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TORONTO — CanWest Broadcasting unveiled a fall schedule Wednesday that ties its fortunes to new and returning NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox series.
The Canadian broadcaster rolled out 13 new series for its two national networks — E! and Global Television — including NBC Universal’s “Knight Rider” remake, the spinoff of “The Office” and “My Own Worst Enemy.”
Other NBC midseason simulcasts include “The Last Templar,” the Howie Mandel starrer “Howie Do It” and the political miniseries “XIII.”
CanWest also retooled late-night Thursdays on Global with the NBC Uni comedy “Kath & Kim” at 9:30 p.m., followed by ABC/Fox’s “Life on Mars” at 10 p.m.
Also in the CanWest pipeline for the 2008-09 season is 20th Century Fox’s “Dollhouse” and “The Ex-List,” the CW’s “90210” spinoff, CBS Paramount’s “Harper’s Island” and “Worst Week” and the animated comedy “Sit Down, Shut Up” from Sony Pictures TV.
Barbara Williams, executive vp content at CanWest, said the recent Los Angeles Screenings differed from years past in that she bought most new U.S. series sight unseen.
But she added that her CanWest team met exhaustively with U.S. studio suppliers before the annual shopping expedition, including with program creators and writers, to learn what was in the works. She expects that to continue as U.S. suppliers forge a new network series model that includes more international partnerships and year-round rollouts.
“I believe there has been some permanent change,” she said. “I’m not sure if it’s forever. But I do believe creators are making programming on a better timeline.”
CanWest also will look to draw viewers back to such returning shows as Fox’s “Prison Break” and “House” and NBC’s “Heroes,” while Fox’s “24” will return midseason on E! after a long strike-induced hiatus.
New Canadian series on Global include “The Animated Adventures of Bob and Doug McKenzie,” produced by Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis and Patricia Burns, and “Make It Right: New Orleans,” a two-hour special from HGTV Canada that features a rebuild of homes in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans in partnership with Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation.
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