April 15, 2014

Upfronts 2014 | Gloryosky’s Guide to the 2014-15 Canadian Television Upfronts

It’s almost Canadian television upfront time again, where major Canadian media conglomerates sell advertisers on the merits of their programming. This article will be updated as dates, venues, and times for the upfronts are finalized.

Bell Media (CTV): Thursday, June 5, 2014
CBC Television (English): date and venue TBA
Channel Zero (CHCH): Thursday, June 12, 2014; venue TBA; early morning
Rogers Media (City): likely Tuesday, June 3, 2014; time and venue TBA
Shaw Media (Global): likely Wednesday, June 4, 2014; time and venue TBA

Unless otherwise noted, all English-language Canadian television upfronts are held in Toronto, Ontario. Upfront events are not public events; they are by invitation only.

Usually, CBC Television is first with its mid-May media day. CBC Television tends to release its fall schedule ahead of time; this year, CBC Television released the fall 2014-15 schedule (and the 2013-14 cancellations – blame CBC’s recent budgetary cutbacks for that one) earlier than usual, so CBC Television lays practically all its cards on the table weeks ahead of its media day. I don’t understand why CBC Television does this, but that’s its usual strategy.

Rogers Media, Shaw Media, and Bell Media focus most on their terrestrial program services. That reads as obvious, but having attended all three upfronts (Rogers Media in 2012 and 2013; Canwest/Shaw Media from 2010-12; Bell Media in 2012 and 2013), City, Global, and CTV are the top priorities. In particular, Rogers Media, Shaw Media, and Bell Media focus on their terrestrial program services’ prime-time schedules. Bell Media sets the majority of its time aside for CTV’s offerings, whereas Rogers Media and Shaw Media spread attention between their terrestrial and specialty offerings.

Bell Media actually tweeted CTV’s upfront date on Monday, April 14, 2014. Unless I’m bad at paying attention to other online marketing efforts, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a major Canadian media company promote an upfront save-the-date on Twitter. It’s a welcome trend; I hope it spreads.

CHCH’s 2014 upfront will feature the Tiny Talent Time revival in some way. That’s not much of a spoiler, as both the date and Tiny Talent Time‘s involvement were confirmed to me by CHCH marketing manager Rhonda Messieh on March 12, 2014. The Tiny Talent Time revival was announced during CHCH’s 2013 upfront, so the TTT revival has been a while in coming.

Corus Entertainment, Stornoway Communications, ZoomerMedia and Blue Ant Media do not participate in the annual upfront season, as far as I know.

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November 13, 2013

News: November 13, 2013 Canadian Television Press Release Potrzebie

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June 5, 2011

Interview | Fred Ewanuick, Dan for Mayor

Dan for Mayor‘s second season – which premiered Sunday, June 5 at 7:30 PM ET – mirrors Dan Phillips’ run for the mayorship of Wessex, Ontario.  Dan didn’t really “win” the election so much as survive it.  Dan for Mayor‘s second season is the result of an almost-across-the-board renewal of CTV’s 2010-11 output, as DfM‘s mid-season decline didn’t do the show any favours.

Fred Ewanuick is a survivor himself.  The Vancouver native is best known for playing Hank Yarbo on Corner Gas (2004-09.)  For three seasons, he was Nick Papathanasiou on CTV’s Robson Arms (2005-08.)  Regardless of what one thinks of Dan for Mayorthe show splitting off into “good” and “shit” camps, with little inbetween – Ewanuick deserves his Dan for Mayor starring role.  Given his early background and acting career, Ewanuick’s taken the long road to television infamy.

Fred Ewanuick interview

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June 3, 2011

Upfront Week: Lloyd Robertson’s final newscast; Corus, Channel Zero and CTV news

The most major news first: Lloyd Robertson’s last-ever newscast will be September 1, 2011.  Nothing’s going to top that, so here’s some news from the past two days that I haven’t covered yet.

News NOT about Lloyd Robertson

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May 30, 2011

Upfront Week: CTV Two to debut fall 2011; Comedy Network summer schedule highlights

It’s upfront week.  The major Canadian media companies want to reveal their new wares, mostly American, to the overfed masses.  To that end, most of this article is about The Comedy Network, and unrelated to the fall 2011-12 season.  CTV’s unloading its big guns Thursday, but at least one major news story has already been offed.

