Cherry tops Shania, Céline

The life story of hockey legend Don Cherry stood up against the competition over its two-night event, delivering solid ratings for CBC and producers E1 Entertainment and Frantic Films.

Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story scored 1.3 million viewers on Sunday at 8 p.m. despite facing a slew of reality shows including CTV’s The Amazing Race and newbie Undercover Boss, and Global’s The Celebrity Apprentice. (All numbers 2+.)

Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story

The mini held on to most of its audience the following night to the tune of 1.2 million viewers versus CTV’s comedy lineup and a repeat episode of Global’s House, followed by 24.

‘Don Cherry has been a beloved member of the CBC family for 30 years and it’s wonderful to see that Canadians feel that same personal connection. The success of this movie is a testament to CBC’s dedication to great storytelling that connects and resonates with viewers across the country,’ commented CBC Television GM Kirstine Stewart.

Cherry bested the ratings of previous CBC biopics Shania: A Life in Eight Albums (2005) and Céline (2008), which drew 1.2 million and 761,000 viewers, respectively, though that was before the arrival of BBM’s Personal People Meters.

The Winnipeg-shot mini chronicles the life of Cherry from his playing career in the professional minor leagues to his coaching days for the Boston Bruins and television career as a commentator on Hockey Night in Canada‘s Coach’s Corner. It stars Jared Keeso (The Guard, Monster Warriors) as Cherry.

The mini was written and exec produced by Cherry’s son Tim Cherry.

Meanwhile, the season finale of CBC’s reliable The Rick Mercer Report delivered its usual one million viewers on Tuesday, March 23, while This Hour Has 22 Minutes followed with 545,000 viewers — down from its 700,000 season average this time last year.