CHCH expands programming for fall

Starting this fall, Hamilton-based TV channel CHCH will be bringing a new face to local prime time.

Since it ceased to be E! last year after being purchased by Channel Zero, the channel has stocked its prime-time schedule with a double bill of movies sandwiched between its 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. But although the newscasts have proven a success, they found that viewers tended to only watch one movie, Romen Podzyhun, president, CEO and director of programming, Channel Zero, explains. At the same time, he says, advertisers were asking for more traditional programming.

All of that changes this fall, when the channel unveils its new suite of programming to viewers, reducing its movie lineup to one per evening and adding a host of new shows. In addition to one new local program, Sportsline with Mark Hebscher (based on a previous program of the same name on Global) weeknights at 7 p.m., the channel is introducing more news, drama and comedy as well. The channel will also beef up its sports offering with a once-a-week NBA game pickup from ABC on the weekend.

The channel picked up ‘four of the top five’ news shows from the US networks, Podzyhun explains, including 48 Hours Mystery (Saturdays at 10 p.m.), 20/20 (Fridays at 10 p.m.), Nightline (weeknights at 11:30 p.m.) and 60 Minutes (which will air Sundays at 7 p.m. starting January 2011). Each of the news shows will air in simulcast.

Drama-wise, the channel went sci-fi, picking up the sixth season of the CW’s Supernatural (Thursdays at 10 p.m.) and the 10th season of Smallville (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.). On Mondays at 8 p.m., it will air the fourth season of NBC’s Chuck in simulcast. CHCH also picked up the syndicated past seasons of Everybody Hates Chris, which will air Monday to Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Late night will see Jimmy Kimmel (in simulcast weeknights at 12 a.m.) in the CHCH house, with Ed the Sock taking over Saturday nights with I Hate Hollywood at 12 a.m. and This Movie Sucks from 12:30 a.m. until 2:30 a.m.

Podzyhun also added that, this fall, the Montreal channel CJNT will be rebranded as Metro 14, featuring ‘Omni-like’ programming that will include international music videos during the day, more US programming, and one foreign film in prime time.

Plans for the promotional campaign behind the new programming have not been finalized, but CHCH spokesperson Rhonda Messieh confirmed that a localized multimedia campaign will be launched for fall.