The other day it was announced that Poor Charlie’s show Anger Management secured its renewal for 90 more episodes in the US on FX. The response has been quite mixed. Fans of the show are thrilled. Some people wonder what the hell is going on. Others expect Poor Charlie to get fired before the show reaches 100 episodes.
That rather massive and nearly unprecedented renewal was always part of the plan. FX knew it when they agreed to the initial 10 episodes. If the show did well it would be renewed for not just one season or two but for 90 episodes, which is more likely to be 4 or 5 more seasons. If the show did poorly then those 10 would be it and they could shop it around to another channel. What wasn’t made public was the threshold for determining success or failure.
Yesterday Anger Management‘s Canadian broadcaster announced it was in for the whole 100, even though only a single episode has been shown in Canada so far. That episode was on Saturday 12 August 2012 and received a simultaneous national broadcast at 7.17pm ET (meaning it was on at 4.17pm in Vancouver, 5.17pm in Calgary, 6.17pm in Winnipeg, and 8.17pm in Halifax) and had an overnight estimated 2.859 million viewers. Why the odd time and the simultaneous national broadcast across 5 time zones? Well quite simply it was on after the closing ceremony for the London Olympics and that ran long.
Considering it was the 2nd most watched show of the week most would consider it a huge success for Anger Management. What you won’t often hear of is viewer retention, which is how many people watching the previous programme stayed to see Anger Management. The closing ceremony of the London Olympics was the most watched programme of the week in Canada with 7.546 million viewers. That rivals the Academy Awards, the Super Bowl, or Vancouver in game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Just more than 1/3 of those watching the closing ceremony decided to stick around for Poor Charlie’s show. Without such a massive lead-in each week it is almost certain that Anger Management will have a significantly smaller audience for subsequent episodes.
The executives at Bell Media can’t seem to get enough brown on their noses. Yes, Two And A Half Men was very popular on CTV while Poor Charlie was its main cast member, bringing in something in the range of 2.25 million viewers, but when relegated to their secondary network some weeks it would bring in half of that. Which is to say people didn’t necessarily follow the show with the same level of devotion the press releases suggest. And the first episode of Two And A Half Men without Poor Charlie was the highest rated scripted programme in Canada in so many years and maybe ever with 4.906 million viewers according to the overnight estimate.
“Canadians have for years had a long standing love affair with Charlie Sheen on CTV,” said Mike Cosentino, Senior Vice-President, Programming, CTV Networks. “Today’s announcement ensures Canadian viewers will be entertained by Charlie Sheen, and the cast and creative team behind ANGER MANAGEMENT, for years to come.”
One of the production companies behind Anger Management is Canada’s brilliant Lions Gate. The boss there wasn’t forgotten in Bell Media’s press release.
“Charlie Sheen is one of the great comedy superstars of our generation, and Bruce Helford is an exceptional showrunner,” said Kevin Beggs, President of the Lionsgate Television Group. “We’re thrilled that our team has created another powerful and enduring Lionsgate brand that will resonate with audiences in Canada on CTV.”
I won’t be one of those Canadian viewers who will be entertained by Charlie Sheen for years to come. At least not in the sense they were thinking of when composing that press release. However it is true that Bruce Helford is an exceptional showrunner. His previous series seen on CTV was The Drew Carey Show.
What is amusing is that Bell Media is calling the episode shown in August the sneak peek, which will be repeated on 11 September, with the series premiere on 18 September. So episode 2 is the series premiere? Yeah, that makes sense. I suppose then CTV signed on to the multi-season 90 episode renewal before the series premiere. See, i can spin things too.
Haven is neither the first cross-border production for cable channels nor the first series based on the writings of Stephen King to be made in Canada. Premiering in 2002 on usa and in 2003 on CHUM, The Dead Zone was a staple of sci-fi mystery drama for over five years. What many might not know is that it is one of those now infamous multi-national productions that are more overt on American broadcast networks in the summer. The cable channels have been doing it for more than a decade now and viewers in the US don’t always know. The Dead Zone was made in Vancouver for its first five seasons and in Montreal for its final season and was seen domestically on The New/A Channel stations (now known as CTV two or defunct) and also on SPACE. (we miss CHUM)
And now it is coming back to DVD in a complete series package that (so far) is only going to be available in Canada. The series was originally released as single season sets from 2003 to 2008 by Lionsgate with bonus features that would make any commentary junkie drool with envy. With Alliance’s acquisition of Maple Pictures last year has come a steady flow of new and re-releases which have included complete series sets of such infamous shows as TekWar, Saved By The Bell, and Trailer Park Boys.
The Dead Zone stars Michael Anthony Hall as Johnny Smith, a small-town teacher who was involved in a car accident that left him comatose for approximately six years. After regaining consciousness, Johnny begins having visions of the past and future triggered by touching items or people; doctors attribute the visions to activity in a previously unused “dead zone” of his brain that is attempting to compensate for the impaired function of the portions injured in the accident. Johnny also learns that his fiancée, Sarah (Nicole de Boer), gave birth to his son in the interim following the accident, but has since married another man. With the help of Sarah, her husband Walt (Chris Bruno), and physical therapist Bruce (John L. Adams), Johnny begins using his abilities to help solve crimes. However, his attempts to do good are complicated by intermittent visions of apocalyptic events brought about following the future election of congressional candidate Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flanery).
If you haven’t got this series in your collection then it is hard to beat this price for 6 seasons/80 episodes of a show – $64.49 with the discount from TVShowsOnDVD.com factored in – $91.99 without the discount on Amazon.ca. The expected release date is 26 June 2012.