Olympic push pays off for Hiccups, Dan

The latest shows from the Corner Gas gang are off to strong starts, bolstered by aggressive Olympics pre-promotion.

Olympics magic has rubbed off on new CTV comedies Hiccups and Dan for Mayor.

Buoyed by mega-promotion in prime time during the Vancouver Winter Games, the half-hour comedies debuted Monday to 1.9 million viewers each during the 8-9 p.m. slot. CTV says they were the most-watched premieres of any scripted Canadian series this season. (All numbers 2+ and based on PPM data.)

Hiccups and Dan bested the first hour of the finale of The Bachelor on Citytv, which delivered 1.3 million viewers, while the comedies also aired opposite a repeat of Global stalwart House, also with 1.3 million.

Hiccups stars former Corner Gas front man Brent Butt (also series creator and exec producer) and wife Nancy Robertson, while Dan features Gas‘ Fred Ewanuick. The first episode of Gas debuted back in 2004 to 1.1 million viewers, pre-PPM ratings.

Reviews for both series were generally positive, though TV critics appear to favor Dan over Hiccups, at least where the first episode is concerned.

The ensemble comedy is ‘sharp right from the get-go,’ writes the Globe and Mail‘s John Doyle of Dan, adding that it retains the cunning wit of Gas, while Hiccups’ weakness is that it isn’t ‘off-hand and dippy enough.’

Dan is ‘immediately more about the ensemble than Hiccups and for my money gets off to the stronger start,’ concurs Bill Brioux on his TV Feeds My Family blog.

An encore of the debut episodes airs Saturday on The Comedy Network.

Also looking to benefit from promotion during the Olympics is new cop drama The Bridge, with a two-hour premiere set for Friday at 9 p.m.

From Playback Daily