TV News/Article | Summer 2014 American network ratings for Canadian shows

On August 1, 2014, The Wrap listed then-current Nielsen viewing averages for the sixty-two American network shows airing new episodes during the summer 2014 season. Granted, multiple nights of CBS stalwart Big Brother and NBC stalwart America’s Got Talent count as separate shows, as do shows with multiple spinoffs (hi, multiple flavours of Dateline NBC and 20/20), and shows with multiple airings (NBC’s Undateable, CBS’ Bad Teacher).

Five Canadian shows compete for viewers in this summer silly season. The viewing averages for the five Canadian shows – if you want to be pedantic, four Canadian shows, and a co-production led by CBS Television Studios – are as follows:

12. Rookie Blue, ABC (6,665,000; original airing on Global)
49. Working the Engels, NBC (2,389,000; original airing on Global)
59. Beauty and the Beast, The CW (1,280,000; Canadian airing on Showcase)
61. Seed, The CW (497,000; original airing on City)
62. Backpackers, The CW (471,000; repackaged form of CTV Extend online series)

Rookie Blue is a durable workhorse for both Global and ABC. It’s the sixth-highest-rated scripted show on American network television this summer, and ABC’s highest-rated summer scripted show. There’s no news on Rookie Blue’s future beyond its current 22-episode order, as the order is split into two separate seasons.

With sixty-three episodes in the can, and eleven more to air in 2015, Rookie Blue can afford to go into reruns. ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee mentioned that ABC might want to wind Rookie Blue up. If ABC wants to end its association with Rookie Blue, it will be a financial and/or aesthetic decision; the ratings for the fifth season were great in Canada, and the most consistently high since Rookie Blue’s first season on Global. Airing episodes a month ahead of ABC worked in Global’s favour. Rookie Blue knows its audience, and retains that audience.

Working the Engels is in direct competition with Rookie Blue, Fox’s Gang Related, and Big Brother in America. As the worst-performing new show on NBC’s summer 2014 schedule, coupled with its anemic Global performance earlier this year, Working the Engels’ future is based on whether NBC and/or Shaw Media want to bite the financial bullet for a second season. Its lead-in, Welcome to Sweden, was recently renewed by NBC for a second season, so Working the Engels has a chance.

Beauty and the Beast has already been renewed by The CW for a third season; this is just a burnoff of new episodes after The CW pulled Beauty and the Beast off its schedule in March 2014. Given BatB’s soft ratings in its second season on The CW, it’s lucky to get a third. BatB is only listed here due to Take 5 Productions and Whizbang Films’ involvement with the show; with this and Reign, Take 5 and Whizbang have a respectable presence on The CW.

Seed and Backpackers were both mercy-killed by The CW after two low-rated episodes. Even though The CW is not an American program service on par with the Big Four (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox), Seed and Backpackers’ numbers would be mediocre performances on Canada’s Big Four (CBC, CTV, Global, City). Even CBC’s 18 to Life was given three weeks on The CW, and The CW aired two episodes of that sitcom per week.

Backpackers is a “digital series” (read: broadcast-ready webseries) that hasn’t aired on Canadian television in a half-hour form. It got to play on an American broadcast program service; that’s something “traditional” sitcoms like Mr. D and Spun Out can’t currently say. At the same time, Seed and Backpackers shat the bed ratings-wise. Even for acquisitions, Backpackers shedding 240,000 viewers in a week means Backpackers won’t get to the six shows meant for broadcast first-run.

Rogers Media’s involvement with Mr. D, coupled with the announcement of Bruce McCulloch’s Young Drunk Punk, means Seed might not make it to a third season. It’s up to Rogers Media to renew Seed for a third season, but after its disastrous run on The CW, I don’t think it will happen.

Cameron Archer

Owner/Writer at Gloryosky
Cameron Archer runs this site, and is a freelance arts writer. He has contributed to Canadian Screenwriter since 2011. He is a CMG Freelance member.
Cameron Archer