Will the new Personal People Meter data further boost CBC's No. 1 entertainment show? Tuesday night at 8 p.m. marks the seventh season premiere of the Rick Mercer Report, which averaged a shade under one million viewers a week last season. "I'm the one guy in Canada who wants an election," Mercer joked two weeks ago at the CBC fall launch in Toronto. Mercer's had a busy summer, surviving a trip to India with his usually more stay-at-home dad and teaming with Canadian film icon Norman Jewison on a rewrite of the director's mid-'60s gem "The Russuans Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming."
With ratings for live, event-style programming getting a boost so far with the introduction of the BBM Canada PPM data, Mercer's show seems poised to make further gains. On the premiere, Mercer will travel to Whistler, B.C. where he will plunge off a cliff bungee jumping with one of his heroes, Man in Motion Rick Hansen (dangling above with Mercer). "You haven't lived until you've seen a man in a wheelchair plunge 160 feet," says Mercer, who scored big with visits from Don Cherry and Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion last season.
Mercer also heads to Simon Fraser University to join in Frosh Week and learns to play a bagpipe with the university's world champion bagpipe band. There's also the usual political jabs including this ready-for-YouTube poke at the current Michael Ignatief Liberal ads, below:
Tonight also marks the 17th season return of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which also saw ratings rise last season. Much of the credit for that uptick goes to headline-grabber Geri Hall, who got lambasted late last season for gooning Ontario premiere Dalton McGuinty (as her needy "Single Female Voter" character). Word reached TVFMF that Hall and the producers might part ways before the start of this season. That crazy talk got shut down fast when CBC execs got wind of it. Hall, who has to hump it from Mississauga to Halifax to shoot this sucker, is back behind the 22 Minutes anchor desk, along with Mark Critch, Gavin Crawford, original desker Cathy Jones and special guest Kathleen Phillips. Look for tips on battling the H1N1 virus plus a look at the real Stephen Harper (CBC, 8:30 p.m.).
Being Erica's second episode of the season airs at 9 p.m. on CBC and it does not build on the promise of last week's season opener. In fact, it feels like a left over from last season. The focus is back on Erica and her past dumb life, this time some nasty prank she pulled on a canoe buddy back at camp. This one drags on and one and feels painfully stretched out over the hour. Not enough Dr, Tom, although we do get a bit more intel on that new bartender who has his own portal to the past.
TUESDAY PREMIERES: The Hills returns on MTV (10 p.m.).