Canada: Sopomore U.S. hits keep CTV out in front

MONTREAL — There have been few major surprises on the Canuck broadcast landscape this season.

CTV still dominates with hits such as “CSI,” “American Idol” and “Desperate Housewives,” Global’s biggest hit remains “Survivor,” and Chum Television continues to expand its presence.

There were no new phenomenons on the small screen here, in contrast with last year, when “Housewives” and “Lost” — both on CTV — shook up the TV scene, just as they did in the U.S.

The strongest new shows for Chum were “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Supernatural,” both of which ran on Chum’s Citytv channels. One show that will have to be replaced on the Chum channels is “7th Heaven,” the reliable skein that’s winding down its long career this year.

Chum now buys a bit more aggressively given that it has acquired channels in Alberta and Manitoba, but Chum programming VP Ellen Baine says it’s too early to tell if it will be upping its buying even further this spring. Like the other two big Canuck broadcasters, Chum does its serious acquiring at the May Screenings in L.A., not at Mip.

Baine agrees that not all that much had changed in Canadian TV this year, with CTV on top and Global second, but she suggests that the ratings game tends to be cyclical.

“CTV has been lucky or strategic, depending on your point of view,” Baine says. “They’re at the top of the ladder, but I’d never count CanWest Global out. In five years, CanWest could have all the top shows. I think CanWest has had a way better year.”

CanWest Global programming VP Adam Ivers says his network did well this year with “Prison Break,” “House” and “Survivor” but admits his web still has some catching up to do.

“We’re excited about the momentum we’ve built from last year,” says Ivers, “but we know we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

Like Fox, CTV has posted its best “American Idol” numbers this year for the latest edition, and CTV programming prexy Susanne Boyce points to the imminent arrival of the new “Canadian Idol” in early summer, another ratings winner for the Bell Globemedia-owned network.

CTV also has the highest-rated homegrown show in the country with the prairie sitcom “Corner Gas,” which regularly pulls in 1.6 million viewers.

  

1. “CSI,” CTV

2. “Survivor: Guatemala,” Global

3. “American Idol,” CTV

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