Rogers adds U.S. series in simulcast slots

'Parks and Recreation,' 'In the Motherhood' slated

TORONTO -- It's looking like traditional big spenders CTV and Global Television will be part of a three-network face-off this year at the Los Angeles Screenings.

In the latest sign it has raised its game in the competition for U.S. series, Rogers Media said Tuesday that it has acquired two mid-season ABC series -- the Bob Saget starrer "Surviving Suburbia" and "In the Motherhood" with Cheryl Hines and Megan Mullally -- for its midseason lineup.

Toronto-based Rogers also picked up the NBC mockumentary "Parks and Recreation," which stars Amy Poehler. That came a day after the Canadian broadcaster snagged NBC Universal's Jay Leno talker for its fall lineup.

Key to the Rogers purchases is that all four series will be simulcast in the same time slot they hold on U.S. networks. Canadian broadcasters pay a premium to studio suppliers for simulcast rights to maximize audience and advertising revenue.

"We want to build a schedule that can compete with the other networks in Canada," Rogers exec vp programming Malcolm Dunlop said.

Dunlop said he will pore over the programming slates of all the major studio suppliers at the upcoming L.A. Screenings in a stepped-up bid to build the audience for his five Citytv broadcast stations.

Rogers Media -- which has the pockets of parent Rogers Communications, Canada's largest cable and wireless phone operator, to dip into -- last year acquired the Citytv stations from rival CTV, which in turn snagged them as part of an earlier deal with the former Chum Ltd.

"We are willing to invest if the right properties come along," Dunlop said.

Rogers Media on Tuesday also renewed NBC's "Kings" and "Chuck" and FX's "Nip/Tuck" for midseason.