CBC reality show taps social media to ramp up interest

New season of The Week the Women Went hopes to repeat last year's ratings success.

Rural Canada’s relentless grip on traditional gender roles is exposed again – in the Maritimes this time – as CBC’s reality TV show The Week the Women Went premieres its second season on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at 8 pm.

This season the show invades Tatamagouche, NS, a town of 700 that sees the mass exodus of 167 wives, mothers, sisters and daughters, leaving the men to deal with the chaos that ensues. CBC is conducting on-air promotion of the show, and grassroots initiatives like posting blogs for the communities are also in the works. The eight-episode, one-hour series is narrated by Canadian actor Art Hindle.

The first season was filmed in Hardisty, Alta, and it enjoyed sky-high ratings as 929,000 viewers tuned in for the Feb. 18 episode alone, watching dads struggle with household chores, child-rearing duties and the fine balance of juggling a family/work schedule.

‘The numbers show that urban viewers relate to it,’ says Cal Shumiatcher, executive producer of the show. ‘It may be true that gender roles are more clearly pronounced in smaller centres…but I think men and women in large cities also see themselves in these characters. That’s what’s nice about it – it’s universal,’ he tells MiC.

With a broad target demographic of young families and adults 25 to 54, Schumiatcher thinks the show would be perfect for branded content, which it hasn’t ventured into yet. ‘It’s a great opportunity, because it’s a family-oriented show,’ he says. And the anticipation for the new season is already brewing. ‘We’ve heard from Nova Scotia Tourism that their Tatamagouche site, which normally gets a couple of dozen hits a week, is getting hundreds of hits a day,’ Schumiatcher says.