Blog: CTV’s gold-medal presentation

MiC guest blogger Valerie McMorran of Starcom wraps up the Canadian upfronts with her review of the CTV pre-party presentation at the Masonic Temple in Toronto.

Despite the rain, I decided to walk over to CTV’s Fall launch held at The Masonic Temple, just blocks away from our office. I clearly was getting there faster than any cab could take me.

The weather created a bit of havoc, delaying the start of the show but eventually the show was underway and Ivan Fecan, president and CEO, CTVglobemedia, came to the podium to introduce the theme of the presentation: ‘CTV is number one, against all demos, all dayparts.’ CTV has a ‘powerhouse schedule and there are few gaps to fill,’ he said, showing a number of graphs illustrating CTV’s strength versus its competition, followed by a collage of program clips of their proven performers, highlighting this past year’s success of The Big Bang Theory. CTV certainly has earned its bragging rights being the number one English broadcaster for the ninth consecutive year.

For the next 40 minutes we were reminded of their success, the presentation highlighting their domination of top 20 programming including American Idol, The Amazing Race, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, CSI:NY, Desperate Housewives, The Mentalist, The Big Bang Theory and So You Think You Can Dance Canada. And why not mention the Vancouver Olympic Games? After all, London 2012 is just around the corner (at least from a marketing perspective). Brian Williams applauded CTV for all their efforts into making the Vancouver Games such a success. He then introduced many of the star Olympians, athletes that looked far more comfortable in their zone (bobsled, skis or skates) than appearing on stage with make-up and curls in their hair. Nonetheless, it was another proud moment for Canadians and we gave these athletes a well-deserved standing ovation.

Okay then, now what? It’s about 4:45pm and Rick Brace, president, revenue, business planning and sports, CTV, appeared on stage. He reminded us of the strength of television and its power when combined with online, a nice segue to their integrated marketing initiatives and a chance to showcase a few examples including Kraft and Canadian Tire.

At 5 p.m., Susanne Boyce, president, creative, content and channels, CTV, took the podium (wearing a lovely pink suit) and announced that while CTV had very few gaps to fill in their powerhouse schedule, doing very little would not be ‘in keeping with CTV’s style.’ So they acquired 11 new programs because…they can (or as Susanne said, to be ‘future ready’). They purchased Paula Abdul’s Got to Dance as a mid-season replacement as well as Simon Cowell’s X Factor, already a global success, to air on CTV in Fall 2011.

For Fall 2010, 16 out of their 18 prime-time hours are in simulcast, a key competitive edge. We saw a number of clips for the new entries on CTV and A including mid-season replacements. At this point, showcasing just a few may have made more of an impact, to be honest. Some of the new dramas with stars from the past include The Defenders starring Jim Belushi, Blue Bloods starring Tom Selleck and No Ordinary Family starring Michael Chiklis. To round out the comedy success of Big Bang Theory, $#*! My Dad Says starring William Shatner will air on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. up against Citytv’s comedy block (Community and 30 Rock). Conan O’Brien (a.k.a. Coco) joins the late night line-up, seemingly happy to be employed again after this past year’s debacle with NBC. Compared to CTV, A will be the ‘high efficiency driver’ as declared by Ivan earlier in the show, with some new dramas (Hellcats and Nikita) likely to appeal to the 18 to 24 year olds.

Oh yes, the news of the day…Marilyn Dennis finally gets her daytime show to debut this fall.

And for those who wanted to attend the ‘#1 Party,’ they took a bus ride down to the new Thompson Hotel. Ivan declared he would be disappointed if no one ended up in the roof top pool! Now that sounds like a party.

-Valerie McMorran is the senior vice president of investment at Starcom MediaVest Group in Canada.

Editor’s Note: While we don’t know if anyone ended up in the pool, the Thompson Hotel turned out to be quite a swanky venue for a party. Lots of CTV’s talent was on hand to spice up the scene and the network ran a loop of the earlier sales presentation in a private viewing theatre – a venue that in order to get to, you had to sidle by a very popular bar staffed by some interestingly attired (okay, shirtless) male bartenders. Upfront, indeed.

Related blog posts: Canwest upfronts: A gleeful launch; Singing, dancing and drama at Rogers’ upfront