CTV’s fall sked packed with reality, comedy

Last year's TV headline-makers Conan O'Brien, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell all find a home on CTV's new schedule released this morning. Dennis Dinga of UM Canada gives his take on the scheduling.

CTV announced this morning that it has acquired 11 new series for the upcoming year – seven that will debut in the fall and four that are slated for mid-season.

In addition to picking up the Conan O’Brien Show, the network boasts that it will shelter two other big names who’ve moved on from their regular programming – Paula Abdul’s talent search Got To Dance, which will debut mid-season, and Simon Cowell’s The X-Factor, which CTV has secured rights for but which is not scheduled until fall 2011.

However the late-night scheduling shambles that made headlines last year may not be over, says Dennis Dinga, VP director of broadcast buying for UM Canada, given CTV’s programming of Conan on weeknights at 1 a.m., when it will air at 11 p.m. in the US on TBS.

‘When he got moved to 11 p.m is when he got clobbered in the ratings, so his sweet spot is 1 a.m.,’ Dinga tells MiC. While this may work to CTV’s advantage, there is the risk that Conan will do well in the new 11 p.m. timeslot, ‘which will take the wind out of the sales at 1 a.m. because everyone is watching at 11 p.m.,’ adds Dinga.

‘It’s also strange because CTV on the A channel runs Jimmy Fallon from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., so are they competing against themselves as well?’ Dinga asks. ‘That whole thing is pretty weird.’

On CTV, Monday nights will remain on steady footing with Dancing With the Stars, however Castle will now air at 10 p.m. On Tuesday, a new one-hour drama, No Ordinary Family, starring Michael Chiklis, is about a family that gains superpowers after a plane crash. It will air at 8 p.m.

When So You Think You Can Dance Canada (SYTYCD) wraps up after a summer run, new drama The Defenders will kick in on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. The show is about two attorneys who live in Las Vegas who love fast cars, beautiful women and winning cases. Dick Wolf apparently didn’t lose any sleep over the cancellation of Law & Order last month, as there is a new instalment of the crime series, this time set in California – Law & Order Los Angeles will air at 10 p.m.

On Thursdays, the show that’s based on a Twitter account, $#*! My Dad Says (starring William Shatner), will take over at 8:30 p.m. after SYTYCD mid-season. CTV’s Thursday night shuffle includes moving The Big Bang Theory to 8 p.m. and CSI to 7 p.m., which Dinga believes is too early.

‘That show has sort of been evolving and it’s getting much more violent than it had been in the past as well. So it’s almost like they had to give up on one show on Thursday night and they gave up on CSI,’ Dinga says.

On Friday, Blue Bloods, a one-hour drama about New York cops, will be added to the 10 p.m. timeslot.

In addition, three new series have been added to CTV’s A channel, including Mike & Molly, a comedy about an overweight couple who meet at Overeaters Anonymous, which will air Mondays at 9:30 p.m.

Hellcats, a drama about a pre-law college student who joins a competitive cheerleading squad will follow America’s Next Top Model on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Nikita, a girl-power drama about a femme fatale, will air on Thursdays at 9 p.m.

‘I think it’s good that they scheduled a lot of that young CW programming on A and they kept it all in simulcast,’ says Dinga. ‘I think CTV did a very good job considering all the moves the US did. They had some very tough decisions.’