Canuck LA Screenings deals: who got what

American studio reps reveal that bargain-shopping Canadian networks managed to pay around 5% less for programming slates, compared to last year.

CTV and Canwest Global have, via output deals, virtually split the slates of the major studios between them following the LA screenings.

From 20th Century Fox, Canwest has picked up a slate that includes the musical comedy Glee, Sons of Tucson and the animated sitcom The Cleveland Show, a Family Guy spinoff exec produced by Seth MacFarlane.

Fox sold Rogers Media the Ed O’Neill-starring sitcom Modern Family, to add to Better Off Ted and How I Met Your Mother, which Rogers secured from Global Television.

Canwest also bought in bulk from CBS Studios, grabbing the Melrose Place remake plus The Good Wife (a legal drama from Ridley and Tony Scott) and NCIS: Los Angeles, to be paired on Global with the returning NCIS.

CBS says it managed to sell the Mischa Barton-starrer The Beautiful Life to CTV, which also bought the ABC/Disney series Flash Forward.

The broadcasters went down to Los Angeles committed to buying fewer series at lower prices in light of the hard times, and avoiding bidding wars where possible. An informal survey of the studio reps reveals that the Canadians managed to pay around 5% less for programming slates, compared to 2008 pricing.

As it already has two of the top-rated scripted shows in Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives, CTV made fewer purchases in Los Angeles than rival Canwest.

‘We needed little and bought accordingly,’ said Susanne Boyce, CTV’s president of creative, content and channels, after the studio screenathon.

Her network also acquired Miami Trauma from Warner Bros. The CBS medical drama comes from Jerry Bruckheimer, who earlier gave CTV a raft of hit series that includes the CSI franchise plus The Amazing Race, Cold Case and Without A Trace.

Like the rest of the Canadian programmers, Malcolm Dunlop, EVP of programming at Rogers Media, remains tight-lipped about his purchases ahead of the Canadian upfronts in Toronto next week, when other pick-ups from studios such as NBC Universal and Sony will be revealed.

But Dunlop says he pursued scripted dramas, comedies and reality series in LA, often in direct competition with CTV and Canwest. ‘We are much stronger than we really have ever been. We’re pumped about our schedule and about the fall and we have something to really offer viewers,’ he said after touring the CBS Studios lot on Sunday.

Virtually all the new US fall series have been picked up by the Canadians, while there are still mid-season titles up for grabs.

SunTV has yet to ink deals for new US series coming out of Los Angeles, but did grab ABC’s 20/20 from Canwest’s E! network and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! from CTV’s A Channel network.

Don Gaudet, GM of Sun TV, welcomed the return to normalcy at this year’s TV market after the disruption from the 2008 Hollywood writers strike.

‘The quality of the shows are better, and it’s good that we’re back to a normal screening process,’ he said.

From Playback Daily