CTV Buys 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,' 'The Goldbergs' for Fall 2013
TORONTO – Top-rated Canadian broadcaster CTV on Thursday unveiled a swan-like 2013-14 schedule, as it glided on the surface with only seven rookie U.S. series added for the Fall after the Los Angeles Screenings, but is paddling furiously below the surface with key schedule changes.
CTV-parent Bell Media came away from Hollywood with a raft of Warner Bros. Television series, including Believe, Hostages, Reign, Surviving Jack, and The Tomorrow People.
Bell Media also did package buying with ABC Studios, acquiring Trophy Wife, Mixology, Intelligence and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Schedule-wise, CTV revamped its Tuesday nights, long a “sore spot” for the network, according to Phil King, CTV president of programming and sports, given the dominant NCIS franchise on rival Global Television.
CTV from this Fall will air Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at 8 p.m., followed by Sony Picture Television’s The Goldbergs at 9 p.m., and Trophy Wife at 9:30 p.m.
CTV will also air Warner Bros.’ Person of Interest at 10 p.m., a top-ten Canadian primetime show that last season aired on rival City.
King said CTV did major surgery Tuesdays by shifting The Voice to its secondary CTV Two network, as it counter-programs against NCIS, NCIS: LA and Chicago Fire on Global Television's Tuesday night schedule.
King expects a big payoff from Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D., which offers CTV a built-in audience, impressive "pedigree” from Avengers’ Joss Whedon, and Disney tying the TV show into Marvel’s Avengers movie franchise that the studio distributes.
CTV mostly tinkered with the rest of the primetime schedule, especially on Thursday night where it has returning hits in The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, and Grey’s Anatomy.
Here King is relying on solid bench strength from returning hits like Criminal Minds, The Amazing Race and Grimm to stretch CTV's top-rated run in Canadian prime time to a 14th season.
“When you’re number one, they look at us more than we look at them,” he says of the competition.
At the same time, CTV is mindful of the competition time slot by time slot, given Canadian broadcasters line up their primetime schedules along the lines of the U.S. networks and their studio suppliers.
Here King is decidedly unimpressed with rival Global Television acquiring at the recent Los Angeles Screenings 11 new American dramas and seven rookie comedies, and then insisting the bulk buying aimed to underpin an already strong schedule.
“If you buy 17 shows, it means you’re worried,” King said.
Having bought far fewer new shows in LA, the real paradigm shift for CTV is focusing more on scripted fare, while CTV Two gets filled with reality series, including Dancing With the Stars, The Voice, The X Factor, American Idol and Undercover Boss that formerly had homes on the main CTV network.
King said the CTV Two restructuring aims aims to give the secondary network more identity and “consistency.”
“We don’t want it to be in the minor leagues,” King said of CTV Two, which in recent years was a proving ground for U.S. series that migrated to CTV when they broke out.
The new CTV Two schedule will see reality series from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. sandwiched between comedies like Hot in Cleveland and Mike & Molly, both of which the Canadian network now has the syndication rights to one year before the rest of the world.
The channel will also strip Mike & Molly at 10 p.m. and Hot in Cleveland at 9:30 p.m., after earlier in the evening stripping The Big Bang Theory, the top-rated Canadian series, at 7 p.m.