Phil King on Big Bang’s three-year renewal

The CTV programming president on the show's popularity and plans to boost other Canadian programming using its powerful lead-in capabilities.
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Canada’s most-viewed program, The Big Bang Theory has been picked up for three more seasons, giving CTV more opportunities to launch Canadian programming following the laugher’s 8 p.m. Thursday night time slot. So far original airings of the program have brought in an average audience of 4.4 million viewers for the fall of 2013.

The Big Bang Theory, which targets adults aged 18 to 54 most recently kicked-off the new Dave Foley-starring PR comedy Spun Out, which premiered following Big Bang and is being brought back to the 8:30 p.m. slot for the final two weeks of March. Spun Out‘s premiere brought in an average of 1.4 million viewers for its debut and dropped to 802,000 the following night for its regular time slot on Friday. On average, Bell Media representatives say that shows following Big Bang keep 50% of its lead-in audience.

Phil King, president of programming and sports at CTV, tells MiC that Big Bang‘s massive weekly audience has enabled the Bell Media channel to host a string of Canadian programming like Saving Hope in the 9 p.m. slot and Motive at 10 p.m. that night because of the large lead-in it gets from the CBS laugher. He adds that he would like to use the time slot following Big Bang to launch other Canadian programming in the years ahead, with rumours that its typical time slot pairing Two and a Half Men might only get a half season next fall.

King adds that it isn’t often that a channel gets a show with the reach of Big Bang across audience segments, adding other examples typically fall in the reality segment.

“The show is clever without going over the top with sexual innuendos like a lot of shows do these days, which make it uncomfortable for parents to watch with their kids,” he says. “It is a show that has a wide audience. People who were 10-years-old when the show started are 17 now and almost entering the sales demo.”