Major news story after the jump

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May 9, 2011

News: New seasons for five CTV programs; The Borgias debuts on CTV

It’s almost time for summer season, the period in television where reruns abound, and Canadian filler peeks its weird little head.  Among the highlights relevant to CTV’s CanCon:

  • Flashpoint returns for a fourth season on Friday, June 17, at 8:00 PM ET.  CTV claims a date-and-time simulcast with CBS.  ”Encore” episodes currently air Fridays at 9:00 PM ET.
  • Comedy Now! will begin its thirteenth season Saturday, June 4, at 10:00 PM ET.  No further information has been given; I am presently looking into that.
  • Dan for Mayor‘s second season premieres Sunday, June 5 at 7:30 PM ET.
  • Hiccups‘ second season will have its first three episodes air Monday at 8:00 PM ET, starting May 30.  The show will then move to Sundays at 8:30 PM ET, starting June 19.
  • The Borgias will make its CTV broadcast debut Tuesday, June 21, at 10:00 PM ET.
  • So You Think You Can Dance Canada‘s fourth season returns Monday, June 20 at 8:00 PM ET.  The results shows begin Tuesday at 8:00 PM ET, starting July 5.

Other thoughts after the jump

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December 17, 2010

News: Midseason 2010-11 schedules, the CanCon edition

I realize the first two pieces are from last week, but news has been slow lately.  CTV announced two pilots and a series order on Thursday, December 9.  The two hour-long CTV pilots are Saving Hope, a medical drama set in Toronto, and Stay with Me, about a lawyer/stay-at-home mother.  Ilana Frank’s Thump Inc. is behind Saving Hope, while Sarrazin Couture Entertainment is behind Stay with Me.

In addition, CTV and MuchMusic have ordered six one-hour episodes of Epitome Pictures’ Highland Gardens, a show about young Canadians trying to make it in Hollywood.  Epitome Pictures is best known for Degrassi: the Next Generation/Degrassi and Instant Star.  The showrunner is Martin Gero, a man best known for Stargate Atlantis, Young People Fucking and HBO’s Bored to Death.

I can safely say I am not interested in the two CTV pilots.  As someone commented at TV, Eh?, they read like St. Elsewhere and The Good Wife.

Highland Gardens sounds similarly generic, but Gero could make something out of the premise.  Likewise, Malcolm MacRury’s attached to Saving Hope, which probably means Cra$h & Burn is dead in the water.

I’m not going to complain about the three new projects, given that they won’t make air until at least the 2011-12 season, but CTV isn’t much for originality.  At least CTV’s not ripping off $#*! My Dad Says yet.


CityTV’s midseason slate includes the second season of My RONA Home (Sunday, April 3, 2011: 9:00 PM ET) and the fourth season of Murdoch Mysteries (Wednesday, March 16, 2011: 10:00 PM ET.)  Airdates and times are, of course, subject to change.

CityTV’s midseason is stuffed full of American shows and Law & Order: UK.  I don’t want to dog CityTV, but when did it become the most conservative networklet in Canadian television?  Most of the prime-time schedule consists of NBC and ABC shows not nailed down by Shaw Media or CTV.  Murdoch Mysteries is being rerun in two different timeslots.

I’m not going to blame Rogers entirely for the channel rot, as CityTV has been on a slow, steady decline since the tail end of the CHUM Television era.  At the same time…My RONA Home and Out There with Melissa DiMarco reruns?!  I honestly can’t believe we’ve come to this point.


CTV will debut one show in the beginning of January.  The Marilyn Denis Show‘s first episode will air Monday, January 10, 2011, at 10:00 AM ET/PT.  In addition, The Listener‘s second season will premiere Friday, January 28, 2011, at 8:00 PM ET/PT.

Flashpoint has a “mid-season premiere,” which is a fancy way of saying holiday specials are over for another year.  The show returns Tuesday, January 4, 2011, at 10:00 PM ET/PT.

Not to be outdone in the CanCon department, Global has…given a second window to Haven.  The first-season premiere airs Friday, January 21, 2011, at 9:00 PM ET/PT.  Yes.  One show, and it’s imported from Showcase.

Seriously, news like this makes me wonder why the hell I do URBMN.  I understand the limitations of Canadian television, but Canadian content laws need to be tightened up when networks like Global and CityTV whittle the CanCon stick down to a shiv.  This country is just now inching to the point where our shows are becoming Americanized.

Meanwhile, Shaw Media is continuing the Canwest practice of slapping a show across five or six channels.  It boggles the mind.  Oh, well.  Enjoy Bob’s Burgers and Winter Wipeout.

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November 8, 2010

News: Picnicface‘s first season “announced” by Breakthrough Films & Television

This is one of the better stories I’ve posted on URBMN.  A Picnicface television series, imaginatively titled Picnicface, has been added to Breakthrough Films & Television’s website.  Both Breakthrough and The Comedy Network are responsible for the series.

Breakthrough announces Picnicface as “in keeping with the great tradition of Canadian sketch comedy shows like SCTV or Kids in the Hall.”  While I’m not sold on Breakthrough’s hype, Picnicface have gained their own measure of notoriety.

Read Gratuitous Amounts of Info

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