Fall 2003 Highlights: CTV


CTV unveiled its primetime schedule for the upcoming 2003-2004 season today. A total of 8 NEW SERIES will be added to the lineup of Canada’s number one television Network; a schedule that featured eight of the year’s Top 10 series, including CSI and CSI: Miami, television’s most watched drama and television’s most-watched new series.

The announcement was made today by Susanne Boyce, CTV President of Programming and Chair of the Media Group, at the Network’s Annual Fall Launch Presentation held at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.

The 2003-2004 CTV schedule includes FIVE NEW U.S. SERIES, representing the best in comedy and drama from the United States. New titles include “American Juniors”, “Whoopi”, “Cold Case”, “Nip/Tuck” and “Joan of Arcadia”. The new additions join a championship lineup that features Top 10 series like “ER”, “American Idol”, “Law and Order”, “Third Watch” and more.

“These latest additions – compelling dramas, celebrity-driven comedy and sure-fire reality – are designed to fortify our top-ranked schedule,” says Susanne Boyce, President of Programming and Chair of the Media Group, CTV. “In drama, we’ve added the best new shows the season has to offer like the inspired Cold Case, the inventive Nip/Tuck and the imaginative Joan of Arcadia. From intense dramas to family fare, to variety and stand-up comedy that’ll make viewers laugh out loud, we’ve built strength across the schedule that makes every night a winner.”

Today’s announcement also sees CTV enhance its leadership position with its slate of original series. THREE NEW CANADIAN SERIES will join the fold for the 2003-2004 schedule as CTV introduces two new original comedies – “Comedy Inc.” and “Corner Gas” and one new drama entitled “Keys Cut Here”. Together, the trio expands the Network’s overall domestic portfolio that proudly boasts 5 ORIGINAL DRAMAS and FOUR ORIGINAL COMEDIES. In the mix and returning to the schedule are the critically successful “The Eleventh Hour”, veteran thriller “Cold Squad”, teen crush “Degrassi: The Next Generation” and stand-up hit “Comedy Now!”.

CTV’s 2003-2004 schedule will also feature the best in Canadian originally scripted movies with the addition of 10 NEW TITLES to its Original Movie Package. The dramatic movie bundle represents CTV’s unparalleled commitment to scripted movies and mini-series. Highlighting this slate is “Lives of the Saints”, an epic four hour mini-series starring Sophia Loren, Jessica Paré and Kris Kristofferson. It’s the Network’s first in a new strand of dramatic movies entitled Heroes, Champions and Villains and its production represents the single largest commitment ever by CTV to a movie or miniseries.

CTV will also premiere theatrical presentation, “My Own Private Oshawa”, a touching and funny award-winning Canadian movie based on the hit play of the same name. It’s a gay, coming-of-age comedy set in the late seventies in the working class environment of Oshawa, Ontario.

On the variety front, CTV confirms Edmonton as host-city of “THE 2004 JUNO AWARDS” and announces a new two-year extension with CARAS that will see Canada’s hottest new Awards show broadcast on CTV through 2005. The announcement comes on the heels of April’s record-breaking JUNO Awards on CTV that drew more viewers than the Grammy Awards (2.2 million) in Canada.

From News, the headline remains the same — again: “CTV NEWS IS NUMBER ONE.” National, local, and number one in sheer resources, not to mention the ratings. Once again, CTV is the envy of the broadcast landscape, sandwiching its 2003-2004 primetime lineup between Canada’s most watched newscasts, top-ranked “CTV Local News” (6-7 p.m.) and of course, late night national news champion, “CTV News With Lloyd Robertson” (11 p.m.). CTV Chief News Anchor Lloyd Robertson remains Canada’s most-trusted anchor, celebrating 50-plus years in broadcasting. CTV News’ success begins at the crack of dawn every day as morning star “Canada AM”, continues to prepare Canadians for the headlines of the day. Political newsmagazine “Question Period” sizzles into its 32nd season while Gemini Award-winning “W-FIVE”, North America’s longest-running newsmagazine, returns to deliver compelling exposes. Expanding on last year’s success, “W-FIVE Presents 21C” returns as does CTV’s documentary slot, poised to deliver 11 new titles. (See “Canadian Television Package” Addendum.)

