CTV scored respectacle if not spectacular ratings with Friday’s premiere of Spectacle: Elvis Costello With… The hour-long music/interview series drew 861,000 Total CTV viewers Friday, a mere three thousand more than it registered on the BBM NMR overnight estimate “commercial” score.
That was good enough to win the 10 p.m. time period and 40% better than what CTV was pulling there with its U.S. cable drama pickup, Raising The Bar. Another 59,000 caught Elvis Saturday at 8 on Bravo!, which a few thousand more counted in Sunday’s Bravo! repeat.
The series, which was sparked by Winnipeg-native Stephen Warden, did not lack for star power or promotion. Costello’s first guest was Elton John, a co-producer of the series. While John`s passion for the music business and his early influences came across, the conversation lacked urgency and excitement, with John droning on about how he got his name (again) and other familiar stories. Might have been better to shoot this like a reality show with the viewer along as a dinner guest in some restaurant. The stage presentation seemed to take away the intimacy of what should have been a chance to eavesdrop on two music icons.
For all his knowledge and curiosity about the music scene, Costello seemed to hold back with John. That low key approach is better than a lot of forced chatter but it still seemed to me at least like some of the good stories were left at the bar or in the green room.
Perhaps Costello will grow into the role and get more relaxed as the series continues. Next Friday, he’ll try to arrest The Police. Lou Reed, jazzy wife Diana Krall and former president Bill Clinton are among his future guests.
Spectacle benefited from a solid lead in–Flashpoint, which delivered 1.35 million Total CTV viewers. Ghost Whisperer at 8 drew 993,000 “commercial” viewers, with the CTV National News at 11 pulling 987,000 “commercial” and likely over a million Total.
Jeopardy! ended a big week with 1,152,000 CBC viewers at 7:30 Friday. The Rick Mercer Report drew 551,000, astounding considering it is a repeat airing in a second window. Few comedies or dramas could pull that trick. (CTV`s repeat of the ER finale Saturday night, for example, did 357,000.) Marketplace (674,000) and the Fifth Estate (542,000) helped CBC to a strong second place showing on the night.
Global finished third nationally on Friday with Howie Do It (355,000) followed by Dollhouse (384,000) and Numb3rs (633,000).
Some Saturday numbers: playoff fever is building on CBC`s Hockey Night in Canada (1,209,000 and 1,039,000 for Games One and Two). Just 133,000 stumbled on Global`s Genie Awards Saturday night, about half the audience who stayed up till 11:30 to watch Saturday Night Live (267,000).

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