Giant proves pretty big for CBC

CBC scored an average of 827,500 viewers with its 2 x 120 Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, its best rating for a miniseries since the pubcaster's 2005 lockout.

CBC scored an average of 827,500 viewers with its 2 x 120 Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story, its best rating for a miniseries since the pubcaster’s 2005 lockout.

Giant, which received a significant on-air promotional push during CBC’s Winter Olympics coverage, garnered 904,000 viewers on Sunday, March 12 at 8 p.m., against CTV’s Desperate Housewives, which won the night with 2.4 million viewers. The mini’s conclusion fell to 751,000 on March 13, also at 8 p.m.

Although CBC programming boss Richard Stursberg told producers he expects CBC dramas to draw one million viewers per airing at the CFTPA Prime Time event in Ottawa last month, Giant’s numbers are somewhat of a victory for the Ceeb, in particular since its similar mini, Trudeau II: Maverick in the Making, averaged only 485,500 over its two nights in October 2005, suffering from a post-lockout lack of promotion.

Also on CBC, 410,000 viewers watched the first episode of Ken Finkleman’s six-part satire At the Hotel on March 7 at 9 p.m. His previous series, The Newsroom, premiered with 500,000 viewers at the front of its 2004 season. Also, the East Coast comedy Hatching, Matching & Dispatching ended its first six-episode season with 456,000 viewers, down slightly from the 464,000 it premiered with in January.

According to BBM stats, 838,000 viewers tuned in to CTV’s new Jeff Seymour comedy, Jeff Ltd., in its sneak-preview outing on March 1 at 9:30 p.m., following ratings heavyweight American Idol, which drew 2.6 million for a special 90-minute performance show.

‘We had a great lead-in, and CTV did a really great job with the promo spots they cut, which made the show look as good as it could look,’ says Seymour, the show’s producer and star. ‘We just kept our fingers crossed that people would be interested in the humor and I guess they were.’

Seymour says he hasn’t been given a firm date for the start of the series’ season, but believes that it’s coming soon, especially if a second episode on March 15 draws another respectable sneak-peek number.

In other CTV news, Degrassi: The Next Generation’s season finale on March 20 will mark the series’ 100th episode. It will be preceded by the season finale and 50th episode of Corner Gas. The network also claimed 14 of the top 15 highest-rated TV shows for the week of Feb. 27, according to BBM, highlighted by the 5.1 million who tuned in to its Academy Awards broadcast. Only Global’s Survivor was able to penetrate CTV’s top 15, coming in fifth with 2.4 million viewers on March 2.

Also at Global, its nighttime soap, Falcon Beach – from Insight Productions and Original Pictures – has been picked up for a second season. Global would not provide recent ratings for the series, which premiered with 576,000 in January.