Source : Globe & Mail
After 13 weeks on the air and a grand sum of 60 shows, CanWest Global has yanked homegrown funny man Mike Bullard from his troubled late-night time slot.
Mr. Bullard, who joined Global with much jubilation and hearty backslaps last summer, was told at the end of his show Thursday night that he was off the tube. His 35-plus crew was given the news first thing yesterday morning.
Doug Hoover, Global TV's senior vice-president of programming, said yesterday in a news release that his Winnipeg-based network cancelled the 12:05 a.m. show because despite "a major promotion effort, the program has not demonstrated the degree of success that merits a continued run." Translation: it lacked respectable ratings.
According to the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement, Mr. Bullard's show averaged 85,000 viewers (aged 2 plus) the week of March 1-7, the latest period that statistics are available. Over the 60 telecasts of The Mike Bullard Show, from Nov. 24, 2003, through March 7, the average weekly audience was 71,600.
Those are disheartening numbers, particularly when compared with Mr. Bullard's rival, CTV's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
Mr. Bullard worked at CTV for close to seven years, doing Open Mike, before he switched teams. In the March 1-7 period, The Daily Show's average weekly draw was 264,000 viewers, according to BBM.
Mr. Bullard could not be reached for comment yesterday, but insiders say he is shocked and saddened by the demise of the fledgling show, decreed one day before a week-long hiatus for March break.
The stand-up comedian signed a multi-year contract with Global, and lawyers for both sides are reportedly hammering out a goodbye package.
Out of the gate, Mr. Bullard's ratings were not stellar. But the blunt-talking host pleaded for audiences to give the variety show a chance to find its legs. In December, CanWest Global swooped in and hired a new executive producer, Dave Rosen, who joined executive producer David Asper, to re-jig the show and give it a face lift. In an interview with The Globe and Mail at the time, Mr. Bullard said: "This is all new to Global [the late-night talk-show shtick] but I've never been treated so well and I truly believe they're behind me."
Indeed, when Global first brought Mr. Bullard into the family in August of 2003, it was so ecstatic that head office asked every newspaper in the CanWest fold to trumpet the news on its front page.
Also at the time, Rick Camilleri, CanWest Global's chief operating officer, said the addition of The Mike Bullard Show to Global's lineup shows "how passionate we are about our commitment to Canadian content and Canadian star development."
Yesterday, he said "we still consider Mike to be one of the country's foremost comedic talents."
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