Intelligence faces uncertain future

Media buyers remain upbeat about Chris Haddock's beleaguered series, which closed its second season in the mid-200s - though word from the Intelligence set says there won't be a third.

CBC insists it hasn’t yet made a decision about Intelligence, and media buyers remain upbeat about Chris Haddock’s beleaguered series, despite its weakening ratings. But word from the set is that there won’t be a third season of the series.

The crime drama ended its second season with a two-hour finale this month and, according to CBC, attracted an average of 263,000 eyeballs this year, down from 312,000 in 2006/07. The season peaked at 327,000 and drew 315,000 to the closer.

‘It’s definitely at the low end of our prime-time performers,’ says CBC spokesman Jeff Keay. ‘The first season’s numbers were relatively low too, but those who loved it, loved it a lot, and so we brought it back for another season on a new night.’ He adds that it is not yet known if the series will be brought back. ‘We haven’t made a decision yet. That will happen in February.’

However, a source close to the project and the production company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says Haddock’s company has notified staff not to expect their contracts to be renewed for season three. The staff believes the series has been dropped.

Neither Chris Haddock, who is working on a possible US version of the show for Fox, nor anyone from Haddock Entertainment was available for comment.

The series debuted Tuesdays at 9 pm, and lost opposite House, then moved this year to the same time on Mondays. But the switch didn’t make a difference, and Haddock has recently been at war with the Ceeb in the news media, claiming the net was sabotaging the series by not promoting it. CBC answered that it has a limited promotional budget, and many other shows to push.

Ad buyers, however, still see value in Intelligence. ‘I would buy it. It’s a good quality property,’ says Hugh Dow, president of M2 Universal in Toronto, though ‘it depends on the price. At the end of the day, key factors are the price it’s being sold at and the demographic it’s attracting. It may not have a large audience, but I look at [the series] as a niche market.’

Florence Ng, VP broadcast investments at ZenithOptimedia, concurs. ‘The numbers are low, but it can be a function of a number of things. Promotion plays a part, yes and no. If the show isn’t good, if it doesn’t appeal to an audience, all the promotion you do won’t make a difference,’ she says. ‘The longevity of a program is not a function of audience. CBC has a time slot to offer, it does not rely on US suppliers. I do not think they will replace or pull a show based on the numbers.’

‘We look at four key factors when assessing a show: the public value of the program in our role as public broadcaster, audience size, revenues, and cost,’ says Keay.

Regardless of the Ceeb’s decision, says another Intelligence staffer who also declined to be named, ‘we know that this is a quality, marketable show.’

From Playback Daily