Trying to import next big TV series
Canada’s private TV networks will gamble approximately $700 million in Los Angeles later this month as they try to import the next big hit TV series.
What will they be buying? ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW will showcase their new wares at their annual “upfronts” to advertisers beginning the week of May 15. The networks will be showing off new series starring the likes of Carol Burnett, Felicity Huffman, Jon Cryer, Eva Longoria, David Boreanaz and Lauren Graham. Colm Feore, Emily VanCamp and Bruce Greenwood are among the Canadian-born stars hoping their show is the next big thing.
There are fewer remakes this year, although NBC is bringing back “Will & Grace” and The CW is re-booting “Dynasty.” The superhero trend has also cooled, with “Marvel’s Inhumans” being one exception.
Among the imports guaranteed to return is No. 1 draw “The Big Bang Theory,” which has already been renewed by CBS for two more seasons. In addition, the spinoff “Young Sheldon” - featuring Jim Parsons as narrator - was ordered straight-to-series without a test pilot episode.
NBC’s “The Voice” also has a two-year renewal, as does their rookie drama “This Is Us.”
The CW has been a dependable supplier to Canadian programmers. One bonus is that so much CW content is shot north of the border. Already renewed for next season are Vancouver productions “Arrow,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” The Flash,“”Supergirl“and ”Supernatural.“Toronto-based CW shows ”Beauty and the Beast“and ”Reign“will not return.
Several of TV’s longest-running shows have been renewed, including “Survivor,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “The Simpsons” (back for at least two more seasons). Less certain are renewals for more recent fare such as “Quantico,” “Gotham,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “Blindspot.” Other American shows “on the bubble” for renewal are “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” “Code Black,” “Elementary,” “Prison Break” and the Vancouver-produced “Timeless.”
At the end of the month and into June, Canadian networks will present their new shows to advertisers in Toronto. CBC announces May 24 and has by far the deepest bench of homegrown fare.
New to CBC will be “Alias Grace,” a six-hour miniseries inspired by the story of Grace Marks, a young Irish immigrant and maid convicted of murder in Upper Canada in 1843. She was exonerated after about 30 years behind bars. Sarah Polley serves as writer/ producer.
“Frankie Drake” stars Lauren Lee Smith (“The Listener”) as Toronto’s only female P.I. “The Great Canadian Baking Show” will bring bakers across Canada together in a series of culinary challenges. The comedy “Crawford,” from the creator of “Trailer Park Boys,” features an unconventional family with a raccoon problem. Jill Hennessy (“Crossing Jordan”) is among the two-legged stars.
Long-running favourites “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” “Rick Mercer Report,” “Murdoch Mysteries,” “Dragons’ Den” (featuring the return of Arlene Dickinson), “Mr. D” and “Heartland” will all be back on CBC. New series “Kim’s Convenience” and “Workin’ Moms” will also return, and “Schitt’s Creek” is back for season 4. CBC is waiting until Netflix launches “Anne” outside Canada before deciding the fate of their Green Gables heroine. As previously announced, “This Life” will not return for a third season.
CTV is bringing back the detective drama “Cardinal” starring Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse. Production resumes later this month in Sudbury, Ont.
New homegrown shows from CTV include “The Launch,” a six-part talent search series.
“It’s the opposite of the other music shows,” says executive producer John Brunton (“The Amazing Race Canada,” “Canadian Idol”).