Fall 2004 Highlights: CTV


CTV unveiled plans for its 2004-2005 television season today. New additions include CSI:NY, Athens, Wife Swap and more!

The announcement was made by CTV President of Programming and Chair of the Media Group Susanne Boyce, at the network’s annual presentation held at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto. At the presentation, Boyce unveiled plans for a new, dominant, 52 week schedule; one that delivers continuous, first-run programming through the entire year, beginning now. The result is the deepest, most diverse line-up in television featuring an exciting mix of returning Top 20 performers and the hottest new programs from every genre.

Opening the presentation, Ivan Fecan, President and CEO of Bell Globemedia and CEO of CTV Inc., remarked on the past 52 weeks in television; a distinguished year for CTV which finished Number One in prime-time over four key demographics (Total viewers, Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54); a year that saw CTV capture 16 of television’s Top 20 most-watched programs; a year where television’s most successful new drama (“The O.C.”) met television’s most successful new comedy (“Corner Gas”) and English Canada’s most highly-rated series since the advent of electronic measurement (“Canadian Idol”). It was a year that saw CTV dominate in News – again.

A year ago, CTV became Canada’s Number One network. This past year, CTV solidified its gain and with today’s announcement, plans to widen the gulf between itself and its competitors.

Unveiling the new season, Boyce commented that even with only a few holes to fill, the strategy of a 52-week schedule means less repeats and more programs, throughout the entire year.

The New 2004 Fall Schedule will include the newest in the series of CSI franchises, the highly anticipated “CSI: New York”, “Dr. Vegas”, “Desperate Housewives,” “The Benefactor” and “Wife Swap”. Premiering later in the season will be “Athens”, “Commando Nanny”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Kevin Hill”, “Medium”, “Law and Order: Trial By Jury”, “Related By Family”, “Veronica Mars” and Canadian dramas “Instant Star” and “Robson Arms”. CTV also acquired returning series “Hope and Faith”. The new additions join a championship line-up that features Top 20 series like “The O.C.”, “CSI”, “CSI: Miami”, “American Idol”, “Law and Order”, “ER”, “Corner Gas” and more. Together, the mix represents the best in comedy, drama and reality programming guaranteed to keep the CTV line-up fresh, provocative and attitudinally young.

“Take a top ranked line-up and make it even stronger, 52 weeks a year, by adding more first-run, hit programming than ever before. More titles, less repeats,” said Boyce. “We’ve built strength across the schedule with exciting new additions from all genres. From the must-have CSI: New York to the intriguing Desperate Housewives, to the attention grabber Wife Swap, the celebrity-driven Dr. Vegas and the lure of The Benefactor, the 2004-2005 season mixes a diverse group of newcomers with proven hits guaranteed to make every night a winner on CTV.”

Today’s declaration of a 52 week scheduling strategy follows just one week after the launch of CTV’s high impact summer schedule that features 12 new and returning series designed to springboard viewers straight into its Fall Schedule. Proving “Canadian Idol” wasn’t a one-hit wonder, the series premiered up 14 per cent over last year, bringing 2.3 million viewers to the June 1 opener. “Ultimate Love Test” followed June 2, and last night CTV debuted the premiere of MTV import “Pimp My Ride” and Season 2 of Ashton Kutcher’s hit “Punk’d”. Tonight, the two-hour premiere of “For Love or Money” drops into the schedule. Next week, Canadians can see the highly anticipated series premiere of “The Casino” (June 14) from reality titan Mark Burnett, followed immediately by “Next Action Star”. Back-to-back premieres of “The Simple Life 2: Road Trip” and “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica” follow on June 15, then critical sensation “Nip/Tuck” (June 24), followed by “The Osbournes” (July 4) and finally, the return of popular hit series “The Amazing Race”. CTV’s 2004 summer line-up also includes a slate of five original movies, which have already started their run over five consecutive weeks. Already debuted are “Burn: The Robert Wraight Story” (May 25) and “Prom Queen” (June 1). Next up: “Sleep Murder” starring Jason Priestley (June 13); “Zeyda and the Hitman” starring Judd Hirsch (Father’s Day, June 20) and “The Death and Life of Nancy Eaton” starring Jessica Pare (June 27).

“Building a powerful first-run summer schedule that resonates with Canadians is a priority,” said CTV President of Programming Susanne Boyce who points out that the injection of fresh summer programming has been an on-going successful strategy for CTV for years. “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” (1999) and “The Sopranos” (2000) are just two early examples. “Canadians have long demonstrated to us that if we build it, they will come.”

Today’s announcement also re-confirms CTV’s overall commitment to Canadian programming. With the addition of “Instant Star” and “Robson Arms”, CTV will have six original drama series available, including television’s top-rated all-Canadian drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation”, which was recently named Best Family Series in the U.S. at the Young Artists Awards. The others include Gemini Award winner and critically acclaimed “The Eleventh Hour”, investigative drama “Sue Thomas F.B. Eye” and veteran thriller “Cold Squad”, television’s original “Cold” series, set to bow for its seventh and final season. Meanwhile, returning for its second season is last year’s number one new comedy, “Corner Gas”, featuring Brent Butt and his hilarious ensemble cast. “Corner Gas” is one of three original Comedy series for CTV. The others are the award-winning stand-up hit “Comedy Now!” and its comic cousin, “Comedy Inc.”

CTV’s dominance continues in daytime, where the schedule continues to deliver prime-time-like numbers. The powerhouse line-up, featuring programs like “Vicki Gabereau”, “Balance”, “The View”, “Oprah”, “Dr. Phil” and others remain intact for the 2004-2005 season.

CTV’s 2004-2005 schedule will also feature the best in Canadian originally scripted movies with the addition of 13 new titles to its Original Movie Package. The dramatic movie bundle continues to underscore 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.

In specials, CTV looks forward to its April, 2005 presentation of “The 2005 JUNO Awards” from Winnipeg. It’s the first time ever for Canada’s premier musical showcase in Manitoba. A ratings bonanza for CTV, Boyce describes the JUNOS as “one of the biggest events of the television season.” Once again, The JUNOS will join The 77th Annual Academy Awards, The 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, The 56th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards, The 32nd Annual American Music Awards and The 31st Annual People’s Choice Awards. In all, it’s television’s most prolific Awards package.

CTV has consistently improved its prime-time ratings over the past three seasons, establishing three ratings beachheads: Number one in total viewers, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54. However, in the last 52 weeks, CTV has also become number one in Adults 18-34.

Commenting on CTV’s consistent ratings performance, Boyce said: “Our strategy is about delivering Top 20 programs to mass audiences, delivering shared experiences. Therein lies the competitive strength of conventional television.”

A look at the Top 20 list of shows in Canada over the last 52 weeks, reveals:

– 16 of the Top 20 shows were found on CTV (Viewers 2+).
– 12 of the Top 20 shows were found on CTV (Adults 18-34).
– 13 of the Top 20 shows were found on CTV (Adults 18-49).
– 15 of the Top 20 shows were found on CTV (Adults 25-54).

Since 2001-2002, CTV has experienced 36 per cent growth in its average prime-time audience (8-11 p.m.). The timing is no coincidence. CTV broke new ground three years ago when it began striking program deals with “unconventional” partners not part of the big four U.S. networks. On CTV, Canadians began making hits out of series like “The Sopranos” from HBO, “The Daily Show” from Comedy Central, “The Newlyweds” and “The Osbournes” from MTV and most recently, “Nip/Tuck” from FX. Boyce notes that other Canadian broadcasters have picked up the trend and says: “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”