Daily News Tuesday, October 31, 2006
CBC New Season Off To a 'Promising Start'
The launch of CBC's fall season so far contains definite bright spots despite significant competition from heavyweight American content, says its senior programming executive.

"We ended last season with a 7.3 percent audience share and this year so far have moved that up to 7.6 percent," says Kirstine Layfield, executive director of network programming. "Naturally, we have programs we would like to see with bigger audience numbers, but our objective this season has been to rebuild our schedule as a whole and we're off to a promising start. In terms of providing Canadian programming to Canadians, we're doing very well, reaching more than 22 million viewers each week."

"We have a very strong one-two punch on Tuesday evenings with The Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, which together have beaten their U.S. competition on other Canadian networks each week since the beginning of the season," Layfield says.

"Last Wednesday, our award-winning The Fifth Estate attracted more than 800,000 viewers for its investigative feature on Ontario lotteries," she continued. "Dragon's Den, which focuses on Canadian entrepreneurs, is experiencing rapid growth. Intelligence, from creator Chris Haddock and already a hit with the critics, premiered higher than its predecessor Da Vinci's City Hall and continues to establish itself in our prime time lineup. And other returning shows like Royal Canadian Air Farce, The National, CBC Sunday, Dr. Who and others continue to perform well."

"Our overall objective is to build a 24-hour schedule that recognizes the demands of our Canadian viewers by bringing them compelling programming when they want it," she says. "It's a long-term objective and there's no doubt there will be challenges along the way. But we believe we've made a good start."
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