Canadian Nets Awash in New U.S. Shows After Los Angeles Screenings

 Monty Brinton/CBS

TORONTO – Canadian broadcaster Global Television, which unveils its Fall 2011 schedule Tuesday, is in the tricky position of being number 2 to CTV and having Rogers Media nipping at its heels.

So after Rogers’ Citytv stations unwrapped their Fall campaign Monday with over a dozen new Hollywood acquisitions for Fall 2011, you would think Global Television execs might be looking over their shoulders.

Apparently they don't have to sweat the small stuff.

“As long as we keep getting better, we’re going to be happy, and we’re doing that every day,” newly-installed Rogers Media president Keith Pelley said Monday when asked if he coveted Global Television's second place status.

Rookie dramas like The Playboy Club, Terra Nova, Revenge, and Person of Interest, and the mid-season series Alcatraz, or new comedies like Last Man Standing, 2 Broke Girls, Suburgatory and New Girl, were acquired to help vault Citytv over Global Television to challenge CTV?

If so, Pelley isn't saying. 

“We’re confident that our schedule is the best that Citytv has ever had, and we’re going to continue to build audiences and we’re going to be very creative with our advertising solutions, and where that ends up, we’ll see at the end of the year,” he insisted.

Pelley's reticence is partly explained by the recent Los Angeles Screenings and the New York Upfront presentations representing a new game for Pelley, as it was for top executives at rival Global Television and CTV.

Global Television and CTV, which pitches to Canadian advertisers on Thursday, are now owned by deep-pocketed cable and telecom giants like Rogers Media-parent Rogers Communications.

And the new owners are all betting CTV, Global Television and Citytv programmers came back from Los Angeles with new and returning U.S. network series to distribute across their growing Internet, mobile phone and tablet platforms.

Pelley argued success at Rogers Media over the coming year includes directing U.S. shows across his media group’s TV, radio, online and print empire as part of a Canadian TV Everywhere strategy.

“Our strategy was to get multi-platform rights across all platforms, and we were able to acquire them,” he said after negotiations at the recent Los Angeles Screenings to acquire digital rights to U.S. shows.

After all, the U.S. network series will continue to drive the digital train for audiences and advertisers.

Rogers’ execs continually reminded advertisers how big a hit ABC’s Modern Family is, even bringing on stage series regular Rico “Manny” Rodriguez, not once, but twice.

Canadian-born actress Elisha Cuthbert was also on hand for the dog and pony show to promote Happy Endings, part of Citytv’s all-ABC Wednesday nights.

And America’s Got Talent sensation Jackie Evancho came on stage to perform Giacomo Puccini's "O mio babbino caro" to help herald a Canada’s Got Talent reality series to debut in March 2011, with Howie Mandel, the Toronto-born judge of America’s Got Talent, as the likely host.

Citytv is also developing another reality format in Secret Millionaire Canada, based on the British series where a millionaire goes undercover in a community to donate to individuals or a group.

The Canadian Upfronts will wrap on June 8 with separate pitches to advertisers by CHCH and the CBC.

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