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Canada Finds a Way Forward Without U.S. Shows to Rely On

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As Hollywood will get into gear with decreased pilots and staggered manufacturing, Canadian broadcasters that sometimes depend on U.S. programming acquisitions to anchor their fall schedules have additionally confronted a scarcity of latest product. But a dearth of American exhibits can be main to new alternatives.

The three personal broadcasters  introduced digital upfronts to advertisers this week, unveiling schedules that remained pretty comparable year-on-year as executives banked on stability and returning collection, with a few, coronavirus-era tweaks.

“It wasn’t really a seller’s market,” says Corus Entertainment’s SVP of broadcast networks, Daniel Eves. “There was less product available, but there was also less to show in terms of what a pilot would be. The combination of not knowing what the product would look like [along] with the timing in the market itself [meant] there wasn’t a leverage point on either side in terms of the sellers being able to charge more, or for us being able to point to an abundance of programming to pick from.”

Corus rounded out its Global TV fall schedule with the Queen Latifah-led drama “The Equalizer” whereas snatching “neXt” from Bell Media, which had beforehand commissioned the A.I. collection for its midseason schedule in fall 2019. For its half, Bell, which declined to be interviewed for this story, saved with its different 2019 midseason acquisition, “Filthy Rich.” It rounded out the CTV schedule with “B Positive” and the incoming “Supermarket Sweep” reboot.

The community at the moment airs “Law & Order: SVU” but it surely didn’t put money into the upcoming Chris Meloni-starring spinoff; that landed at Rogers the place it joins the three Dick Wolf “Chicago” collection on Citytv. ABC’s incoming “Big Sky” was not picked up.

“Having a similar schedule year-over-year-is a good thing for both viewers and advertisers,” provides Hayden Mindell, Rogers’ VP of TV programming and content material. Like many within the trade, the manager reveals a main a part of his job focus has shifted to drawing up contingency plans within the wake of the pandemic.

Although Mindell says there may be a plan in place till December, the schedule for Rogers-owned Citytv included a look ahead with the midseason pickups of “Young Rock” starring Dwayne Johnson and “Mr. Mayor” starring Ted Danson. Mindell notes each acquisitions are according to the corporate’s technique of banking on huge names and large franchises — particularly, in present circumstances, with out having the ability to see a completed product.

In the autumn, these franchises prolong to unscripted programming like “Dancing With the Stars,” “The Bachelorette” and “Hockey Night in Canada” following a $5.2 billion deal in 2013 to air NHL video games. Waiting to hear how the NHL season unfolds is an ongoing a part of these “endless contingency plans, which are constantly being updated with variations for all of the variables that could possibly occur,” says Mindell.

On the specialty facet, Eves reveals Corus checked out different worldwide markets, buying collection like Sky One’s “Intelligence” and Sky Atlantic’s “Devils.” To fill content material hours, additionally they wager huge on streaming companies; the corporate introduced a deal to carry Peacock authentic productions to varied channels throughout the Corus slate, whereas including a slew of CBS All Access programming regardless that the streaming service is offered in Canada.

“Some of the subscription services just don’t have a marketing platform that we have here at Corus,” Eves says. “This is going to bring those shows to a whole new audience.”

Across the board, all the personal broadcasters, which generally come beneath fireplace from critics this time of yr for lean Canadian content material on the principle networks, additionally introduced renewed commitments to Canadian packages like “Transplant,” “Jann,” “Nurses” and “Hudson & Rex.” As U.S. broadcasters look North to spherical out their very own schedules, that has created new alternatives for all CanCon creators — a development that’s paid off particularly for public broadcaster CBC, which has a Canadian-first, acquisition-second strategy to its schedule.

According to Jennifer Dettman, govt director of unscripted content material for CBC, that strategy permits the community to have extra management of the autumn schedule. There’s “a backlog” of Canadian content material that can bolster the schedule for the whole yr, but it surely additionally places the broadcaster in prime place for worldwide consumers — particularly within the wake of buzzy gross sales on exhibits like “Coroner” and “Fridge Wars,” which each offered into The CW. In the long term, Dettman speculates the shift may very well be excellent news for Canadian tv on the whole.

“These partnerships help elevate budgets, which in turn help elevate production values,” Dettman says. “There are more opportunities for partnerships on shows that they haven’t seen before. There’s really great storytelling, and really great series that I’m hoping more people in the world will get to see now.”

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