CBC announced it's 2008-09 schedule today and two of its January starts--MVP and jPod--were left off the list.
As expected, The Border and Sophie (starring Natalie Brown, above) are both back next season, as is the Sunday family series Heartland, which may have outperformed them all in total households. CBC is also in for a second season of the U.S. cable miniseries The Tudors.
Old favorites Air Farce Live and The Rick Mercer Report--which had its strongest season ever, averaging one million viewers weekly--are also back, as are Little Mosque on the Prairie, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Just For Laughs and the Halifax and Winnipeg Comedy Festivals.
Reality series Dragon's Den, Test the Nation and Canada's Next Great Prime Minister will also return next season, as will the low-rated entry Triple Sensation, which is produced by a friend of the network, or is back as a result of a bet, or something.
There was no mention on the release of a pickup for the critically acclaimed but low-rated Chris Haddock series Intelligence; the presumption is that Intelligence is dead at CBC.
CBC enjoyed higher ratings overall in 2007-08. The network boasted its season-to-date share is up 7.9%, the highest rise in six years. The US writers strike, which knocked several US imports off the Canadian private network schedules, was a factor, but credit CBC with being both strategic and lucky, with the four rookies well placed for once for maximum sampling.
Both The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos and the "fabulous" new daytime entry Steven and Chris are also inked in for 2008-09.
The word on the four January rookies comes just as MVP saw a one week surge to 386,000 viewers this past Tuesday--a 100,000 viewer lift and just behind Wednesdays lower than usual Sophie take, 389,000. Friday, jPod scored 312,000, above its season average, but not enough, apparently to stick to the CBC sked.
This week's Little Mosque on the Prairie season finale--one of the weakest episodes in a strong season--scored 881,000 viewers.