CTV adds two new shows to fall lineup
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, June 2, 2009 2:46PM EDT
TORONTO - Citing a need for "prudence," Canada's top-rated network is adding just two new shows to its fall lineup while stacking its sister station with new shows bolstered by heavyweight stars Joseph Fiennes, Kelsey Grammer, Mischa Barton and Paul Gross.
CTV revealed a schedule full of familiar faces Tuesday, with two additions already backed by existing fan bases. They include the daytime series "The Dr. Oz Show," starring the Oprah Winfrey protege and co-produced by Winfrey's Harpo Productions, and the teen drama "The Vampire Diaries," based on the series of novels.
Over on A channel, the lineup will be anchored by new shows featuring Fiennes in the sci-fi thriller "Flash Forward," Barton in the Ashton Kutcher-produced series "The Beautiful Life" and Gross in the "Witches of Eastwick" adaptation, "Eastwick."
CTV boss Susanne Boyce says the network chose to rely on proven fare, noting that 90 per cent of last year's new shows had failed.
"You can see that right now viewers like tried-and-true, and they like original shows," Boyce said between meeting with ad buyers.
"You want to have a stable schedule with surprises (to let) the viewers keep coming back. The biggest shows are the shows that have been there (before)."
CTV heads into the fall without two of its biggest marquee shows, both of which retired in April. The long-running medical drama "ER" wrapped up after a 15-year run while the Prairie-based sitcom "Corner Gas" wrapped its sixth season with its largest audience ever.
The dip in the economy inspires at least two new sitcoms on A channel -- Grammer's comedy "Hank," in which he portrays an industry titan suddenly out of work and forced to move his family to his small hometown, and Patricia Heaton's new series "The Middle," in which she plays a harried, middle-class mom.
The economy also put a dent in CTV's annual fall season announcement -- traditionally an ostentatious display of glitz and glamour with a celebrity-packed presentation and party for media and ad buyers.
Instead, the network announced its schedule with an emailed news release and scheduled two days of private meetings with clients. It'll be followed by an informal parking lot barbecue Thursday.
The CBC unveiled its schedule with similarly modest fanfare in April, with Citytv announcing plans to significantly boost U.S. programming last week by email.
Canwest Global was to announce its fall lineup at a breakfast event Wednesday.
CTV's mid-season offerings will include the Canadian series "The Bridge," also airing on CBS, while returning series include "So You Think You Can Dance Canada," "The Mentalist," "Flashpoint" and "Grey's Anatomy."
CTV also says "Corner Gas" creator Brent Butt will bring his new series, "Hiccups," to the network, while Fred Ewanuick, also of "Corner Gas," will get his own show in "Dan For Mayor." Both shows will air in the fall of 2010.
This year three Canadian-created CTV shows will be simulcast south of the border -- among them "The Listener," on NBC this summer; "Flashpoint," airing simultaneously on CBS, and upcoming drama "The Bridge," set to be a mid-season series on CBS.