Esteemed television commentator Bill Brioux calls the only interesting Canadian series, Being Erica, a muddled ratings failure.

  • Yes, it’s a tough timeslot. Dancing with the Stars is huge Tuesday nights on CTV — over 2.1 million viewers tuned in last night according to overnight estimates. Over at Global, NCIS: Los Angeles arrested 1,867,000 viewers.

    Is Being Erica exceptional in having been pitted against popular American shows, or is that merely the inevitable consequence of a TV system built on simultaneous substitution?

  • Over 60% of Erica’s modest audience is 50+. Young women – the audience the show should be connecting with – are just not into her.

    Except the “young women” who watch it via TiVo, iTunes, Bittorrent, or later DVD. I know we have the new, improved people meters now, but they still don’t count the way this group watches television. Brioux is making the same argument CBC made when shitcanning jPod: Not enough of the right people are watching it. Except they are – where nobody’s counting them. Besides, all CBC shows skew old.

    (And don’t be handing Corpse mandarins specious reasons to shitcan TV shows. They came up with enough of those all by themselves to shoot down everything Chris Haddock made.)

  • Each week is like watching another pilot. Characters come and go, families, boyfriends and workplaces keep changing. It can’t decide if its a comedy or drama. The character is supposed to jump back and forth in time, not the people making this show.

    Clever! And of course wrong.

    Nothing like Being Erica has ever been attempted: A show with a science-fiction premise that isn’t science fiction. It was written by, stars, and revolves around women. The last time we tried this, what we got was Quantum Leap – agreeable enough, but guyish and now passé.

    I’m as tired of the CBC’s all-girl lineup as the next fellow, but even I had to be honest about my reactions and admit, with no embarrassment, that I love the show. It’s still very strong, not to mention novel. It even dares to be set in Toronto.

If ratings were really a determinant, every Strombo show and the one about that fanciful Muslim enclave on a snowless prairie would have been shitcanned years ago. It isn’t about ratings. It’s about taste, and there Brioux has shown a lapse: He suggests CBC should throw its weight behind has-beens and retreads, namely Ron James and Rick Mercer. Both are aging and gumless, and one owns a manse in Playter Estates. (He and his husband are set for life.)

Advocating Rick Mercer over Being Erica is a display of bad taste that makes me wonder if Brioux also thinks Stargate: Atlantis is better than Caprica and really deserves more of a push.

Shorter Bill Brioux: The national governing broadcaster should cancel its sole dramatic series set in present-day Canada because he doesn’t get it and, infallible statistics prove, the wrong people watch it. But if the Privates – as they have done and are doing now – can keep Blue Murder, Murdoch Mysteries, Whistler, and that turkey Flashpoint on the air when “nobody” or “the wrong people” watch them, then Erica deserves a full run.

I do have one question: Why use this as a vehicle to complain about Being Erica when its egregious product placement is right there begging for a hit? An Irishman in a nail-polish-pink Fiesta uttering “Commando, actually” into a handsfree dashboard cellphone is, if nothing else, comedy gold.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2010.10.07 15:52. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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