Englishman weathers Oprah

Despite tough competition from Oprah's Big Give, the two-part CBC miniseries held its own, beating recent minis including St. Urbain's Horseman and CTV's Would Be Kings.

Old Hollywood paid off for CBC, which saw sound numbers for its miniseries The Englishman’s Boy, despite a strong rival in Oprah’s Big Give, which premiered on CTV on the same night.

Based on the award-winning novel by Guy Vanderhaeghe, Englishman aired Sunday, March 2 to a strong 805,000 viewers at 8 pm, dipping to 562,000 the following week for an average audience of 684,000. Englishman bested audiences of other recent homegrown minis, including St. Urbain’s Horseman (306,000), Above and Beyond (464,000) and CTV’s Would Be Kings (445,000). (All ratings 2+.)

Englishman aired in part opposite CTV’s new one-hour reality series Oprah’s Big Give, which scored 1.7 million viewers for its first ep, down to 1.2 million the following week. Big Give, on which people are given cash and compete to give it away, was also down 25% from its premiere in the US, where it airs on ABC.

Meanwhile, CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie saw its second season come to an end on March 5, with the season finale generating 881,000 viewers. The comedy, recently renewed by the pubcaster, averaged a slightly lower 822,000 this season compared to last year, when more than one million viewers tuned in for its inaugural run.

On CTV, the return of the quirky, Vancouver-set comedy Robson Arms got a big boost when the net scheduled episodes one and two of its third season at 9:30 pm, following reality powerhouse American Idol. Robson Arms debuted Feb. 26 with 706,000 viewers, down to 510,000 the following night. By comparison, the show drew 333,000 viewers for its second season premiere on a Saturday last year. Robson settled into its regular 8:30 pm time slot on Monday after Corner Gas.

CanWest’s E! network debuted its own homegrown sitcom, About a Girl, on Sunday, March 2 at 7:30 pm to 26,000 viewers in Ontario and 4,000 in BC. Those numbers dropped significantly the following week to 19,000 and 400, respectively. The series follows a college sophomore who decides to move in with four male roommates.

From Playback Daily