Bye Bye 2021 was the highest rated show in Quebec television history

Radio-Canada’s satirical comedy show was watched by 4.862 million people, helped in part by a 10 p.m. curfew in the province.

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Even Simon Olivier Fecteau, the creative driving force behind Bye Bye, admits that the ratings for the satirical New Year’s comedy show are a bit wild.

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“This year, the numbers have exploded,” Fecteau said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. “It’s almost five million people. It’s a bit crazy for a province of eight million people.

It’s even more impressive considering that a large portion of the province’s English speakers aren’t watching. In other words, almost all Francophones in the province were glued to their televisions watching the same television program. It’s something that just doesn’t happen these days. For example, last year’s Super Bowl, the biggest television event of the year in the United States, was watched by 38% of households there.

Fecteau reported that Bye Bye’s market share among French-speaking viewers was 91 percent.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said Fecteau, who is the show’s content producer, co-director and one of the writers. “I don’t think people realize how special it is. Bye Bye has been around for over 50 years and it’s one of those traditions that’s more important than you might think. It’s only here in Quebec, it’s nowhere else in the world. I think the only other place in the world where you would get those numbers would be in North Korea. If you don’t watch TV, you get shot. It’s crazy. So I’m very happy to be part of it. »

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Bye Bye 2021 was watched by 4.862 million people, compared to 4.662 million for the previous year’s edition of the comedy show.

These figures come from audience measurement company Numeris and include people who watched a recording after the original broadcast.

Indeed, four of the five highest-rated programs in the history of Quebec television are Bye Bye editions. The other three shows in the all-time top five are Bye Bye 2018 (4.41 million), Bye Bye 2019 (4.371 million) and an episode of the slapstick comedy series La petite vie in 1995 (4.098 million).

It is also the highest ratings in the history of Infoman, another satirical comedy show that aired just before Bye Bye on Radio-Canada. The show, which stars comedian Jean-René Dufort, drew 3.629 million viewers, up from 3.467 million viewers a year earlier.

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This year’s edition of Bye Bye, broadcast on Radio-Canada, has, as usual, usurped many of the most talked about events and personalities in Quebec over the past year. Denis Coderre, Justin Trudeau, TV host Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge and power couple Véronique Cloutier and Louis Morissette, among others, have been skewered. One of the most memorable sketches, The Woking Dead, shows a band of awakened militants invading Prime Minister François Legault’s house, only to be killed when Legault’s wife, Isabelle Brais, begins reading a chronicle of the right-wing pundit Richard Martineau.

Even fired Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin made an appearance, in a parody of those Mario Tremblay/Patrick Roy Uber Eats commercials. The real Bergevin (not an actor who plays him) is shown eating an “unemployed pudding” because he was unemployed at the time (this was before he was hired as a senior adviser with the Kings of Los Angeles). He also refuses a “Molsonne” beer.

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Some of the province’s best comedians and comedians appeared in the show, including Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse, Mehdi Bousaidan, Guylaine Tremblay and François Bellefeuille.

Of course, the ratings were helped by the fact that Legault imposed another curfew, which began on New Year’s Eve and forced people to stay home from 10 p.m.

“Of course the pandemic has given us a boost, I’m not stupid,” Fecteau said. “The fact that people can’t legally leave their homes, of course that helps. But they could have done something else. They could have been watching movies or just being with family. On the 31st, I made a tweet which I deleted. After a few minutes, I thought it was going to go wrong. I tweeted to Francois Legault — “thank you for accepting our offer and we’ll refund you.” It was as if we were in cahoots with the government. But I took it down because I was pretty sure some people wouldn’t get the joke.

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Dany Meloul, general manager of Radio-Canada Television, pointed out that Bye Bye has been a key part of French-speaking Canadians’ New Year celebrations since the 1960s. And it’s a tradition that is perhaps even more important now, said he added.

“I think it was very reassuring for people to realize that everyone was watching the same show in their living room all over Quebec,” Meloul said. “In the middle of the pandemic, people needed it.”

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  1. Mehdi Bousaidan (playing Horacio Arruda, Director of Public Health for Quebec) and Claude Legault (playing Quebec Premier François Legault), in a scene from Le Bye Bye 2020, broadcast on Radio-Canada on December 31, 2020.

    The Bye Bye is a New Year’s tradition stronger than ever

  2. Radio-Canada's Bye-Bye 2018 broke audience records.

    The 2018 edition of Bye bye breaks the French-speaking audience record

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