The Canadian network upfront dust has settled and 2015-16 schedules have been revealed. How does their Cancon stack up in terms of quantity, before we’re able to judge much on quality? Let’s take a closer look based on their recently announced lineups for fall and winter:
- Canadian scripted shows: 9 1/2
- New: The Romeo Section, This Life, Young Drunk Punk
- Returning: Heartland, Murdoch Mysteries, Rick Mercer Report, 22 Minutes, Schitt’s Creek, Mr. D, X Company
- Grade: B+
The public broadcaster’s lifeblood is original programming, making it unique among the major networks. Budget woes mean more creativity, if you can call reduced seasons an example of creativity, but also new arts and factual programming as well as international acquisitions. CBC gets a half point for airing City’s original production Young Drunk Punk; I admire the cooperative spirit that allows both networks to spread out their Cancon spending without the benefit of appropriate specialty channels of their own, like the biggest private networks who can air one show across multiple channels. With additional factual and news programming, including new shows this summer, CBC is the home of hope for a homegrown television lover.
- Canadian scripted shows: 1 1/2
- New: Mr. D
- Returning: Sunnyside
- Grade: D+
I’m grading on a curve for this smallest of the networks, and hoping they have more originals up their sleeve despite their minimalist fall announcement. Seed, Package Deal and Meet the Family are dead, but they recently ordered more episodes of sketch comedy show Sunnyside for fall. While Young Drunk Punk will benefit from CBC’s bigger reach, Mr. D may get some new eyeballs but a larger audience than its CBC run is highly unlikely. A second season of Young Drunk Punk hasn’t been announced yet, and City didn’t take the upfronts as an opportunity to do so.
- Canadian scripted shows: Zero
- New: Nothing
- Returning: Zilch
- Grade: Is there such thing as an F-?
They recently cancelled homegrown medical drama Remedy while picking up the requisite American medical drama, and Rookie Blue may or may not be ending this summer. Unless Global rushes their greenlit The Code and Houdini and Doyle into production and finds a cancellation in its simsub schedule during the regular television season, they’re unlikely to have any scripted original shows until at least spring 2016 — on par with their 2014/15 schedule.
- Canadian scripted shows: 2
- New: Nothing
- Returning: Saving Hope, Motive
- Grade: C+
Original productions on CTV are positively abundant compared to their rival Global — though some credit goes to their increased Cancon spending requirements after Bell’s purchase of Astral. Even then, they have one scripted show each starting in fall and winter, with Saving Hope out of the gate first in a plum timeslot. They still have a produced season of the sadly tainted Spun Out waiting in the wings. Will they schedule it when gaps appear in their simulcast schedule due to U.S. cancellations, or burn it off quietly some Saturday evening, or kill it entirely? Would they be able to kill it entirely without issues with the funding agencies? Will we hear soon about more new original series for CTV? So many questions, and we can only wait for answers.