Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Citytv Is On A Roll

This is the week the three Canadian commercial networks --CTV, Global and Citytv get to strut their fall wares.
Back from the buying wars and chock full of American purchases the networks host dazzling parties for potential advertisers plus the very few TV critics left on the beat.
First up Tuesday was fledgling network Citytv which once again staged its gala at Massey Hall  followed with booze and dainties next door at the Hard Rock Cafe.
The theme of City is simple: we attract the young, hop viewers so if you're after viewers 55 and older then look elsewhere.
Rogers Media which snapped up City a few years back enjoyed a great past season --eight of their 12 U.S. pick ups will be back this fall and the network which is trying to emulate Fox TV has purchased Canadian rights to nine new U.S. comedies plus four new comedies.
But what's surprising is the lack of scripted Canadian series. Rogers dumped Murdoch Mysteries (which has a new home on CBC) and there's nothing quite ready to replace it. This fall Rogers will have just two hours of Canadian content on its prime time --the new series Bachelor Canada as well as Mantracker from OLN.
Citytv will have to make up its Canadian content quota later in the year and perhaps is thinking plopping vulnerable Canadian shows into the competitive fall schedule might just be a one way ticket to cancellation.
Some of Citytv's new imports seem very promising. Citytv has snatched Jimmy Kimmel Live from CHCH and also got Canadian rights to Katie Couric's new daily afternoon chatter hour.
When she met the press Couric shrugged off reports the talk shows wars are heating up again saying that after Oprah's retreat to her OWN network the field is open for a more thoughtful show.
"I have endless curiosity," she said to explain her qualifications and thought the "Darwinian process" of selection might result in weaker entries getting cancelled.
Couric said she'd certainly be interested in re-interviewing Sarah Palin on her show but doubted the ex-governor would appear.-Palin's interview sank Palin's chances as a potential vice president.
But not every show would be serious: "I'm not a snob either about modern culture."
Also guesting at the City launch were the new co-stars of Partners described as a bromance between a straight and a gay guy. The gay one will be played by Ugly Betty star Michael Urie --he's just finished a run of 150 performances on Broadway in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying created by Abe Burrows whose son James is going to direct all the season of Partners.
And Urie's partner in the show will be Brandon Routh, who's re-starting his career after the movie Superman did less than expected business.
Other guests included Max Greenfield, Schmidt on New Girl, who polled  critics about his chances for an Emmy nomination (he certainly deserves one). But I was surprised he only got about a 50 percent favorability rating from this group.
And there was tall Tyler Harcott, originally from Calgary, the amiable host of the new reality outing The Bachelor Canada.
And Dominic Monaghan popped in to talk about his new OLN series Wild Things and talk about his life long love affair with insects.
Other new U.S. sitcoms include Ben And Kate about an exuberant brother moving in with his sister and little daughter starring Dakota Johnson and Nat Faxon.  City also purchased the new Reba McEntire sitcom Malibu Country --all about a divorced mom finding herself with her mother (Lily Tomlin) in tow. The Mindy Project stars Mindy Kaling who also created it.
New drama acquisitions include Revolution created by Jon Favreau and J.J. Abrams about life in a futuristic society without electricity.
And there's the horror outing 666 Park Avenue about young couple Rachael Taylor and Dave Annable who take over a luxury apartment in a building that may be haunted.
And midseason  comedy acquisitions include  Bill Pullman in 1600 Penn and Sarah Chalke in How To Live With Your Parents For The Rest Of Your Life. Midseason comedy acquisitions include The Carrie Diaries (Carrie Bradshaw aged 16) and the TV debut of killer Hannibal Lecten based on the character from the Thomas Harris novel.
Returning U.S. hits include The B---- In Apartment 23, Suburgatory, Last Man Standing, Revenge (moving to Sunday nights), Person Of Interest and scandal.
Rumblings at the Rogers affair included persistent rumors Rogers may make a bid to take over Hockey Night In Canada away from CBC. Price tag would be over $100 million but it would solve Rogers' Canadian content problems.
And Rogers has green lighted two scripted Canadian comedies to run in the New Year: Package Deal created by Andrew Orenstein (Malcolm In The Middle) and Seed created by Joseph Raso.


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