CBC in a Coma

jPod has been sacrificed on the alter of TV ratings, as the CBC ignores the rest of its cultural mandate to "tell compelling, original, audacious and entertaining Canadian stories in a way that Canadians want to watch."

Based on Canadian author Douglas Coupland's work of the same name, jPod took place in Vancouver and was produced by a Canadian crew. With grow-ops, video game productions, Hollywood North and gangs (both Asian and biker) it was certainly telling an original and audacious Canadian story. Whether it was entertaining is a matter of taste (I'd say it was), but the numbers weren't to the network's liking, so down came the axe.

So what should that number be? A couple of years ago CBC TV Executive Vice-President Richard Stursberg suggested the network would need to attract audiences of a million for drama or comedy programs, which is a high bar for the CBC. Only the Rick Mercer Report and Little Mosque on the Prairie crossed that barrier during the latest ratings periods.

The CBC is also trying to attract a younger audience to replace its aging demographic, which led to a slate of youth-skewing launches this January, which included The Border, jPod, MVP: The Secret Lives of Hockey Wives and Sophie. The Border has been renewed with an average audience of 700,000, as has Sophie which had 389,000 viewers in the most recent ratings (though that was reported as a lower-than-usual number).

The ratings for jPod ranged from 159,000 to 312,000 (it is hard to find average Canadian TV ratings), so it was obviously not a hit, but is that the business that the CBC should be in? Clearly they shouldn't be losing money, but if the mandate is telling Canadian stories and reeling in younger viewers, shouldn't it get more then 10 episodes before being put out to pasture?

TV writer Denis McGrath over at Dead Things on Sticks argues that the CBC needs to adjust its expectations and be happier with smaller numbers, especially if it is the right audience. TV critic Bill Brioux over at TV Feeds My Family says he liked the show but it's just business, and that's a good thing.

For my part, my wife and I never missed an episode and I heard people talking about jPod at work, one of the few times I'd ever heard people talking about CBC TV, outside of the news, hockey or Rick Mercer.

I just don't know what is going on over there — perhaps they ought to put the radio people in charge.


  1. This honest surprises me. jpod was one of the few CBC shows we actually heard about in the States!

  2. That makes me happy and sad at the same time. There was some talk that it would get picked up in the States, maybe that would have saved it. Sigh...

  3. Dear Friends,

    Hi all, Raugi Yu here. I play Kam Fong on jPod. Okay, so you have heard that jPod has not been picked up for a second season by CBC. I got the call a couple of days ago about it.

    At first I was upset and disappointed and immediately thought of the great times and experiences I had shooting jPod and how much I would take from that…There was one problem though…I kept wondering why. Why not have a season 2? I started to hear what others were saying. I heard anger, resentment and frustration. So many of you my friends along with thousands, yes thousands, of strangers have expressed outrage over the cancellation of jPod.

    I got angry too.

    One may think that, “Sure, I’d be angry too if I lost a steady gig like that”. Well that’s not what I’m angry about. Gigs come and go. It is no huge hardship for me to go back to auditioning and booking and living my life as an actor. It is my passion. No. It angers me that the CBC our nation’s television station (yes I know among other things) chooses to cancel a show that is so cutting edge, fun, smart and CANADIAN. So many viewers have gleaned joy from watching jPod week after week. We look forward to it; I dare say we yearn for it.

    I’d like to go down swinging. Many of you, who know me well, know that I am quite a loner and I don’t ask for help often even when I need it. I guess I‘m asking now.

    I’m a pretty chilled out go with the flow kind of guy, but I recognize that there are times in my life when I’ve got to fight. In surveying the land I recognize that I need a lot of help.

    If you feel you can, please call CBC at: 1-866-306-4636, choose option 1 for English programming and choose option 1 again for the “Attendant” then ask for “Audience Services”. Audience Services will answer and at that point tell them how you feel about jPod being cancelled and how you would like to see a season 2.

    E-mail them at http://www.cbc.ca/contact/

    I alone can reach out to all of you and if all of you can reach even 2 people and we get that people ball rolling…we could possibly be jamming up some phone lines at CBC. Am I being naïve and hopeful? I hope so; it feels better than lying down and taking it.

    Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all of you for watching the show and for all the great things you’ve all been saying about it.

    Longevity and persistence is the key. Phone or e-mail, if you can do it everyday.

    I send my love to you all and just to be clear, that love stays whether you phone, e-mail, write or not.

    Thank you all!
    Raugi Yu
    A.K.A Kam Fong

  4. jPod did the impossible. It made Alan Thicke funny.

    That alone make it deserving of a second season.

    I'd love to make it our own little "Arrested Development." Not a huge audience, but clearly a quality show.

    Now I have to get back to my ballroom dancing lessons.

  5. Thanks Raugi, I called audience relations today and let them know that jPod is exactly the kind of show the CBC should be airing.

    I also signed the petition, for whatever that is worth: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/CBC_jpod/

    And the joined the inevitable Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=20478128136&ref=mf

    I hope we cam make something come of it all.

  6. I can't say I was surprised they cut the cord on MVP. It's a bit hard to watch a series about hockey that has little to no hockey on it but does have a couple of psychopaths and kidnapping on the series. But jPod? CBC finally has a good as well as NEW show on& they're pulling the plug!? Anyone who has not had cable at some point in there life knows what bad Canadian content the CBC airs repeatedly to satisfy the cancon rules. Won't somebody think of these poor people?? Hey CBC- give us a reason to contradict your nickname; Can't Be Cool (CBC)
    Oh and thank you very much Raugi for publishing you comments. To us fans it's a tv show we love, but for you it's much more.