The Tudors

CBC-TV’s prime time shows drew impressive ratings in the first week of the new Fall season, with several programs posting significant increases over last year’s audience numbers, the network reported today.

“CBC has debuted its Fall season to growing numbers, proving that once again our network is the destination for people who want great Canadian programs,” said Kirstine Stewart, Interim Executive Vice-President, English Services. “We’re thrilled that audiences are tuning in to support the talented actors, writers and production crews of the Canadian television industry.”

Among the week one highlights:

Anticipation was clearly high for the season two premiere of Battle of the Blades, a special Game On episode, with an audience of more than 1.5 million Canadians, with a total reach of 3.4 million – roughly one in ten Canadians – tuning in.

Dragons’ Den premiered to an audience of almost 1.6 million, an increase of 18% over last season’s premiere.

Despite going up against the strong premiere of Glee on Global, the Rick Mercer Report premiered with an audience of 1.22 million, up 12% over last year’s season average of 1.09 million. 

Drama series Heartland and The Tudors both premiered to audiences of almost one million viewers.

22 Minutes premiered to an audience of 818,000, 30% above the 2009/10 season average of 630,000. 

The fifth estate also posted a major increase over last year’s premiere, with the season opener (“Above Suspicion”) earning an audience of 641,000 – up 38% from the 2009 Fall premiere.

Personal and professional difficulties plague England’s most notorious monarch, King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), in the highly-anticipated third season of THE TUDORS premiering on CBC Television, Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 9 p.m.

This season marks a turning point in the Tudor Dynasty. The King’s attempts to institute his religious Reformation policies encounter strong resistance from an army of peasants in the North, prompting Henry to employ ruthless tactics in order to extinguish the revolt—tactics that are questioned by one of the King’s oldest friend and contemporaries—Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk (Henry Cavill).

King Henry’s personal life is equally as turbulent. He weds for a third time, choosing Jane Seymour (Annabelle Wallis) as his wife. A kind noblewoman, Jane’s positive and calming influence changes the King him the better—she is able to convince him to revoke his claim of illegitimacy over his first daughter Mary (Sarah Bolger) and reunite the family. Henry is happy, but will Jane fulfill his ultimate desire and provide him with a male heir to the throne?

The third season of THE TUDORS features Canadian cast members including the celebrated tenor and star of Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera, Colm Wilkinson as Lord Thomas Darcy; Alan Van Sprang (Guns) as Sir Francis Bryan; and Mark Hildreth (Being Erica) as Reginald Pole. Musician Joss Stone joins the third season as Anne of Cleves as does Hollywood icon Max Von Sydow as Cardinal Von Waldburg. James Frain and Henry Cavill return as Sir Thomas Cromwell and Charles Brandon.

Famed Canadian director Jeremy Podeswa (Dexter, The Pacific) directs four episodes of THE TUDORS this season, including the finale Michael Hirst, writer and creator of THE TUDORS, also brought English history to life in the Academy Award®-winning feature films Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

The second season of THE TUDORS is nominated for 11 Gemini Awards, including Best Dramatic Series, Best Writing in a Dramatic Series and Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series (David Alpay). The Awards will be presented Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Gemini Awards Gala in Calgary, Alta.

Produced by Toronto-based Peace Arch Entertainment in association with CBC Television and Showtime Networks, THE TUDORS is presented in HD and is a Canada-Ireland coproduction. The fourth and final season is currently in production in Ireland.

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