'Amazing Race Canada' Outpaces Rival U.S. Reality Series With Debut Season

The local version of the global franchise was bigger than the launches of "Survivor," "American Idol," "Big Brother" and even CBS' "Amazing Race" series, which airs here.

TORONTO – Popular American reality series like American Idol and Survivor have long been among the most successfully exported shows by U.S. suppliers into the Canadian market.

But now CTV's Amazing Race Canada, which ended its first season run on Monday night with the father and son team of Tim Hague Sr. and Jr. winning the local competition, has had the biggest debut season ever for a reality TV franchise on Canadian TV.

Amazing Race Canada, which had an average first season audience of 3.3 million viewers, was bigger, ratings-wise, than the first season debuts of Survivor, American Idol, Big Brother, X Factor and even CBS' Amazing Race series, which has aired for 21 seasons here on CTV.

The Canadian version of the international TV franchise debuted with 3.5 million viewers earlier this summer and managed to hold its audience during the first season run.

"The Amazing Race Canada has captured the imaginations of viewers across the country, introducing Canadians to elements of their country that they had never known before, while setting a new benchmark for Canadian television series," said Phil King, president of CTV programming and sports, after Monday night's finale.

Amazing Race Canada is a local version from Insight Productions of the reality TV franchise created by Profiles Television's Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri.

And it ended its rookie season as the second-highest rated TV show on Canadian TV, behind top-rated The Big Bang Theory, which also airs on CTV.

CTV-parent Bell Media has already greenlit a second season of Amazing Race Canada, based on the format acquired from Disney-ABC Domestic Television.

Despite that local success, American reality series continue to dominate Canadian primetime, with the 27th season of CBS' Survivor franchise to debut here tonight on Global Television.