There was one less major Canadian player at this year’s L.A. Screenings, but, if anything, the remaining Canucks were buying more than ever.
That’s because two of the key national broadcasters — CanWest Global and Chum Television — have more channels to buy for than ever.
With the disappearance of WIC, the Canadian contingent this year was whittled down from four to three major national players at the L.A. Screenings. But Global and Chum opened their wallets and picking up extra shows for their expanding menu of channels in the Great White North. CTV was more conservative as it had fewer open slots to fill.
The CanWest Global execs were in L.A. last week buying for the main Global Network but were also snatching up shows for its new CH net, which will be in place this fall in the Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal markets. One significant Global acquisition is college sitcom “Undeclared,” to be simulcast with the Fox broadcast Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., right after “That ’70s Show,” which Global already airs in Canada. Global also bought “Smallville” and “Citizen Baines” from Warner Bros. and mid-season starter “Nathan’s Choice.”
The Global execs also snared “The Education of Max Bickford” for the CH channels (show will air in simulcast with CBS on Sunday at 8 p.m.), while “24” will also land on CH because the 9 p.m. Tuesday slot on Global is already occupied by “Frasier.”
“It’s really a matter of where we can optimize the value of the program,” said Doug Hoover, national programming veepee at Global Television.
Hoover and his Global colleagues bought a large stable of miniseries for the CH stations as well, with a view to making the second Global weblet a home to event programming. Miniseries bought for CH include “Uprising,” “Dinotopia,” “Snow White” and “The Audrey Hepburn Story.”
Global also bought “The Agency,” which will go head to head with “ER” on Thursday, and picked up “Spin City,” which used to air in Canada on CTV.
Yielding to ‘Temptation 2’
Chum Television was in L.A. buying more series than ever before to feed its various channels, including Toronto indie powerhouse City-tv, the New Net stations in southern Ontario, Victoria, B.C., station the New VI, CKVU Vancouver and specialty webs like Bravo and Space. Chum acquired the new Star Trek series “Enterprise” to air on both City-tv and Space and picked up both “Temptation Island 2” and companion show “Love Cruise” for City-tv.
Chum Television president Jay Switzer is particularly happy about the “Temptation” buy as the first installment of the sexy reality show was one of the biggest hits in the history of City-tv.
Switzer and his team also bought “Wolf Lake” and “Special Unit 2” for the New Net. In addition, Chum renewed its New Net hits “Roswell,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.”
“We’re in pretty good shape,” Switzer said. “It was a hugely successful Screenings for us.”
CTV was more selective in its acquisitions; in contrast to Global and Chum, it was essentially picking up shows for its one main national network.
“We didn’t buy a lot because our schedule is strong,” CTV programming prexy Susanne Boyce said.
Sitcoms, crime at CTV
CTV bought Jason Alexander comedy “Bob Patterson,” medical sitcom “Scrubs,” new “Law & Order” spinoff “Criminal Intent,” Steven Bochco drama “Philly,” WB Network sitcom “Maybe I’m Adopted” and Jerry Bruckheimer-produced reality series “Amazing Race.”
Boyce was tight-lipped about where the new shows would land on the fall CTV schedule, noting that the net also has to program a number of homegrown Canuck series, including the new “Degrassi — The Next Generation,” the sophomore season of hit legal drama “The Associates,” “Cold Squad” and standup series “Comedy Now.”