Craig touts talkers on TV slate

'Ellen,' 'Wayne,' 'Sharon' join Toronto one lineup

TORONTO — Canuck broadcaster Craig Media has a lot of time to fill but not much coin to spend south of the border, judging by its fall launch in Toronto on Tuesday.

It unveiled a yakker-heavy slate with little drama. The owner of several channels in Alberta and Manitoba and a handful of specialty channels, Calgary-based Craig is preparing to bust into the Toronto TV scene in September with Toronto one, the first new terrestrial channel to bow in decades, and probably the last.

Toronto one’s slate, billed as “rich in local programming,” is anchored on new local fare including “The Toronto Show,” “Metro Today,” “The Toronto Life Show” and “Last Call.”

Many of Craig’s U.S. purchases will be shared with its other channels. They include yakkers “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Sharon Osbourne Show,” and “The Wayne Brady Show,” as well as Monday Night Football and Major League Baseball.

Other U.S. acquisitions include, “Extra,” “Celebrity Justice,” and the daytime series, “Living it Up! With Ali & Jack.” Most weekday and Sunday evenings will include a primetime movie.

“In addition to our strong slate of new U.S. program acquisitions, we will continue to play an important role in supporting the creation of compelling Canadian television for our audiences across all our channels,” said Craig prexy and CEO Drew Craig.

Craig is also launching a new national Western-based specialty channel called Stampede, featuring such gems as “Dallas,” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

Once a close ally, relations between Craig and Toronto-based Chum Television have cooled considerably since Craig pounced on Chum’s turf by bringing MTV to Canada. Chum owns a specialty channel called MuchMusic which had a lock on the genre until then.

Relations between the two were further undermined by Craig’s Toronto victory. Chum now has licence applications pending in for a Western Canadian channel similar to Craig’s.

Chum, which owns eight local and 17 specialty channels, also announced its slate early in the week, with new fare that includes a new season of “Everwood,” (poached from Craig, which had the first season) “Fearless,” “Jake 2.0,” “10-8,” “7th Heaven” and “1-800 Missing,” as well as ABC News’ “Primetime Monday” and “Primetime Thursday,” and a collection of original movies from HBO.

The company will continue with reality shows “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette,” and “Joe Millionaire,” as well as in-house programming and domestic features and series.