Motherhood, Suburbia laughers land at City

Three new sitcoms and one drama joining Citytv's mid-season sched.

Citytv is putting the emphasis on comedy this spring, adding three new sitcoms and one drama to its mid-season schedule, while continuing to seek audiences through a mix of scripted fare and reality.

US pickups In the Motherhood and Surviving Suburbia, both from ABC, and NBC’s Parks and Recreation comprise the new comedies, while the five-station mini-net has also added the NBC drama Kings, starring Ian McShane of HBO’s Deadwood.

Malcolm Dunlop, EVP of programming at parent Rogers Media, is looking to build a bridge from the spring to the fall.

‘That was the reasoning behind things like Kings, Motherhood and Suburbia,’ he says. ‘When we look at all these shows, we think they all have the potential of being on the network in the fall.’

Motherhood stars Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) and Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm) as mothers trying to cope with their kids, their careers and the men in their lives. The series will simulcast with ABC on Thursdays at 8 pm starting Mar. 26, to be followed by Parks and Recreation as of Apr. 9. Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler stars.

Recreation will be followed at 9 pm by back-to-back episodes of 30 Rock, making a ‘nice one-two combination,’ according to Dunlop, referring to Poehler and Tina Fey’s time together on SNL.

Dunlop says City wants to build a strong Thursday comedy block, much like NBC did in the ’80s with The Cosby Show and Cheers and in the ’90s with Friends and Seinfeld.

‘We think that maybe people are looking to comedy, with the bad economic times…and maybe it’s time for situation comedies to make a big comeback,’ he offers.

Bob Saget (Full House) fronts the comedy Surviving Suburbia – about the troubles of a suburban family when their new neighbors move in – airing in simulcast Mondays at 9:30 pm, beginning April 6. Suburbia follows repeats of Canuck laugher Less Than Kind at 9 pm, which has struggled to build an audience.

The lone new drama, Kings, about a modern-day monarchy in an alternate realty New York, debuts Mar. 15 at 8 pm with a two-hour episode.

Returning to City’s schedule in March are new seasons of Chuck and home-grown crime drama Murdoch Mysteries, while Nip/Tuck will air new episodes beginning Mar. 4.

New reality offerings in the lineup include the cooking series The Chopping Block – in simulcast with NBC Wednesdays at 8 pm – while Make Me a Supermodel 2 premieres Tuesday, Apr. 2 at 9 pm.

From Playback Daily