On Monday, June 7 CTV announced its fall schedule for the 2004 television season. CTV will offer a jam-packed schedule, offering an enlarged line-up of primetime programming.
I think that CTV has overbought programming this fall, leaving many programs underserved. Each week CTV will simulcast about 16 hours of programs and time-shift about 7 hours of programs.
CTV’s daytime schedule remains the same. All of Canada’s favourite daytime shows return for another season: Canada a.m., Live! With Regis & Kelly, Balance, Daily Planet, the View, Vicki Gabereau, the Bold & the Beautiful, General Hospital, Oprah, Dr. Pill, E-Talk Daily and Jeopardy. I can’t understand why CTV decided to dump Wheel of Fortune last spring instead of Jeopardy. From information I collected from Programming Insider, Wheel of Fortune gets ratings that are twice those of Jeopardy. However CTV carries both shows in the Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Until I read Channel Canada’s CTV schedule grid, I was assumed that CTV had dropped some of my favourite primetime programs because they didn’t announce their renewal in the press release. Luckily CTV only moved four of its most successful programs to weekend afternoons. CTV renewed three ABC comedies (8 Simple Rules, Less than Perfect and My Wife and Kids) and joining them on Sunday afternoons for two hours beginning at 4pm is ABC’s hottest new comedy from fall 2003, Hope & Faith. CTV will air WB’s Charmed on Saturday afternoons at 5pm/4ct. I hope that CTV will be able to pre-air Charmed by one day and all four ABC comedies by two to five days so that we can enjoy new episodes before they air on the originating US networks. I hope CTV doesn’t carry any sports programming which may pre-empt these afternoon programming blocks like the sporting events that regularly pre-empted Seventh Heaven two seasons ago.
Sunday evening is filled with high impact programming. I thought it was a no-brainer that CTV would renew everyone’s favourite network dramas: Alias, Cold Case and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. I wasn’t surprised that CTV bought Desperate Housewives and will be airing it at 7pm/9ct until Alias returns midseason. Unfortunately I’ve already seen the fifth season of the Sopranos and can’t believe that CTV is two seasons behind. A two season delay is something I expect from British or Australian terrestrial broadcasters. I think that Grey’s Anatomy could be successful for CTV when it starts midseason in the 10pm timeslot, especially when competitors don’t air competitive programming in the Central Time Zone. I hope that when CTV airs its five award shows that they don’t pre-empt new episode of imported dramas.
Two new hours of programming joins Monday veteran CSI: Miami. At 8pm/7ct, CTV will air The Benefactor, ABC’s clone of the Apprentice, and in January Athens, the next O.C. or Melrose Place from FOX. I am anxiously expecting Athens hoping that it doesn’t start before The Benefactor finishes. At 9pm/8ct, CTV will hopefully pre-air Law & Order on a new night, after being displaced from its longstanding timeslot by CSI: NY. I wonder if NBC move Law & Order midseason to a more CTV friendly time-slot.
Until American Idol returns in January, Tuesday will be filled with one hour of Canadian content. I think that dropping Can Con on any day other than Saturday seems OK. Returning in September are According to Jim, Scrubs and Law & Order: SVU. I hope that CTV will be more committed to its comedies this year, as it failed to air more than half of the episode of Scrubs this season as NBC bounced it back and forth from Thursday to Tuesday. I think that CTV’s decision to buy Veronica Mars is flawed because it will lose a significant number of potential viewers as the originating US network, UPN, will air new episode beginning in September. Any delay in broadcasting episode diminishes the value of the show.
Joining Wednesday veterans The West Wing and American Idol’s results show will be Wife Swap, one of ABC’s British remakes, and CSI: NY, another spin-off of CTV’s number one show. I wonder how much viewer CTV will lose not simulcasting Wife Swap at ABC’s 10pm/9ct time-slot. I hope that CTV’s expectation that CSI: NY will generate more viewers than the original Law & Order becomes reality. I expect currently unscheduled Related by Family will slide into the 9:30/8:30ct time slot when American Idol starts in January at its new 9pm/8ct time. CTV also bought Kevin Hill, which airs on UPN at 9pm/8c. Please read the comment about Veronica Mars because it also applies to Kevin Hill.
“Must See Thursday” is better than ever on CTV. The O.C. begins regular simulcasts when its new season begins in November. Thursday veterans, CSI: and ER, round out night.
Last year’s newcomer Joan of Arcadia return along with Third Watch one hour earlier at 9pm/8ct. CBS’s raving new show Dr. Vegas moves into the final hour to complete the night. If Dr. Vegas proves to be a success CTV may have a conflict as Law & Order: Trial by Jury moves into the time-slot. CTV also bought Commando Nanny, which airs on the WB at 8:30/7:30ct. Please read the comment about Veronica Mars because it also applies to Commando Nanny.
Returning to Saturdays on CTV at new times are Sue Thomas: F. B. Eye at 7pm/ 9ct and W-Five at 10pm. Joining them are simulcasts of CBS’s Amazing Race at 8pm/7ct and Crimetime Saturday, repeats mostly of CSI: and its spin-off shows, at 9pm/8ct. Midseason replacements, Comedy Now! and Comedy Inc, may need to be edited to remove adult-oriented content seen in previous seasons.
Reminder: the following midseason replacements have not been scheduled yet: Commando Nanny, Instant Star, Kevin Hill, Medium, Related By Family, Robson Arms , Veronica Mars , The Eleventh Hour and Cold Squad. I expect CTV to schedule them as fall schedule shows air encore episode on the American networks. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of these shows don’t air until June 2005.
In conclusion CTV has bought lots of new shows. Some new shows are expected to be hits like CSI: NY. Unlike last year, I expect that more than one will flop. This year CTV has bought too much American programming. Given that CTV has a proven success in selecting hits CTV will be less likely to have many timeslots opening up midseason. This will force CTV to return to its perennial bad habit of neglecting some of its programs. Some shows and some episode risk being pre-empted during their first run on American networks and other shows like Charmed have already been pushed to fringe broadcast times. If CTV isn’t lucky, it risks dissatisfying more of its viewers this next year.