Viewership spikes for HBO Canada talk shows

New seasons of Real Time with Bill Maher and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver are seeing record numbers on the Bell Media channel.
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A new U.S. president that makes headlines 140 characters at a time has led to a big jump in ratings for the latest season of talk shows on HBO Canada.

According to final Numeris numbers provided by Bell Media, the season four premiere of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Feb. 12 at 11 p.m. was watched by an average audience of 403,000 viewers, which is double the average audience of the season three premiere. Last Week Tonight airs against network news on the CBC, City, CTV, CTV Two and Global in its Sunday night timeslot.

Real Time with Bill Maher is also up, with the first four weeks of season 15 of the show jumping by 73% over season 14. New episodes of that talk show air Friday nights at 10 p.m. on HBO Canada. The show airs opposite repeats of Two Broke Girls on City, The National on CBC, Blue Bloods on CTV, repeats of Mike and Molly on CTV Two and Undercover Boss Canada on Global in its Friday night slot.

HBO isn’t the only one benefiting from Canadians’ curiosity about the new American president. Saturday Night Live has also been riding a high ratings wave, posting its most-watched episode since 2004 on Global earlier this month when Alec Baldwin hosted on Feb. 11. That episode, which featured Baldwin playing Trump and Melissa McCarthy as White House press secretary Sean Spicer, was watched by an average audience of 1.7 million viewers.

Canadians tuning in to the U.S. election also impacted fall ratings, with viewership to American cable channels up through the 15-week period, but especially through the week of the election where they jumped 34%.