Cancon drives CBC to second place

Remember when Avis challenged Hertz in car rentals by saying, ‘We’re second. So we try harder’?

Well Kirstine Stewart, EVP of CBC’s English services also knows the limitations of her business, pitting a public broadcaster against market leader CTV and its American-heavy prime-time schedule.

‘We are in second place and that is the most we can ever dream of or hope for,’ Stewart told Playback Daily on Wednesday as she unveiled the CBC’s fall 2011 schedule.

Her network’s consistent ratings for homegrown shows like Rick Mercer Report and Dragons’ Den has allowed the CBC to vault over Global Television and Citytv in the Canadian broadcast league table, according to BBM Canada data.

Still, Stewart knows the laws of diminishing returns when it comes to matching CTV’s American Idol with CBC’s Battle of the Blades, or Desperate Housewives with Heartland.

“At some point we aren’t going to compete with the American blockbusters, but the fact that we have the Canadian programming we have and that it beats the American shows is a vote of confidence for the makers of Canadian programming that people are actually watching it,” she argued.

New to the CBC this fall is the sitcom Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays,  to air Wednesdays at 9 p.m., to be followed by the TV version of The Debaters, which originated on CBC Radio.

The CBC is also airing Starz’s Camelot, from the creative team that brought the pubcaster The Tudors, on Tuesdays at 9 p.m., and the music competition series Cover Me Canada will run Sunday nights at 9 p.m.

The CBC is also airing two episodes of Coronation Street nightly from 6:30 p.m. to help Canadians catch up on the British soap, a move that sends Wheel of Fortune from 7 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

And returning CBC series this fall includes Heartland, InSecurity, The Republic of Doyle, Being Erica, Rick Mercer Report, The Nature of Things and Doc Zone.

From PlayBack Daily.