CTV up for 'The Listener' second season

Canadian drama sold as far afield as Japan and Brazil

TORONTO -- Despite being sidelined by NBC, the Canadian drama "The Listener" is returning after local broadcaster CTV followed Fox International and renewed the homegrown drama from Shaftesbury Films for a second season.

The clincher for CTV is the series about a paramedic with telepathic powers already airs widely worldwide after the international cable and satellite TV rights were sold to Fox International by ShineReveille International.

ShineReveille, which handles sales outside North America, has also sold the Canadian drama as far afield as Japan and Brazil.

Shaftesbury Films topper Christina Jennings insists Canadian dramas like "The Listener" can survive and thrive internationally without the modest contribution a U.S. network pick-up typically brings.

"It (The Listener) didn't work in the States. So it didn't work in the States. Was it on the right network? Did they (NBC) promote the show? If you don't promote the show, you won't get viewers," Jennings said.

Fox International initially launched a first season of 13 episodes of "The Listener" in 180 countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East before its North American bow on CTV and NBC.

U.S. networks typically hedge their bets on Canadian dramas like "The Listener" by paying a Canadian producer around half the license fee they pay for a homegrown scripted drama.

Even with NBC on board, the first season for "The Listener" was broadly underwritten by CTV's license fee, ShineReveille's distribution advance and Canadian tax credits and other public subsidies.

Jennings said a second season of 13 episodes will again be largely CTV, Fox International and ShineReveille.

Fox International Channels acquired the international cable and satellite TV rights to "The Listener" after NBC snagged the U.S. rights in early 2008.