VisionTV to develop Canadian Britcom-esque series

The multi-faith network is looking to sked Cancon comedy - with an interactive web angle - to appeal to the 50+ crowd, and is open to talking to brands about integration opps.

VisionTV is once again opening calls for pitches for a commissioned series – this time for a half-hour dramedy that will click with its female-leaning 50-plus audience.

Joan Jenkinson, director of independent production at Vision parent S-VOX, tells MiC the broadcaster is wide open to brand integration possibilities, as well as sponsorship and product placements as part of the content proposals. ‘We know a lot of producers are thinking that way; we’re definitely open to the possibility of doing that, and we don’t have any limitations on what can be done.’

The move follows the success of Halifax Film’s Soul, VisionTV’s first venture into original Canadian drama production, which premiered in February and is due to rerun Monday nights at 9 pm this summer, starting June 15. ‘We decided that we wanted to target the demographic more specifically to the age range of our viewers,’ Jenkinson tells MiC. ‘We did a drama before, so we wanted to do a comedy this time, which seems to be a better fit for our audience. We have a lot of Britcoms, which seem to really resonate well with our audience; they get really good numbers that we wanted to emulate [with] a Canadian [comedy].’

As part of its call for proposals, the multi-faith, multicultural broadcaster also emphasizes the need for a web-based interactive component that includes the streaming of full episodes online. ‘It can be something as sophisticated as iProphesy,’ explains Jenkinson, referring to the series which launched with an online role-playing game extension in February, ‘or other ways of interacting with the content completely online, like with Harper’s Island. We’ll be having those kinds of discussions with producers once we know what we’re doing.’

Winning projects will be announced by July 13 – and Jenkinson says conversations with potential advertisers should ensue within the three weeks following those announcements. Budgeting between $200,000 and $300,000 per ep, the channel hopes to wrap shooting by March 2010, and take between six and 13 half-hours to air that fall.

With files from Playback Daily