90210 A Global Triumph

This time of year is a blur, what with all the new shows and film fests and what nots, but a bit of catch up is in order.

First: 90210.

PVR’d it, thought it was okay, thought the Canadian kids shone (although Dustin Milligan was perhaps playing it a bit too cool), thought the Kelly/Brenda nicey-nice sit down was a bore. The drunken granny from Arrested Development (the splendid Jessica Walter) stole every scene. Nice to see Linda Gray from Dallas still has the chops. Those two old broads should get their own show.

My son, 15, wondered why all the Barbie clones. “Does anyone go to this school who is not a supermodel?” he asked. Expect that is not a concern for the target audience.

Global has to be thrilled with their overnights. The show scored 1.3 million viewers nationally in Canada, winning the night and beating the second-last episode of Canadian Idol on CTV. Trounced it, in fact, in Toronto, especially in the demo, beating it 414,000 to 93,000 among 18-49-year-old viewers. 90210 also beat Idol by three-to-one and four-to-one margins in Vancouver and Calgary.

The CW is claiming a big victory in the States, and while it was a good night by their standards, let’s hold off on that party at the Peach Pit. 90210 drew a total average audience of 4.91 million stateside. They did much better in the demo, winning the two-hour timeslot among 18-49-year olds (all figures Nielsen Media Research).

According to numbers dude Marc Berman at Mediaweek, 90210 also premiered 34% ahead of the return of Gossip Girls the day before on The CW. OMFG!!

That’s where it opened (after a ton of hype). Will it build? Will it hold? How will it do when the competition stiffens on the other networks? The good news for the CW is that it at least got sampled. But look for at least Jason Priestley or Tori Spelling to show up by the November sweeps.

Had a tour of the set of The Border yesterday. Those lucky bastards are ensconced in what was an old ferry dock at the foot of Cherry Street, right out in Lake Ontario (don’t try nosing around there, okay, the place is locked down tighter than a real border crossing). It is jarring to see sailboards gliding outside the windows in a steel and glass studio setting made to look like an anti-terrorist ops centre. Everything is tranquil and summery outside, battle ready inside.

Must be why everybody seems so darn friendly on the set. Mark Wilson (“Moose” Lepinsky) had his best Hawaiian shirt on; hard to tell if he was in costume. Gemini-nominated James McGowan (customs security squad boss Mike Kessler) was definitely out of character in a black Led Zeppelin T. Fellow nominee Catherine Disher was dishing on her teen’s arty high school.

The cast and crew were wrapping up work on episode seven of season two yesterday. Grace Park, joining the show from Battlestar Galactica, has already begun shooting scenes. The Border returns to CBC Sept. 29.

Touched on a few of these things, plus a nod to my pal Murtz Jaffer’s new TVTropolis series Reality Obsessed, in this week’s radio chit chat with CHML’s Scott Thompson. You can listen in here. Jaffer’s show premiered last night and airs Mondays and Wednesdays, or Sundays and Saturdays, or, hell, I can’t figure out TVTropolis’s schedule, it seems to be programmed by manatees.

Anyway, Jaffer had his usual low key launch party at the Spoke Club last night. (The Canadian Film Centre was hosting their own little pre-TIFF shindig right next door, where Peter Raymont–executive producer of The Border and CFC alumni–was a guest.) Jaffer was accompanied into the joint by the aptly named GotAss girls, soon to have their own cheeky reality series. The girls must have known it was a zillion degrees in the suite and came apropriately attired. Also in the house was Survivor and Amazing Race headliner “Boston” Rob Mariano, still apparently hitched to his million-dollar sweetie, Amber. Ah, TV love.

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