Rogers Media Gunning for CTV and Global Television in Canadian Primetime

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“We will continue to steal share from CTV and Global,” says company topper Keith Pelley, ahead of his Upfront presentation to domestic advertisers in Toronto.

TORONTO -- Rogers Media topper Keith Pelley on Tuesday sent an ominous warning to rival Canadian broadcasters CTV and Global Television that he intends to continue taking primetime eyeballs away from them in the Fall.

“We will continue to steal share from CTV and Global,” Pelley, president of Rogers Media, told reporters Tuesday ahead of his Upfront presentation to domestic advertisers in Toronto.

Earlier in the day, Rogers Media unwrapped an upcoming Fall and mid-season schedule for Citytv underpinned by nine new U.S. network comedies and four new U.S. dramas, mainly from 20th Century Fox Television and Warner Bros. Television.

“We believe that we can be a real player in the national game. I don’t think we’ve been able to be there until now,” Pelley said after Citytv recently expanded into Saskatchewan and Montreal with new TV station deals, and signed affiliate agreements to get deeper into the interior British Columbia and Alberta markets.

And Citytv now has popular hits to hang rookie shows off of on six nights, including 2 Broke Girls on Mondays, New Girl on Tuesdays, The Middle, Suburgatory and Modern Family on Wednesdays, 30 Rock and Person of Interest on Thursday, Fringe on Friday, and Revenge on Sunday nights as a Desperate Housewives slot replacement.

“We have good comedies to fill out the schedule, and solid dramas to carry us through,” Scott Moore, president of broadcast at Rogers Media, added.

The fast-growing Canadian network still has its issues, including continuing to fill out its national footprint to attain the reach of CTV and Global Television.

Here Pelley hints at unspecified plans in Atlantic Canada, where the map still needs to be colored in, not least to make investments in homegrown shows like a second season of Canada’s Got Talent more of a sure bet.

But Pelley is betting Citytv can leap-frog Global Television and be in a position to gun for CTV’s number one position in the Canadian primetime market by the end of the Fall 2012 season.

“We’ve been flattered with them comparing their numbers to ours. And behind closed doors, we say it’s great that they’re comparing themselves to us, but our distribution is two-thirds of their own,” he said.

“By the end of the Fall, the comparison will be closer to their own,” he added.

The Canadian Upfront presentations continue Wednesday with Global Television unveiling its Fall and mid-season schedule to domestic advertisers, following by CTV on Thursday.