|Crazed buzz boy at Yellowknife site of Ice Pilots NWT|
Hats off to History Television. After a nudge or two from this corner, they announced today they are moving the Season Two premiere of their top domestic series, Ice Pilots NWT–along with the premiere of their new Ice Road Truckers spinoff–back a week from Jan. 5 to Jan. 12. The week delay avoids sending Ice Pilots on a kamikaze mission straight into the buzz saw that is the World Junior Hockey Championships.
It is no exaggeration to suggest that the WJHC has become the Death Star in Canadian television, drawing more viewers than even the Stanley Cup finals.The tourney begins right after Christmas with the final–likely a highly anticipated rematch between Canada and the U.S.A.–scheduled to air the evening of Jan. 5 on TSN.
Last year, an astounding 5.3 million Canadians watched the U.S. defeat Canada. The semi-final game, between Canada and Switzerland, drew over 3.2 million. The year before that, the final was clocked at nearly 3.7 million–back before PPMs–bodychecking the launch of Being Erica into the ice.
With their strong appeal to male viewers, Ice Pilots and new series IRT: Deadliest Roads would have taken a significant hit opposite hockey, especially if Canada is in the finals. Those shows would have been history, instead of airing on History.
CBC also blinked earlier this month when it wisely yanked the return of their Newfoundland cop caper Republic of Doyle out of the black hole that will be Jan. 5. Some other new CBC shows have not been so lucky so far. The second year comedy 18 to Life returns Jan. 3, the night of the semi-final. The same night, the new CBC reality series Village on a Diet premieres. Could be a crash diet.
Maybe the network sees those shows as suitable counter programs and maybe they are. I`m not sure how comforted I`d be with that argument, however, if I was producing them.
Besides, there are other counter programming options that night, including the 15th season premiere of The Bachelor on City. January, in general, is shaping up as one of the most hotly competitive months of television in memory.