Tag Archives: Canadian Upfronts

The ‘Little Mosque on the Prairie’ That Could: NBC shows interest in CBC Comedy

When CTV’s ‘Corner Gas‘ was picked up by WGN in the United States at some point last year, it was a bit of a surprise: not only is Corner Gas outrageously Canadian, it’s also not that funny…although I guess that that makes it fit right in at an American superstation, no? It didn’t seem like it had anything to make it stand out for an American audience outside of being a quirky attempt to play off of Canada’s reputation south of the border. However, things are different for CBC’sLittle Mosque on the Prairie’: it has a buzzworthy cultural commentary at its centre, and is apparently actually quite humorous. And, it appears that Ben Silverman (New Head of Programming for NBC Universal) is interested in the series for the American market.

For clips from the first season (Almost the entire shows, actually) and for some fascinating discussion on the various intricacies and cultural issues raised within the series, head to Little Experiences…, here on WordPress.

First off, I would expect to see the series picked up by USA Network (Irony is fun) as opposed to NBC proper, considering that NBC lacks a comedy slot and the production values aren’t quite ready for primetime network television (Just sayin’). Also, The CW is launching ‘Aliens in America’ on its Monday comedy block that covers a young pakistani who ends up smack dab in the middle of a suburban nightmare; two shows with such similar themes would be a bit overkill. However, even if only on USA Network, this would still be a huge coup for the show, and for CBC. The idea of having one of their own series picked up by an American network shows that their development cycle is putting out shows good enough to expand their market range, right? Right?

Actually, CBC might well be very, very nervous right now. Because Little Mosque on the Prairie is thus far the only successful, new, original, CANADIAN series they’ve launched in quite some time. And if that show is co-opted and taken into an American audience, what it proves is that CBC isn’t making content uniquely for Canadians when it can so easily be taken south of the border. This, anyways, will be the argument from the CBC critics out there. And I don’t know how I feel about it.

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Filed under Little Mosque on the Prairie, NBC, Television

Network Upfronts Canadian Edition: CTV Finalizes Fall Lineup

With little aplomb, CTV has announced its finalized Fall schedule today [American Perspective, Canadian Perspective], and it’s one that continues its recent trend: continue raking in the ratings with established American hits while introducing Canadian content as an attempt to seem devoted to Canadian content. And, well, there’s a reason CTV is Canada’s #1 Network. And a reason why Canadian content isn’t really part of that success.

Their fall schedule basically confirms this status, building on their existing American distribution success by adding a series of new Dramas and a single new comedy.

New Shows for the 2007-2008 Season

Private Practice

Why CTV Picked it up: They have Grey’s, this was a logical extension.

Dirty Sexy Money

Why CTV Picked it up: It has Canadian cultural icon Donald Sutherland, and CTV will jump at any chance (See: Commander in Chief) to stake a claim on the family since Global has Kiefer and 24.

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Filed under CTV, Gossip Girl, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Television, The CW, Upfronts

Network Upfronts Extravaganza 2007: Canadian Edition

So, I spent last week covering the American Network Upfronts, but in reality that was all a warmup for the epic event that is: the Canadian Upfronts. Man, what a week this is going to…oh, you mean they already selected all their shows? And they just announced them in a press conference? Really? That’s, uh…wow, I wasn’t really prepared, I expected to have all sorts of time to write previews and…wow. Okay, so I guess I should run down some of the new that came over the past few days? I’m all out of sorts here.

Who are the Players?

Global (CanWest) and CTV are really the only major players involved now that CTV bought out CityTV and the rest of CHUM. There’s Sun TV out of central Canada, but they’re not a huge player. It’s really down to the big two for the big shows.

What should we know about Canada’s simulcasting system?

Well, first off, do the math: the shows airing on five different American networks don’t easily fit onto two Canadian networks, not all of them anyways. This has left some fairly substantial hits south of the border (America’s Next Top Model, Ugly Betty) off of these main networks and onto networks like CityTV or Sun TV.

Canadian networks struggle most with the fact that many of their shows overlap. For instance, they own the rights to both CSI and Grey’s Anatomy: as a result, the network is forced to air Grey’s an hour earlier than it is in the U.S. It’s all a give and take like this, which makes for some interesting Canadian scheduling. Another example was just last night, when CTV had the rights to both the Lost and American Idol finales, and actually split Lost into two parts in Central Canada to make it work.

Which network is better at simulcasting?

Definitely CTV. Global is a complete and total mess: its HD is extremely limited, its commercials are far worse, and all in all the production values just aren’t the same. I really wish they’d revamp everything to be less ugly, too. They really need to work on that. CityTV and the others aren’t terrible, but they don’t have the same level of nationwide coverage, which is a problem for families without digital cable or the joys of timeshifting that some of us enjoy.

So what’s happened so far?

Well, CTV has not officially announced any of its pickups thus far, but there have been some leaks ahead of their early June Upfront Presentation in Toronto. Meanwhile, Global has spilled the beans on which shows they’ve picked up. For all the information, you can follow to The Hollywood Reporter. For a complete summary and analysis, keep reading.

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Filed under Back to You, Chuck, CTV, Global, Gossip Girl, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, Reaper, Television, Upfronts, Without a Trace