season” but there never really seems to be a lesson that catches on year to year.

    Way back in the late 80’s, 90210 really only caught on in 2nd season — which they boldly premiered in the summer.

    My feeling — and this is not based on data — I’d love to see some — is that in the summer there’s less sampling of broadcast fare — and probably more surfing of the cable channels (which is why all the cable channels do well premiering their series in the summer.) I think that the sampling load is lighter…people have room to add one series or two, but most of the time they’d rather be doing other things. I was surprised by the 600 for Maria. But then again, that intergenerational kind of show might be CBC’s best hope to build up those numbers. Can’t dump the oldsters til the newbies come back.

    And, you know, you can’t count on the massive viewer shift represented by the two or three people strong who post here making the same complaint about the corpse over and over and over and over…

    Maybe we’ll be lucky and the Mouse Chorus will sing “Edelweiss?”

  6. dmc 1:09 PM

    “I think the sampling load is lighter”

    That sounds so, technical.
    I didn’t realize that television could be so, intricate.

    And the “count on the massive viewer shift”, which is more like a disappearing audience, is confirmed through a steep and perilous decline in ratings.

    Quite simply, you can’t find an audience for liberal propaganda and you never will – and besides, Canadian TV just isn’t very good now is it.

  7. Once again, state funded television is nothing more than a job creation scam for the lazy, useless communists that use it to propogate their dangerous agenda.

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