Are TV movies finito? CBC's much ballyhooed The Trojan Horse, starring Paul Gross, drew 690,000 viewers Sunday night. The political espionage thriller, which also starred Tom Skerritt and Martha Burns, failed to pull them in the way the prequel, 2004's H2O, did (it bowed to close to a million viewers), despite plenty of on-air promos and magazine covers. CBC's The Englishman's Boy opened to over 800,000 earlier this year.
It didn't help that reviews were only so-so. Eric Kohanik at TVTimes called it "cheesy," although he found the cast charismatic.
Would rave reviews have helped? Maybe. My guess is that viewers would rather watch real U.S. presidential political intrigue on CNN than a fictional take on a U.S. takeover of Canada. Reality programming has hammered several TV genres, but TV-movies may have taken the biggest hit. Even CTV doesn't draw as big a crowd for the few TV-movies it still programs.
One other pet peeve about these two-parters: does scheduling these things on consecutive Sundays really work? Throwing away the conclusion of The Trojan Horse against The Junos next week is just begging for bad ratings.
Some other recent CBC numbers, for those who still like to keep track: The Border (March 24): 610,000. Anne Murray Duets: 823,000. Rick Mercer Report: 885,000. Sophie (March 26): 407,000. jPod (March 28): 307,000.
If those numbers seem low to one anonymous TV Feeds My Family reader, check out these national numbers from last week on Global: The Unit (March 24) 181,000. Very Bad Men (March 25): 150,000. The Office (March 26): 311,000. My Name Is Earl: 297,000. Amnesia (March 28): 352,000. Aside from the finale of The Celebrity Apprentice (which drew 1,396,000 viewers last Thursday) Global would like to have amnesia about all of last week.
Not everybody had a bad week. CTV breathed a sigh or relief as 1,874,000 viewers returned for a new episode of CSI: Miami last Monday. American Idol (2,317,000 Tuesday; 2,302,000 Wednesday), Dancing With The Stars (1,855,000 Monday; 1,863,000 Tuesday) and CSI (1,631,000 Thursday) all creamed the competition.