Rogers in ‘big league sandbox’ this fall

The media conglom bucks the gloom trend, touting a Citytv fall schedule anchored by NBC's The Jay Leno Show.

Rogers Media was strategically upbeat on Tuesday when unveiling its fall 2009 schedule to ad buyers in an offbeat year.

Mitch Dent, EVP of sales at Rogers, dismissed the industry gloom that hovered over earlier upfront presentations by CTV and Canwest Global Communications as he unveiled his network’s fall 2009 offerings at the Canon Theatre in Toronto.

‘The rhetoric is overblown and is not doing anyone any good,’ Dent said as Rogers’ Citytv and OMNI stations aim squarely to expand their audience base in prime time against rivals CTV and Global Television with new and returning US network series this fall.

‘We are in the big league sandbox,’ Dent said in the face of a slumping TV ad market as he touted a Citytv fall schedule anchored by NBC’s The Jay Leno Show and other freshman series bought at the recent Los Angeles screenings.

Rogers will stack the laughter from Leno across all five nights of the week at 10 pm, up against CTV’s popular investigative crime dramas and Global’s female-skewing dramas in the same slot this fall.

The Citytv stations will air 46 weeks of Leno over the upcoming year, hoping to remain fresh when CTV and Global Television go to repeats.

Citytv will also strip Law & Order: Special Victims Unit at 7 pm weeknights. Then the simulcasts start. Monday nights City will schedule two CBS comedies, How I Met Your Mother at 8 pm and the Jenna Elfman-starrer Accidentally on Purpose at 8:30 pm, before the NBC medical drama Trauma at 9 pm.

Tuesday night features two hours of NBC’s The Biggest Loser – acquired from rival Canwest Global – from 8 pm.

In all, the Citytv stations expect to air 16 hours of US simulcasts weekly this fall. The network claims to have already surpassed Global in ratings, especially among women 25 to 54, as it guns for market-leading CTV.

For example, an all-new Wednesday comedy night this fall will feature NBC’s Parenthood drama at 8 pm, followed by two ABC comedies, the mockumentary Modern Family at 9 pm and Cougar Town at 9:30 pm.

Citytv will go all NBC on Thursday nights with Community at 8 pm, Parks and Recreation at 8:30 pm, followed by two installments of 30 Rock from 9 pm.

Finally, Citytv scheduled ABC’s Supernanny on Friday nights at 8 pm, followed by the returning Ugly Betty at 9 pm.

Rogers also retooled weekends on Citytv with Canadian offerings: Murdoch Mysteries at 7 pm Saturday nights, followed by the Nickelodeon animated series Glenn Martin, DDS at 8 pm, Out There at 8:30 p.m and then a Canadian movie.

And NFL Football touches down on Citytv Sundays in prime time, followed by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition at 8 pm. The week then ends this fall with two Canadian reality series, My Rona Home at 9 pm and Conviction Kitchen at 10 pm.

From Playback Daily