Canuck auds love laughing ‘Gas’

Show averages 1.4 mil viewers on CTV Network

MONTREAL — Someone forgot to tell Canadian TV viewers that the sitcom is dead.

While the format struggles in the U.S., Canada has its first major homegrown sitcom hit in three decades.

“Corner Gas,” an ensemble comedy about ordinary folks in the fictional Saskatchewan town of Dog River (population, 450), is the hottest show of the season, averaging 1.4 million viewers on the CTV Network.

That makes “Corner Gas” the country’s top-rated sitcom, even beating rival Global’s “Joey,” which has so far averaged 1.3 million viewers.

The last popular Canuck sitcom was CBC hit “King of Kensington” way back in the mid-’70s.

English-speaking Canada has done better with drama in recent years and, in fact, there haven’t been many sitcoms produced over the past decade. French-speaking Canada, in marked contrast, regularly churns out hit local sitcoms and dramas.

The success of “Corner Gas” is doubly surprising as it is set in the prairies. Most of the major Canadian hit series have been set in urban centers like Toronto and Vancouver.

“People say the sitcom’s dead, but it’s obviously not,” says Susanne Boyce, prexy of programming at CTV. “It’s done well because the writing is superb.”

The show, which is in its second season on CTV, was created by standup comic Brent Butt, who comes from Tisdale, Saskatchewan (population, 3,000), and decided to pen a show about life in a small prairie town. Butt also stars as Brent LeRoy, the owner of the only gas station (and social center).

“I’ve always been a fan of shows that are premise-light,” says Butt, who is also a producer on the series. “You don’t have to deal with the premise each week, which frees you up to have interesting characters saying interesting things. Our stories are very small. They’re all, ‘Where’s my pencil?’ It’s ordinary life.”

Butt says he is as surprised as anyone by the phenomenal support for “Corner Gas” and is still trying to figure out why it’s outperforming the American competition.

“You grow up in this country expecting American shows to beat you,” Butt says.

More TV

  • Longtime '60 Minutes' Producer Alan Weisman

    Longtime '60 Minutes' Producer Alan Weisman Dies at 68

    Alan Weisman, a longtime producer for “60 Minutes” known for his work with Morley Safer, died Thursday at his home in New Jersey of natural causes. He was 68. Weisman produced some of Safer’s most memorable “60 Minutes” segments, including the 1984 profile of Jackie Gleason and the 1989 jailhouse interview that brought national attention [...]

  • Khloe KardashianKhloe Kardashian, Emma Grede and

    Khloe Kardashian To 'Bachelor' Creator: 'Stop Or You Will Be Hearing From My Lawyers'

    UPDATE: Khloe Kardashian slams “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss’ claims she could be the next “Bachelorette.” And her sister Kim Kardashian West has her back. I’m not fucking clickbait right now. Stop or you will be hearing from my lawyers. How insensitive!! https://t.co/vTKi83nLUJ — Khloé (@khloekardashian) February 24, 2019 The time has come to choose a [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Whiskey Tango Cavalier

    TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier'

    The crux of “Whiskey Cavalier” can be found right in its protagonist’s name. “Will Chase” is a purposefully ridiculous wink of a name that tries to be both debonair and very silly all at once, just like the FBI agent (played by Scott Foley) to which it belongs. This isn’t a regular spy drama, “Whiskey [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Malik Yoba to Reprise Role in 'New York Undercover' Reboot at ABC

    Malik Yoba, who starred as Detective J.C. Williams in the 90s show “New York Undercover,” is set to reprise the role in the ABC reboot, sources tell Variety. Picking up 20 years after the end of the original series, “New York Undercover” will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s [...]

  • Chris Burrous dead KTLA anchor

    KTLA Anchor Chris Burrous' Cause of Death Released

    An investigative report on KTLA anchor Chris Burrous has determined that his cause of death was attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious at a motel in Glendale, Calif on December 27, and later died at the hospital. The death has been ruled as accidental. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content