It took a few days longer to count--the number was that high.
An estimated 1,523,000 viewers across Canada tuned in New Year's Eve to catch the final episode of the Royal Canadian Air Farce. That makes it the CBC's single biggest entertainment programming draw of the season. It was the highest-rated program on any network in Canada for the night, more than doubling the audience watching Shrek 2 on CTV (739,000) and a rerun of Bones on Global (532,000).
Ron James stand up comedy special from Winnipeg rode the Farce finale to nearly 900,000 viewers at 9 p.m. Even The Hour got a New Year's Eve boost, scoring an impressive 413,000 viewers at 11 p.m.
The well promoted hour long Air Farce special almost doubled the series' hearty Friday night season average. It also drew three to five times the number of viewers that usually watch CBC sitcoms Little Mosque on the Prairie and Sophie on a Wednesday night.
They stay (although they've been moved to Mondays) and Air Farce goes in one of the dumbest programming decisions since Fox canceled--and then had to re-order--Family Guy a few seasons ago.
There's a reason NBC has left Saturday Night Live on the air for 35 seasons. It draws a steady audience (better than steady this U.S. election year), develops and platforms the next generation of comedy stars and--most important for NBC--makes money for the network.
Air Farce does the same thing for CBC--and on a Friday night.
It is great that, after 16 seasons, Air Farce went out on a high note, both creatively and in the ratings. CBC, however, should find a way to get it back on the air, perhaps as a quarterly series of specials. If they can't figure this out, maybe CTV, which likes high audience numbers, will. Say it five times fast, but not having Air Farce on the air is an air farce.