Canucks duck deals during ‘flat’ week

Despite flurry of buying, locals not excited over projects

MONTREAL — Ho-hum. That just about describes Canadian TV buyers’ reaction to what Hollywood had to offer at this year’s L.A. Screenings.

“It was a flat week,” said Susanne Boyce, president of programming at Canuck web CTV.

“I think we could’ve been more pleasantly surprised,” added Michael Taylor, VP at Craig Media, which was recently acquired by Chum.

The Canadians noted that the buzz shows tended not to be brand-new series but rather spinoffs like “CSI: NY,” which went to CTV, and “Friends” offspring “Joey,” which was snapped up by longtime “Friends” broadcaster Global.

Despite Boyce’s lack of enthusiasm, CTV still bought a fair amount of programming, including ABC reality show “Wife Swap,” from producer Michael Davies; producer Mark Burnett’s autobiographical sitcom “Commando Nanny”; “The OC” creator Josh Schwartz’s drama “Athens”; and Disney reality series “The Benefactor.”

CTV also snared “Dr. Vegas,” starring Rob Lowe; the Disney drama “Desperate Housewives”; the Paramount sitcom “Related by Family”; and ABC’s series of Jessica Simpson specials (a natural for CTV since it airs and scores big ratings with Simpson reality show “The Newlyweds”).

In addition, CTV picked up “Kevin Hill” from Disney, much-talked-about Warners drama “Veronica Mars” and the new “Law & Order: Trial by Jury.”

Toronto-based broadcaster Chum grabbed “Summerland,” from Paramount; sci-fi series “4400” (which will air on Chum’s sci-fi web Space); Warners drama “Jack & Bobby”; reality show “America’s Next Top Model,” from CBS Intl.; the Ellen DeGeneres talkshow; and all of Hallmark’s upcoming telepics.

Chum didn’t need to buy in quantity because it renewed a slew of shows, including “7th Heaven,” “Everwood,” “Smallville” and “Monk.”

“Overall, I wouldn’t say it was spectacular,” said Ellen Baine, VP of programming at Chum. “I don’t think anyone was particularly excited. There was no huge standout. But it was a good year for WB and UPN — they really stepped up to the plate.”

Chum is also set to start running “Sex and the City” as a strip on its City-tv stations in Toronto and Vancouver.

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