‘Survivor’ thrives, but who knows why?

Scheduling likely plays part in show's Canadian success

MONTREAL — Yanks may be so-so about “Survivor: Thailand” — but the Canucks are crazy about it.

The fifth edition of the desert island reality show is the undisputed ratings king, attracting auds of 3.8 million since it bowed on Global Network on Sept. 19. That’s 800,00 more than No. 2-rated show “C.S.I.” on rival web CTV.

And execs are at a loss to explain its success.

There is a history of U.S. series that do better per-capita in Canada than south of the border, but these tend to be upscale, high-IQ shows like “Twin Peaks” and “The X-Files”. Even defenders of “Survivor” wouldn’t call it highbrow fare.

Partly it’s a question of scheduling. “Survivor” builds off a strong lead-in from “Friends”, which pulls 2.8 million viewers.

This is in sharp contrast to the U.S., where the pair battle it out head-to-head Thursday nights. Global also benefits from its historically strong Thursday nights, thanks to past hits like “Seinfeld” and current hot scorers like “Friends” and “Will and Grace.”

But that still doesn’t fully explain the phenomenal ratings for “Survivor” in Canada. Could it be a curious side effect of the chilly weather Canadians put up with for much of the year?

“Maybe,” agrees global veepee David Hamilton. “Once the fall weather kicks in, people in Canada become TV watchers. They see these beautiful countries and they start booking their holidays.”

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