People seemed pretty darn pleased with the new CBC National News at Tuesday’s Winter Launch but have they looked at the numbers? Monday’s news score: CTV National News at 11 1,253,000, Global National at 5:30 1,114,000, CBC National at 10 479,000, 10:25 449,000.
Still, don’t look for CBC to move the newscast out of that hopeless 10 p.m. timeslot any time soon. As one programming exec said to me yesterday, CBC has the same problem NBC has right now. Where (especially in this economy) are they going to come up with five hours of new programming at 10? Moving The Hour up to 10 doesn’t seem to make much sense; George’s gabfest is not exactly over performing at 11 and would not provide much of a lead-in for an 11 p.m. newscast. The Jay Leno Show experiment has become a cautionary example.
I still say buy a few American shows and use them strategically to boost Canadian originals on CBC’s schedule. Imagine 24–which any given season boasts more Canadian actors per episode than shot-in-Toronto Flashpoint–leading into The Border? Or Glee–with four Canucks among the regulars–setting up Erica?
This won’t happen, either. Those squirrelly “friends” of Canadian broadcasting would burst into flames. There would be a Royal commission. Canadian geese would change direction.
Yet that’s exactly what happened when CBC had Dallas, Golden Girls, Newhart, Murder, She Wrote and other big American hits on their schedule, providing solid lead ins to The Beachcombers, Street Legal and even The Nature of Things. As the CBC slogan from 25 years ago suggested, “Look Again”:

Maybe that’s what might solve Canada’s broadcasting crisis–more American content on the public network and less on the private broadcasters. You probably won’t see anyone else advocating this, but look it up–it worked for decades.
OTHER MONDAY NUMBERS: Global’s House did 2,911,000 according to BBM Canada’s overnight estimates. CTV’s CSI: Miami 2,308,000. CTV’s Dancing with the Stars performance finale 2,270,000. Global’s Lie to Me 1,838,000. A channel’s top draw, Two and a Half Men 1,134,000 followed by an exploding Big Bang Theory at 1,078,000.
Without a Battle of the Blades results show, CBC’s biggest Monday show was Jeopardy! at what is 1,002,000. City’s How I Met Your Mother led all their shows at 848,000. Discovery steered another 739,000 toward Canada’s Worst Driver. Sportsnet scored 685,000 frustrated Leaf fans.
Way down the list, Little Mosque did 511,000, an encore of Ron James (in place of Blades) did 467,000. Just Four Laughs tickled 443,000.


  1. Can it be worse than what we’ve got now? Let CBC platform their Canadian shows, bring eyeballs to stuff like The Border and Erica. It worked like crazy in the ’70s and ’80s when there was way more scripted, Canadian-produced television.

  2. I think if the CBC wants to pick up American shows, it should prioritize picking up American shows produced/filmed in Canada.

    These shows are keeping Canadian actors and crewmembers employed – They must do more for the Canadian economy then home grown shows like Wild Roses, which got cancelled after a short season.

    Imagine if a great show like Battlestar Galactica or the mediocre new V were on the CBC? It makes more sense to pick these shows up than American shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, or European shows like Dr. Who. Just like you, I think they’d boost the numbers of Canadian created shows – I’m sure The Border would have more watcher at 9 after V’s million odd viewers.

    I’d also like to know how the new Showcase Canadian show Crash and Burn doing?

  3. I’ll endorse the CBC picks up only US shows produced in Canada idea. Good examples. (Although what happens when our dollar is worth more than the US greenback and they all leave?)
    Crash & Burn did just that, premiering to just 51,000 last Wednesday night on Showcase. Curiously, it drew 56,000 earlier at 5 p.m. Compare that to an old rerun of Outer Limits at 4 p.m.–243,000.

  4. Interesting issue, and as usual you bring up relevant info.
    I was especially intrigued by the cost factor being brought up.
    Something to contemplate further.
    So, Bill, ever have a chance to compare the audience numbers between CTV NewsNet and the CBC News Network?

    Despite all the recent successes at the CBC, there still a public perception I believe that the CBC is falling far short of its potential.

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