The action continues in SPORTS for 2003-2004 as CTV takes viewers to the international sporting stage for coverage from the very best of golf, skating and auto racing. CTV has the PGA cornered with coverage of “The 2003 NEC Invitational World Golf Championships”, “The 2003 Bell Canadian Open”, “The 2003 American Express Championship”, “The 2003 THE TOUR Championship” and “The 2003 EMC World Cup”. From the links to the rink, CTV commentators Rod Black, Debbi Wilkes, Tracy Wilson and Dave Randorf will present a new season of spins, jumps and triple axles from the world of figure skating with “The MasterCard Skate Canada International 2003” and “The 2004 BMO Financial Group Canadian Figure Skating Championships” From the rink to the road, CTV revs up for “he 2003 Formula One Air Canada Grand Prix” from the Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal.

The new schedule kicks off MONDAYS with the sophomore season of “8 Simple Rules” at 8 p.m., followed by new series “Whoopi” at 8:30 p.m. Canada’s No. 9-ranked series “Third Watch” returns for a fifth season at 9 p.m., followed by last season’s most-watched new drama, CSI: Miami at 10 p.m.

On TUESDAYS, newcomer “American Juniors” will premiere at 8 p.m. before giving way to “American Idol” later in the Fall. At 9 p.m. Jim Belushi returns to kickoff back-to-back comedies, “According to Jim” followed by “Less Than Perfect” at 9:30 p.m. Showing up in a new day-slot is gripping drama “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”, now entering its fifth season premiering at 10 p.m.

On WEDNESDAYS, CTV returns hit comedy series “My Wife and Kids” at 8 p.m. followed by teen crush “Degrassi: The Next Generation” at 8:30 p.m. The night is anchored by back-to-back heavyweight dramas, “The West Wing” and Law & Order”, hailed by critics as two of the very best on television, at 9 and 10 p.m.

CTV THURSDAYS begin at 8 p.m. with original comedy series “Just For Laughs Gags”, followed at 8:30 by “Scrubs” and then televisions most-watched drama, “CSI” at 9 p.m. At 10 p.m. CTV returns ratings juggernaut “ER” to the schedule. Audience averages for both “CSI” and “ER” surpasses 2 million viewers every episode.

On FRIDAYS, new series “Joan of Arcadia” debuts at 8 p.m. followed by the bewitching return of “Charmed” at 9 p.m. Peabody Award-winning critical favorite “Boomtown” travels from Sundays to Fridays at 10 p.m. and carries on the tradition of CTV crime dramas in the time period (“Law and Order: SVU”, “Cold Squad”).

The weekend starts SATURDAYS with investigative newsmagazine “W-FIVE” premiering in a new day and time at 7 p.m. Canadian dramatic series “Sue Thomas F.B. Eye” delves into a sophomore season at 8 p.m., followed by stand-up hit “Comedy Now!” at 9 p.m. and newcomer ”Comedy Inc.” at 9:30 p.m. Cult hit, “The Osbournes”, finishes its run of original episodes with back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Finally, CTV’s SUNDAY night lineup begins with intrigue at 7 p.m. when Golden Globe Award-winning actress Jennifer Garner returns in the thrilling “Alias”. Intriguing new drama, “Cold Case” picks up the trail at 8 p.m., followed by “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” at 9 p.m. Sunday night’s at 10 p.m. will feature all original episodes for 52 weeks as CTV will premiere the new season of “Nip/Tuck” followed by “Cold Squad”, “The Eleventh Hour” and “The Sopranos”.

Reflecting on the 2002-2003 season, Boyce notes CTV was the undisputed leader in Canada.
She notes that:

– In primetime, CTV finished with an unbeatable 8 of the Top 10 shows and 14 of the Top 20 shows for all viewers (2+).
– Meanwhile in the two most influential selling demos (Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-49), CTV held an impressive 8 and 7 of the Top 10 shows respectively.
– CTV has strength across the schedule with Top 20 shows on six nights of the week.
– CTV has the top 5 most-watched dramas in Canada, led by CSI, ER and CSI: Miami
– CTV is Canada’s leader with more original drama than any other network.
– CTV has Canada’s most trusted and most-watched National Newscast.
– CTV’s schedule boasts the most prolific awards package on television, including “The Academy Awards”, television’s most-watched show of the year, and “The JUNO Awards”, the newest favourite Award show for Canadians. This year “The 2003 JUNO Awards” drew 2.2 million viewers, eclipsing even The Grammy Awards, to claim the crown for most-watched musical showcase in Canada.