CTV lineup includes new 'L&O,' 'Dad Says'

Ivan Fecan unveiling schedule Thursday

TORONTO -- When CTV topper Ivan Fecan meets Canadian advertisers in Toronto on Thursday to pitch his newest U.S. network series, he'll need to convince them he can fend off mounting competition from rival broadcasters backed by deep-pocketed cable giants.

Fecan will tout the arrival on his network of ABC Studios' Michael Chiklis starrer "No Ordinary Family," Warner Bros. Television's "$#*! My Dad Says," CBS Studios' "The Defenders," Dick Wolf's "Law & Order: Los Angeles" from NBC Universal and the CBS Studios' family cop drama "Blue Bloods," starring Tom Selleck.

Fecan, whose CTV network airs 14 of the top 20 series on Canadian TV, will also wave the U.S. version of Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" for fall 2011 in front of the admen.

Still, Canadian primetime leader CTV didn't exactly splash out at the recent Los Angeles Screenings, acquiring only seven new fall series and four midseason shows, including Paula Abdul's "Got to Dance."

"From a position of strength, we've freshened up Canada's #1 schedule in all areas," Susanne Boyce, CTV's president, creative, content and channels, said as her network unveiled its fall 2010 programming lineup for CTV and its secondary A Channel network to conclude the Canadian upfronts this week.

CTV is coming off of a 2009-10 TV season of highs and lows, including airing the 2010 Winter Olympic Games from Vancouver, and Fecan having to lobby the federal government for first-time retransmission fees for additional revenue as the economic downturn hammered the domestic TV ad market.

It's times like these you can use the deep pockets of a parent cable group and their assured subscriber fees for reassurance.

Rival Rogers Media has that backing from domestic mobile and cable giant Rogers Communications, and did splash out in Los Angeles, buying up buzzworthy dramas backed by pedigree talent such as J.J. Abrams and Jerry Bruckheimer that in former years would have gone to an all-dominant CTV.

And arch rival Global Television, which has spent much of the past year in court-directed creditor protection and battling the TV ad slump, has a new lease on life now that western Canadian cable giant Shaw Communications stepped in to purchase its TV assets for $2 billion.

That buying power was reflected Tuesday when Global Television unveiled its fall lineup.

In Quebec, primetime leader TVA Group has the deep pockets of provincial cable giant Quebecor Media to back its series purchases, and even the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has taxpayers back-stopping its American TV buys like the game shows "Jeopardy" and "Wheel of Fortune."

That has left CTV in the last year continuing to shed costs and assets to stem its losses and maintain its primetime leadership here.

Despite its slim pickings in Los Angeles, CTV on Thursday unveiled about a dozen key scheduling changes ahead of the fall TV season, including new shows every night to retool a primetime mix of U.S. dramas, comedy and reality fare.

These includes NBC's "Undercover Boss" moving to 7 p.m. on Sundays, followed by ABC's "The Amazing Race" at 8 p.m. and "Desperate Housewives" at 9 p.m., before "CSI: Miami" slides into a new slot at 10 p.m.

On Mondays, ABC's "Castle" will air at 10 p.m., and "No Ordinary Family" goes out at Tuesdays at 8 p.m..

On Wednesdays, "So You Think You Can Dance Canada" will warm the 8 p.m. slot until CBS' "The Defenders" will air out of simulcast, while "Law & Order: Los Angeles" will air at 10 p.m. after ABC's "Criminal Minds" at 9 p.m., both in simulcast.

CTV, like rival Canadian broadcasters, where possible simulcasts, or airs U.S. network series in the same primetime slots they hold south of the border and replaces American commercials with Canadian ones to boost its ad revenue.

In all, CTV will simulcast 18 of its 21 hours key primetime shows, more than any other Canadian network.

Other changes by CTV programmers include stripping "The Big Bang Theory" nightly at 7:30 p.m., except Thursdays the hit CBS comedy will air in simulcast at 8 p.m. and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" moves to a prerelease at 7 p.m.

Also Thursdays, a half-hour "So You Think You Can Dance" results show at 8:30 p.m. will eventually give way to a simulcast of CBS' "$#*! My Dad Says," in November, followed by the returning "Grey's Anatomy" at 9 p.m., and "The Mentalist" at 10 p.m., both in simulcast.

And CTV rejigged Friday with "Human Target" at 8 p.m., "CSI: NY" at 9 p.m., and the rookie drama "Blue Bloods" at 10 p.m.

CTV added three rookie shows to its As, including the CBS romantic comedy "Mike & Molly" from Chuck Lorre, and two CW series, "Hellcats" from Warner Bros. Television and CBS Studios and "Nikita" from Warner Bros. Television.

The As also will be bookended by the homegrown comedy "Corner Gas," stripped at 7 p.m., and ABC's "Criminal Minds," stripped at 10 p.m. CTV also acquired as part of a package from Warner Bros. Television "The Conan O'Brien Show," which it will air at 1 a.m. Monday to Thursday, after its TBS airdate stateside.
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