CBC axes jPod, MVP, Intelligence

The series failed to draw 'mass audience' despite a record-breaking season, says CBC. jPod producer blames lack of promotion by network.

Despite scoring what it says were record-breaking ratings in 2007/08, CBC has cancelled jPod, MVP and Intelligence.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the network boasts it broke viewership records this season, garnering a 7.9 prime-time share, its highest in six years. Rookie series jPod and MVP have not made the cut for next season, however, nor has Chris Haddock’s struggling crime drama.

‘It’s unfortunate; it’s never easy making these decisions,’ said CBC spokesman Jeff Keay. ‘jPod had considerable critical success, and we loved the show, but it was unable to sustain the critical mass audience. It’s the same thing with Intelligence.’

MVP and jPod traded places on the schedule last month in a bid to prop up their failing ratings. The hockey soap had sunk to 51,000 viewers in its third week, down from a debut of 208,000. It moved to Tuesdays against American Idol, but the strategy didn’t work.

jPod producer Larry Sugar of Vancouver’s No Equal Entertainment says the series was doomed from the get-go. ‘The marketing was non-existent. They didn’t advertise or promote the show.’ The series was based on the novel by Douglas Coupland about the subculture of Vancouver’s videogame industry. ‘Douglas Coupland is a Canadian icon,’ adds Sugar. ‘How many writers of his calibre and stature have ever written for TV in Canada?’

‘I do not agree,’ responds Keay. ‘There’s never been a producer born that thinks they get enough promotion. We put considerable resources into promoting jPod, we also launched a website to promote it online. But the reality is that we have limited resources to go around.’

Intelligence ended after a two-year run. Creator Chris Haddock predicted this last year, and has also slammed what he says was a lack of promotion by CBC.

Among the returning shows are The Border, Heartland and Sophie, which was picked up by ABC Family. The second season of The Tudors, which will start later this month on Showtime in the US, is due in 2008/09. Also returning to CBC are Little Mosque on the Prairie (pictured), The Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Air Farce Live and comedy programming including Just For Laughs.

Realities Dragon’s Den, Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister and Triple Sensation are also coming back, though the CBC statement made no mention of No Opportunity Wasted or The Week the Women Went.

From Playback Daily