Flashpoint usurps Thursday slot; Mad Men arrive early

CTV and CBS are looking to build on the action series' early success, knocking Swingtown out of synch on Global. In other programming news, Mad Men is set to simulcast with AMC.

CTV and CBS have moved Flashpoint to Thursdays, looking to build on its impressive early numbers in the 10 pm slot. A spokesperson for CBS says the Canadian-made cop drama is doing well down south, and the network wants to ‘see if it can do better with a larger circulation.’

The move to Thursdays at 10 pm will put Flashpoint on after reality hit So You Think You Can Dance? on CTV and CSI on CBS. It will face Swingtown on Global, which has been knocked out of simulcast by CBS, taking over on Friday at 10 pm, where Flashpoint arrived with a big splash two weeks ago.

Flashpoint premiered to 1.1 million on CTV and over eight million on CBS. Though ratings dipped for its second ep on July 18, the action series won the night again on both broadcasters (all numbers 2+). In the US, Flashpoint will be up against ABC’s medical drama Hopkins and NBC’s reality Fear Itself.

‘Thursday night is a much better night than Friday any time of the year, and particularly in the summer,’ says media buyer Michael Walker, of the Oakville, Ont.-based Walker Media Group. ‘People are [more likely to] sit on their decks on a Friday or Saturday night,’ he says, adding that the 10 pm slot also plays in Flashpoint‘s favour.

The slot ‘has never suffered nearly the audience erosion in the summer that earlier time slots do,’ he notes. ‘It is actually the point at which people drift back inside and turn on the TV sets.’

Swingtown is averaging 543,000 viewers on Global. Walker reckons the 1970s-set drama won’t take a big bite out of the Toronto-shot cop show’s audience. ‘Swingtown skews slightly younger, while Flashpoint, though gritty, is a cop show and cop shows tend to skew older.’

The real test for will come in the fall, as the last four Flashpoints air during an onslaught of new eps from established shows. The series will finish its 13-episode season around the first week of October.

‘[CBS] will be taking the long view on it… the more people they can get starting to get interested in the show in the summer, the better. It builds word of mouth,’ Walker concludes, calling the show’s summer run ‘product sampling. The fall is where the money is, so no decisions will be made over Flashpoint‘s summer performance.’

Meanwhile, CTV is moving Law and Order: CI to Fridays to fill in for Flashpoint. CTV has announced that the second season of the critically acclaimed series Mad Men will premiere Sunday, July 27 on A, in simulcast with US broadcaster AMC. The show was originally set to premiere on A in the fall, but a press release from CTV says the buzz surrounding the show has prompted an earlier season-two launch in Canada. Episodes from season two will also be available online at ctv.ca following the broadcast.

From Playback Daily