Global goes big for drama

The broadcaster unveiled five new dramas for fall, telling the media assembled that all of its primetime shows will be available online and on VOD this year. ZenithOptimedia's Florence Ng weighs in.

Global unveiled its slate of new fall shows yesterday at the Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville, Toronto, revealing a cop-heavy lineup with some rom-com flair. Today, it revealed the schedule to media buyers at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto.

The network acquired four new US dramas including the remake of Hawaii Five-O, the Texas-set drama Lonestar, anthology series Love Bites and the courtroom drama Outlaw, while new comedy Outsourced will follow The Office on Thursdays.

The presentation was led by Canwest EVP of content Barbara Williams, who said that the new dramas – and all of Global’s primetime content – will be available online and through VOD this year, hinting also that Canwest is in negotiations to syndicate its video player to other websites as well. (In other digi news, Williams confirmed that Global mobile apps are in the works.)

Global is coming off a strong year with the success of rookie series Glee, NCIS: Los Angeles and The Good Wife – all of which will return to Tuesdays and air in that order.

Veteran medical drama House kicks off Monday nights at 8 p.m. followed by two of the network’s new shows, Fox’s Lonestar at 9 p.m., about a con artist leading two separate lives, and Hawaii Five-O at 10 p.m. starring Alex O’Loughlin (The Shield) and Scott Caan (Oceans 11).’Everyone’s saying it’s a modern-day Dallas,’ comments Florence Ng, president, video investments, ZenithOptimedia, on Lonestar. ‘But it’s interesting that they take this guy who is an unknown to play the lead role.’

A big switch-up will see season 21 of the broadcaster’s top-rated show Survivor move to the Wednesday 8 p.m. slot to keep the simulcast with CBS, as reliable crime series Bones is bumped to Thursdays where it will air in simulcast with Fox. (All in, the network has 15 hours of simulcast in prime time this year, which is more than they’ve ever had, Williams said, a fact that Ng agreed was good for the net.)

‘I’m delighted [with the Survivor switch] because we’ve always had to have Bones in a pre-release on Wednesdays…now we get them both in simulcast, it’s a win for us,’ Williams said in an interview following the presentation.

After Bones (which Williams called a ‘surprising little machine for us over the years’), Global is offering sitcoms The Office at 9 p.m. and Outsourced at 9:30 p.m., the latter of which is about a manager who is sent to India to oversee his company’s staff of customer service representatives.’Outsourced is fun and in following The Office, there’s a bit of a flow there,’ Ng says. ‘The only thing I don’t know about is the longevity of this show. I would assume the people that watch the first few episodes will find it funny but can they sustain it? That will be interesting.’

Love Bites, which featuring three loosely connected stories of love, sex and marriage from Sex and the City writer Cindy Chupack, follows at 10 p.m.

‘I’m not 100% positive on this one,’ Ng says. ‘But it skews younger, and I think everyone is looking for younger-skewed programming. I’m just not sure with this kind of set up and structure whether it will capture viewer loyalty.’

Canadian show Shattered, starring Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica) as a former star cop who solves crimes through the use of his multiple-personality disorder, will air Fridays at 9 p.m., leading into Outlaw, a new Jimmy Smits-helmed drama about a judge turned crusading lawyer. ‘Outlaw at 10 is the right programming for that timeslot,’ Ng says. ‘Competition is quite tough – there is another show at 10 p.m. that is also stong. But it’s something new for Friday night.’

Other returning shows include 90210, moving to Fridays at 8 p.m., Brothers and Sisters, and the Sunday comedy block comprised of The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show.

Among the new Canadian shows on Canwest’s specialty slate are Top Chef Canada, Wipeout Canada, co-pro The Kennedys and suspense drama Haven.

Related stories: MiC blogger Helena Shelton of PHD in Toronto reviews the ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS and CW fall TV presentations in New York City.