Sluggish start for new Canwest shows

Arrivals of Life on Mars, Ex List and others fall short of the bar set by 90210 and Knight Rider. And Degrassi numbers take a hit on CTV.

Canwest has seen fewer bright spots on its schedule this month than last, following the debuts of Life on Mars, My Own Worst Enemy and others that did not return the same promising numbers as Knight Rider and 90210.

The more recent series debuts all fell short of 600,000 viewers, with the critically well-received remake Life on Mars in the lead with 591,000 following its Oct. 9 debut on Global. The cop series had the best premiere this season on Global since 90210, despite facing stiff competition from the final-season debut of ER on CTV with 1.9 million viewers. (All numbers 2+ unless otherwise noted.)

The numbers sink from there, with the Christian Slater-starrer My Own Worst Enemy and dramedy The Ex List premiering to 525,000 and 452,000 viewers, respectively. Enemy did well in the key 18-49 demographic, however, grabbing nearly 400,000 viewers. Over on E!, Kath and Kim struggled on Oct. 9 with an overall audience of 223,000. The comedy did relatively better in the U.S. on NBC with 7.5 million viewers, according to Variety.

Canwest’s strongest premieres came last month on E! from Knight Rider with 970,000 and the comedy Worst Week at 455,000. Meanwhile, bright spots on CTV and A schedules so far this fall are newbies So You Think You Can Dance Canada and Fringe, respectively.

The new series may yet make gains, though shows such as Cane, Journeyman and Back to You all debuted to stronger numbers last year on Canwest outlets and failed to make it back for a second season.

In the meantime, Global still holds four shows in the top 20 (Oct. 6-12), thanks to the still-reliable Survivor, House, Bones and Heroes, followed by CBC with game one of Hockey Night in Canada and The Rick Mercer Report. CTV holds the other 14 spots.

Global is readying the 15-ep second season of homegrown drama The Guard, premiering Oct. 29 with strong Thursday night lead-ins from Bones and NCIS. The Vancouver-shot series has sold to more than 30 territories including France, Hungary and South Africa.

Over on CTV, the sixth and final season of Corner Gas debuted Thanksgiving Monday to 1.1 million viewers, down slightly from the 1.2 million that tuned in last year. The night also saw a strong showing from comedy Two and a Half Men on sister channel A, where it delivered a record one million viewers.

The season-nine premiere of CSI — in which lead character Warrick Brown is found murdered — was a popular choice on the dial on Thursday, grabbing 3.1 million viewers, making it the highest debut overall of the fall season.

Things aren’t looking as good for CTV’s teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, as its season-eight premiere garnered just 398,000 viewers on Oct. 5, slipping to 220,000 for the second episode. This is down from a season average last year of 420,000.

From Playback Daily