CBC premieres hold their own

For the most part, last week was a good-news story for CBC.

Last week, CBC premiered nearly all of its fall shows amid heavy competition, yet managed to come out with strong numbers for comedies like The Rick Mercer Report and the period drama The Tudors (pictured).

But the week didn’t start off well, as the return of Chris Haddock’s Intelligence debuted to a soft 221,000 viewers (2+) on Monday, Oct. 1. Intelligence airs in the 9 pm time slot opposite Global’s Heroes and CTV’s Dancing with the Stars and Corner Gas. The Vancouver-set crime drama averaged 304,000 viewers last season. Intelligence was preceded by the returning reality show Dragon’s Den, which netted a satisfactory 389,000 viewers, up from 219,000 for its premiere last fall, despite airing opposite Prison Break on Global and the first hour of Stars on CTV.

The picture looked rosier on Tuesday, as comedy staples The Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes scored 993,000 and 774,000 viewers, respectively, beginning at 8 pm. Mercer’s fifth season premiere featured a guest spot by embattled media mogul Conrad Black.

The comedies, which both increased their audiences from last season, provided a strong lead-in for The Tudors, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a young Henry VIII. It nabbed a strong 957,000 viewers out of the gate at 9 pm, despite facing stiff competition from Global’s House, which pulled in 2.7 million viewers.

‘We are very excited about our Tuesday night lineup,’ says CBC programming head Kirstine Layfield. ‘Canadians love Rick Mercer and the viewer response to The Tudors confirms it is one of the hottest shows this fall.’

Homegrown comedy Little Mosque on the Prairie kicked off Wednesday on CBC with 750,000 viewers at 8 pm, down from last season’s much-hyped premiere, which scored two million viewers. The show averaged 1.2 million viewers for its inaugural run.

The new reality show No Opportunity Wasted, from Amazing Race host Phil Keoghan, followed Mosque with a respectable 450,000 viewers for its premiere at 8:30 pm. CBC stalwart news magazine the fifth estate garnered 518,000 viewers at 9 pm opposite CTV’s Criminal Minds and Global’s Bones.

From Playback Daily