Mosque and Gas finales ratings winners

CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie ended its first run on a high note, nabbing more than 1.1 million viewers for the season finale. And Gas signed off with an old-fashioned cliffhanger ending.

Though a far cry from its much-hyped premiere – which exploded on Jan. 9 with nearly 2.2 million viewers – CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie had a strong first-season finish. It nabbed more than 1.1 million viewers for the season finale entitled ‘Playing with Fire’ on March 7, despite airing opposite CTV reality juggernaut American Idol.

Mosque, depicting the goings on in a Muslim community in fictional Mercy, SK, has become a rare recent success for a CBC scripted series, averaging 1.2 million viewers over its eight-episode run. ‘We are delighted with the response from viewers, who tune in weekly and write and e-mail us with their comments,’ said CBC programming boss Kirstine Layfield in a release.

The Ceeb has yet to officially greenlight a second season, though Mosque producers recently hired writers Paul Mather and Rob Sheridan away from CTV’s Corner Gas. A CBC spokesperson would disclose only that ‘discussions are ongoing.’

Meanwhile, CTV’s Corner Gas aired its highly anticipated season finale on Monday, with guest stars including Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The finale drew a season-high two million viewers, the most successful season-ender to date and the second largest audience ever. In the 8-8:30 pm time slot, the episode beat Global’s House by 40%. Gas finished its 19-episode run with an average audience of 1.52 million viewers.

Ending tongue-in-cheek speculation, CTV has also confirmed a full 19-episode production order for a fifth season of the series – which has emerged as Canada’s number-one comedy show, Canadian or American, for four consecutive years since its launch in January 2004. Production crews are now gearing up for a May 2007 return to their Saskatchewan-based sets and soundstages.

A version of this story first appeared in Playback Daily.