CBC hopes rookie pilots ignite

'18 to Life,' 'Corner Gas' among new series

TORONTO -- After hitting ratings pay dirt last season with rookie series including "Sophie," "The Border" and "Heartland" -- developed as pilots with indie producers -- the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. looks to build on that success with its latest round of pilot orders.

Among the pilots contending for slots on the schedule are romantic comedy "18 to Life" from Gala Films and the spy drama "The B Team" from "Corner Gas" creators Verite Films and Kevin White Prods.

Also vying for pickup are the Original Pictures drama "Throwing Stones"; Pierre Films' Newfoundland-set dramedy "Republic of Doyle," about a father and son who work as private investigators; and "Abroad," a back-door pilot/telefilm co-produced with Fremantle Entertainment about a Canadian journalist in London.

The pubcaster saw its ratings spike during the recent WGA strike as U.S. series on rivals CTV and Global Television went into reruns or were replaced by reality TV series. Series developed at the CBC also have been enjoying success abroad: ABC Family picked up "Sophie," Fox acquired U.S. format rights to "Little Mosque on the Prairie" and Fireworks International has sold "The Border" into Europe.

The CBC recently ordered two dramas from its 2009 pilot slate: the psychological drama "The Session" and the Calgary-set drama "The Wild Roses."