Canadian Idol breaks 3M ceiling

One out of every ten Canadians tuned in to the two-hour finale of Canadian Idol on Sept. 16, watching as CTV scored one of the biggest ratings wins in this country’s history, drawing numbers worthy of high-budget U.S. shows and pushing aside the previous ratings champ Road to Avonlea.

Oh yes, and people also seemed to like Ryan Malcolm’s singing.

The final count from Nielsen Media Research shows an average audience of 3.01 million, peaking to 3.6 million in the closing 30 minutes of the gala episode, during which the 23-year-old Kingston native sang his way to a win over his East Coast rival Gary Beals. Overall, the 15-week, 26-ep series averaged 2.06 million viewers, besting Avonlea’s 1.97 million in 1989/90.

‘What began as an exciting TV series quickly became a pan-Canadian pop-culture phenomenon,’ says Susanne Boyce, CTV president of programming.

The official bragging rights are that Idol was ‘the highest-rated English-language, Canadian-produced series since the advent of electronic measurement,’ which came along in the late ’80s. To compare with a major sporting event, the most recent Grey Cup drew 3.73 million viewers.

The series ran hour-long performances on Mondays, beginning June 9, and started voting people off on Tuesdays four weeks later, starting with 30-minute eps and later expanding to a full hour. Tuesday trailed the Monday ratings until the final three weeks.

The series, adapted from a British model, played well for advertisers too. A Canadian Idol line of clothing is available at Wal-Mart and L’Oreal used Idol hopefuls in a recent ad campaign. BMG will release Malcolm’s CD single Something More on Sept 30.

Idol was produced by Insight Productions, Newfoundland’s Rink Rat Productions and Aquila Productions in Alberta, working from formatting rights bought from FremantleMedia and 19TV.

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