CTV leaves CBS behind on 'The Bridge'

Sets timeslot ahead of CBS announcement

TORONTO -- CTV won't wait for CBS to set a U.S. primetime slot for "The Bridge" before it debuts the Canadian cop drama on the same airday.

The Canadian broadcaster instead hopes the homegrown cop drama gets a post-Olympics bounce after it bows on Friday nights from March 5.

CBS, which co-produces "The Bridge" with CTV, left the E1 Television scripted drama off its lineup for lack of real estate when it revealed its prime time schedule last month.

So CTV will bow "The Bridge" on Friday, March 5 at 9 p.m. with a special two-hour series premiere.

The Aaron Douglas-starrer will then move the week after to a permanent slot on Fridays at 10 p.m.

Going solo marks a major departure for CTV and other Canuck broadcasters that usually wait until a U.S. network sets an airdate.

The Canadians then follow the American lead and simulcast a series in the same time slot, replace the American feed and air their own Canadian commercials to maximize advertising revenue.

That had CTV waiting until CBS scheduled "Flashpoint," another CBS/CTV co-production, before it simulcast the popular cop drama in the same slot.

Now "The Bridge" will go out right after CTV wraps its coverage of the 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Olympics in late February.

Also getting a post-Olympics berth on CTV is the Brent Butt-starring sitcom "Hiccups," to bow on Monday, March 1, at 8 p.m.

That will be followed at 8:30 p.m. with another homegrown comedy, "Dan For Mayor," with CTV then going with "Two and a Half Men" at 9 p.m. and "The Big Bang Theory" at 9:30 p.m.