CBC favors reality in tough times

Pubcaster orders '18 to Life,' 'Battle of the Blades'

TORONTO -- A cash-strapped Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on Tuesday opted for new half-hour comedies and reality TV competition series over more expensive dramas for its 2009-10 season.

The pubcaster ordered the Galafilm sitcom "18 to Life," after it partnered with ABC on the pilot, and the dramedy "Republic of Doyle," from Newfoundland producer Pierre Films.

Also in the CBC pipeline is Enter the Picture Prods.' sketch-comedy series "The Ron James Show," the figure skating competition series "Battle of the Blades" and "Canada's Super Speller," a spelling bee elimination series from Halifax Film.

Returning dramas and comedies at the CBC include the fourth and final season of "The Tudors," "Little Mosque on the Prairie," "The Border" and "Being Erica."

To make way for rookie series, the CBC canceled "Sophie," a comedy that aired on ABC Family, and "Wild Roses," a drama set in oil-rich Alberta.

The latest programming lineup follows a move by the pubcaster to cut jobs and shows to absorb a CAN$171 million ($138 million) advertising budget shortfall during the recession.
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