Citytv reveals post-'Leno' strategy

Canada broadcaster fills 10 p.m. slots with a mix of fare

TORONTO -- Caught off guard by NBC's late-night shake-up, Canadian broadcaster Rogers Media has gone mostly to its programming shelf to replace "The Jay Leno Show" at 10 p.m. weeknights, starting in March.

Toronto-based Rogers, which purchased the Leno primetime talker for its Citytv network as part of a broader NBC programming slate, will move "Chuck" from prerelease on Sunday nights at 7 p.m. to Monday nights at 10 p.m.

Rogers picked up ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" as a simulcast to fill the Sunday-night 7 p.m. hole. The Citytv stations already get good numbers from CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" at 8 p.m. on Mondays, so the third season of "Chuck" will air in postrelease at 10 p.m.

Elsewhere, Rogers already had the Canadian rights to NBC's "Parenthood," so it goes to Tuesdays at 10 p.m., while Wednesdays Citytv will air "Ugly Betty" in a 10 p.m. simulcast slot after ABC moved it from Friday nights.

And on Thursdays, Rogers will continue with comedies by airing out of simulcast another episode of "How I Met Your Mother" at 10 p.m., followed by CBS' "Accidentally on Purpose" at 10:30 p.m. Citytv already airs NBC's "Community" at 8 p.m., "Parks and Recreation" at 8:30 p.m. and a double-shot of "30 Rock" at 9 p.m.

Finally, on Fridays Citytv will air the Canadian drama "Murdoch Mysteries" at 10 p.m., which will be preceded by another new show at 8 p.m. from April, the NBC celebrity genealogy series "Who Do You Think You Are?"

Malcolm Dunlop, executive vp programming at Rogers Media Television, would not be drawn on programming costs to fill a gaping hole at 10 p.m. from the loss of "The Jay Leno Show." The Canadian broadcaster mounted a billboard, print, radio and online campaign to market the Leno talker, which did well for Citytv.

"(The Jay Leno Show) certainly met our expectations and in some markets exceeded our expectations," Dunlop said. He added that marketing new shows in five different time slots at 10 p.m. weeknights poses a challenge for Citytv.

But that's nothing new for Canadian broadcasters ever at the mercy of U.S. studios and network schedules for their programming supply, via output deals.

"We have a good sense of how to do it," Dunlop said.