Flashpoint, about an elite police squad based in Toronto, was off to a great start on Friday, with over one million Canadian viewers and over eight million American viewers tuning in for the premiere on CTV and CBS—despite the lackluster 10 p.m. time slot. The show was the top-rated program for Friday, and should rank in the top 15 primetime shows for the week in both Canada and the United States. The success of Flashpoint on Friday led to a re-broadcast of the pilot on Sunday, when another four million Americans tuned in. (Canadian data have not been released yet for Sunday.)
This is good news for Flashpoint, as it has garnered much attention as the first Canadian show to broadcast on a major American television network since Due South. If it had bombed, it would pretty much shut the door on any future Canadian exports on the big four American networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. Usually, Canadian shows tend to find their way onto smaller specialty channels, where there’s less at stake. Degrassi: The Next Generation plays on N, a channel for teenagers, and has developed a cult following; defunct hockey soap MVP has started a run on Soap Net; and CBC comedy Sophie will show on ABC Family next year.
What’s interesting is that the show may be one of the first times that many Americans have seen Toronto portraying itself on screen. The TTC and First Canadian Place are among the familiar sites in the pilot. Expect Bay Street and the waterfront to be featured in future episodes.
The next test for the cast and crew of Flashpoint will come this Friday—getting fickle television viewers to return for week two. Swingtown, an American series that also launched this summer on CBS, began with similar ratings, but has since shed almost 40% of its audience. Stay tuned.
Photo from the CBS Flashpoint website.