Rogers Media steps up this fall

L.A. Screenings purchases boost broadcaster status

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TORONTO -- Judging by the basketful of U.S. series purchased at Screenings, Rogers Media looks set to grow from upstart "netlet" to a full-fledged broadcaster this fall.

Amid an increasingly divisive rivalry between main players CTV and Canwest Global, Rogers swooped in to buy a raft of studio product at the annual market, including much of NBC's Thursday comedy lineup.

"We said we wanted more scripted comedy and dramas and we were able to do that," Rogers exec vp programming Malcolm Dunlop said Friday.

Rogers' increased activity was welcomed by the studios, who have had to rely on output deals with CTV and Canwest Global to move product in recent years as too many new shows have chased too few Canadian buyers.

With recession woes limiting the buying of CTV and Canwest Global last week, Rogers Media, a division of deep-pocketed cable giant Rogers Communications, was able to cherrypick for its 2009-10 schedule.

Rogers bought a package of programming from NBC Universal as well as product from Disney, Sony and CBS Studios for its five Citytv-branded TV stations.

In addition to scheduling NBC's "The Jay Leno Show" this fall at 10 p.m., Rogers bought NBC Uni's Peter Berg drama "Trauma" for Mondays at 9 p.m. and "Parenthood," from producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

Wednesdays will see Rogers program "Parenthood" at 8 p.m, while Thursday nights will see "Community" at 8 p.m., "Parks and Recreation" returning at 8:30 p.m. and "30 Rock" at 9:30 p.m.

Rogers also picked up a host of shows from downsizing rivals Canwest Global and CTV. It grabbed "The Biggest Loser" from Canwest for the fall schedule and acquired ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "Better Off Ted" and CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" from Canwest's E! network.

From CTV's A-Channel network, which also chose to shed shows and costs, Rogers acquired ABC's "Supernanny," NBC's "Scrubs," "30 Rock" and "Chuck."

"We wanted shows with recognizable star power, and we were able to get some high-rated reality TV shows that had consistent numbers," Dunlop said.

In addition to the Citytv stations, Rogers owns and operates a string of OMNI-branded multicultural TV stations, regional sports channel Rogers Sportsnet and the Shopping Channel.
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