April 23, 2008 / 1:18 AM / 10 years ago

Writers strike turns tables in Canada TV ratings

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Canada’s TV ratings wars made history Tuesday thanks in large part to the fallout from the Hollywood writers strike.

For the first time since 1994, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. beat rival commercial enterprise Global Television in winter primetime ratings, according to BBM Nielsen Media Research.

Global Television makes heavy use of U.S. series in primetime, while the CBC relies primarily on homegrown Canadian shows. But during the 100-day Writers Guild of America strike, which ended in February, Global was forced into reruns while CBC rolled out its most ambitious winter schedule in decades.

The state-owned CBC posted an average viewership of 628,500 Canadians from October 1-April 6, according to BBM Nielsen Media Research, compared to an average audience of 593,300 for Global Television — a complete reversal from the previous winter season. CTV led with 1.22 million viewers.

While it concedes that it lost out to the CBC in total viewers during the strike, Global Television insists it maintained a lead during the same period in adults 18-49, the lucrative demographic that advertisers pay a premium to reach. Global is a unit of Canwest Global Communications Corp.

The CBC made its audience gains with new homegrown dramas such as “The Border” and “Sophie,” the reality series “The Week the Women Went,” and a new daytime lifestyle show.

Meanwhile, as Global suffered from a lack of fresh scripted fare, Canada’s biggest commercial network, CTV, succeeded in utilizing such nonscripted reality hits as “American Idol” and “American Gladiator” to boost its ratings during the strike. CTV is a unit of CTVglobemedia Inc.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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