CTC fall heavy on new programs


MOSCOW -- Russian entertainment network CTC Media on Thursday announced a fall schedule that includes more than 20 premieres and a host of U.S. and international formats.

Alexander Rodnyansky, the Ukrainian-born CEO of the NASDAQ-listed company, said the screen offensive should help lift ratings after a second-quarter slump that saw his network dip to an 8.9% audience share from 9.3% in the first quarter.

Market comparisons -- which noted that CTC, rated fourth in national market share, hit a high of 11.7% audience share in second-quarter 2006, largely on the back of the phenomenal success of "Born Not Pretty," a Russian adaptation of "Ugly Betty" -- were not always helpful, Rodnyansky said.

"We do not plan or project results in comparison with those delivered by that show," Rodnyanksy said in an interview. "If (in the new season) we achieve ratings in the range 10%-11% share for the four-plus audience, we shall be within the guidance provided to our investors."

The new season -- which includes such novelties as a local version of Fremantle's reality hit "The Phone," with a per-show prize of $10,000 that Rodnyansky described as "absolutely new and provocative" -- will create an entirely different schedule.

"When I check the monthly schedules, new content shows up in red, old in black. Looking at the schedules now, it is all in red," Rodnyansky said.

He added that, if not for the network's distinctive orange and silver logo and other "brand attributes," viewers might think they had tuned into a new station.

Other U.S. and international licensed programming will include local adaptations of Warner Bros. sitcoms "Full House" and "Step by Step" and Reveille's popular quiz show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" and Outright/MBP's "I Want My Mummy," in which mothers relax at a spa as they watch video footage of their husbands coping alone at home with the kids.

Other new shows include a local version of "America's Next Top Model" -- "Ti Supermodel" (You Are a Supermodel) starring former model Svetlana Bondarchuk -- and "CTC Lights the Superstar," a talent show for which CTC spent two months auditioning 15,000 hopefuls from across Russia.

"This talent search show is very much in line with what CTC is all about. It is always possible to improve your life and to do it yourself. This is your chance," Rodnyansky said.