CBC scores with Blades, Hockey Night

Ice-related shows were the ratings MVPs, with Battle of the Blades earning points for the second-highest debut on the net, while Hockey Night in Canada doubled opening-game viewers over last year.

CBC had reason to celebrate last week with strong opening ratings for its new Battle of the Blades reality series and the opening game of Hockey Night in Canada.

The network debuted a number of fresh and returning fall series last week, but it was Blades that eclipsed all the debs with an eye-popping 1.9 million viewers for its premiere on Sunday.

The number is the second-highest for a CBC series premiere since Little Mosque on the Prairie netted two million viewers back in 2007. Audiences for the 90-minute episode of Blades at 8 p.m. peaked at 2.4 million. (All numbers 2+.)

The show pairs former NHL players such as Tie Domi and Claude Lemieux with prominent female figure skaters like Barbara Underhill, as they perform routines for judges. Each week, one team is eliminated on a results show that airs Mondays at 8 p.m. The show had a solid lead-in from family drama Heartland, which premiered to a series-high one million viewers at 7 p.m.

In real hockey action, the National Hockey League returned with a bang on CBC, where numbers soared for the first games of the 2009/10 season. The marquee match between the Toronto Maple Leafs and rival Montreal Canadiens kicked off Hockey Night in Canada coverage with a whopping 2.5 million viewers on Thursday. The numbers are miles ahead of last year’s first game of the season which averaged one million viewers – though it featured the Leafs in a less-compelling matchup against the Detroit Red Wings. (All numbers 2+.)

The second game of the night, featuring the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, nabbed 1.3 million viewers on CBC. That’s a significant increase over last year’s second game between the same two teams which averaged 726,000 viewers.

In other CBC debuts last week, The Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes returned with 1.3 million and 774,000 viewers respectively on Sept. 29. Both series are up from last year, likely helped by BBM’s new audience measurement system, the Portable People Meter.

Numbers are also significantly up for Dragon’s Den, which debuted with 1.3 million viewers on Sept. 30 at 8 p.m., versus 700,000 for its premiere last year. Meanwhile, the aging Little Mosque continues its downward spiral, managing only 504,000 viewers for its fourth season premiere on Sept. 28 at 8:30 p.m. Despite PPMs, the numbers are down from last year’s debut of 603,000. It remains to be seen if the results show for Blades, which began airing Monday, will boost Mosque’s numbers for episode two.


from Playback Daily