Canadian Flashpoint No. 1 in U.S.; producer 'shocked'
July 14, 2008
More than eight million Americans tuned in for the season premiere of the Canadian-made police drama Flashpoint on CBS Friday night, making it the night's top-rated program in overall U.S. households. This far surpassed the expectations of the network and its Toronto-based producers.
"It's just totally crazy. Nobody predicted this," the show's co-producer Bill Mustos said yesterday from the editing suite. "I'm as shocked as everybody else. I'm just numb."
The 13-part series about a SWAT-like team of elite cops drew 8.13 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, and also ranked first with adults aged 25 to 54, and adults 18 to 49.
The network said Flashpoint - which stars Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars), Hugh Dillon (Durham County) and Amy Jo Johnson (Felicity) - was its best showing in the time slot since May 16 for the season finale of CBS's popular Numb3rs, starring Judd Hirsch.
The show, shot in Toronto, is also broadcast on CTV at the same time. Canadian audience data is expected today.
Its opening-night performance flies in the face of many U.S. critics who were largely tepid in their reviews of the program, the first Canadian-made drama to be picked up for simulcast in the States since Due South 14 years ago.
In recent weeks, many American television writers have brayed that CBS is not really "behind" the drama since it slotted Flashpoint in the summer (when many viewers tune out) and on Friday nights. Yesterday, Mustos said the Nielsen data backs up what CBS has long been telling him: that the show is a perfect summer fill-in for Numb3rs, a strong performer for the network in the past four years.
Mustos - whose producing partner is Anne Marie La Traverse - added he hopes Flashpoint's strong first outing means CBS will get even more aggressively behind promoting the one-hour series as the weeks progress. "It's easier for a network to get behind a series in a more substantive way when they see a show with promise."