Canwest goes drama shopping

The net has unveiled pilots for four homegrown dramas to balance its comedy-heavy schedule.

Canwest is looking to bolster its homegrown drama slate for its two conventional networks and Showcase Television with orders for four one-hour pilots, with a fifth to follow within weeks.

According to Christine Shipton, SVP of drama and factual content at Canwest, the pilots unveiled Thursday have been in the development hopper for some time, and in large part date back to the old regimes at Showcase and Global Television before the Canwest merger with Alliance Atlantis.

Canwest commissioned a pilot for Shattered, a drama about a reclusive cop who uses his multiple personality disorder to solve crimes, from Entertainment One’s Blueprint Film and Television and Force Four Films.

Also on tap is Lost Girl, from veteran producer Jay Firestone’s newly created Prodigy Pictures. Based on a European comic book series, it follows a young heroine with newly found supernatural powers.

Lawyers, Guns & Money is a drama from Whizbang Films about a young claims adjuster who works in a world of insurance scams and criminal activity. The pilot is set in post-industrial Hamilton, but the series was originally developed at HBO stateside. And Clean is a drama about a rehab counselor in need of therapy from veteran playwright Adam Pettle.

Shipton says Canwest is looking to shake up its development slate with dramas by either experienced TV writers or emerging writers with new voices that are paired up with experienced producers. A decision on which pilots will go to series will be made next February.

The drama pilot order also comes as Canwest and Showcase appear top-heavy with half-hour comedies like Rent-a-Goalie, Kenny vs. Spenny and ‘da Kink In My Hair. Also upcoming are the Howie Mandel vehicle Howie Do It, a co-production with NBC, and the animated primetime comedies Bob & Doug and Producing Parker.

CTV, by contrast, is more in the market for comedies, having just placed pilot orders for Hiccups and Dan For Mayor as it looks to repeat the success of Corner Gas.

From Playback Daily