More Fall TV: the Canwest lineup

Global is debuting four new one-hour prime-time series, while specialty channels will air several new recession-appropriate DIY and adventure programming. Major makeovers for specialties were also announced.

Canwest announced its fall TV lineup this morning, along with refreshes of Showcase, Showcase Diva and Action. A new lineup for its popular specialty channels HGTV and History Television was also announced by Barbara Williams, EVP, content, Canwest Broadcasting.

On Global, two new shows have been added to the Tuesday night lineup – NCIS: Los Angeles (9 pm), a spinoff starring hip hop artist LL Cool J and Chris O’Donnell (Scent of a Woman) as they lead a team of undercover investigators. The one-hour drama will be followed by The Good Wife at 10 pm, starring Julianna Margulies (ER) who plays a politician’s wife who has to persevere through a public scandal (a Chicago-based version of the Eliot Spitzer brouhaha?).

On Wednesday, in what might be the antidote to High School Musical, new series Glee will air at 9 pm. The one-hour musical comedy about geeky misfits from the creator of Nip and Tuck will be a youthful lead-in to another new buy, the recreated 1990s drama Melrose Place, (starring newbies Ashlee Simpson-Wentz (Seventh Heaven) and Canadian Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield)). Also new to the schedule is a Family Guy spinoff series, The Cleveland Show, which will air Sundays at 8:30 pm.

HGTV will see its darling handyman Mike Holmes in a new series this fall called Holmes Inspection. In the one-hour series the punnily-named Holmes will help homeowners who previously got ripped off on their inspections. As well, the channel will give viewers a sneak peek into the apparently cutthroat world of real estate with the premiere of the half-hour Realtor vs. Realtor.

Three new shows have been announced for History Television, including the one-hour Expedition Africa, about modern-day explorers who travel to Tanzania. Not to be outdone for exotic landscapes, Canada’s Northwest Territories will also get a closeup in Ice Pilots, a one-hour show about the environmental adventures of an Arctic airline that flies propeller planes from WWII. The life of former US president and ‘underestimated’ founding father John Adams will be depicted in new one-hour drama John Adams, starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney.

Showcase, which Canwest today announced is receiving a rebranding with a new logo and new direction towards unconventional yet entertaining and accessible programming (think House), is also adding two new shows. The Foundation is a half-hour Showcase original that follows a well-funded yet dysfunctional charity and its executive director played by Mike Wilmont (It’s All Gone Pete Tong). But the corporate world has an underbelly also, and it will be exposed in the one-hour new drama Crash and Burn. It’s about a claims adjustor for a cutthroat corporation who has to maneuver his way around insurance scams.

To promote the rebranding of the channel, Canwest says it will launch a huge promotional campaign that will hit markets across Canada in mid-August, utilizing Canwest assets in print, OOH and radio. Showcase Diva, which has spiked in viewership by 113% year-to-date (BBM), will also receive a refreshed look and logo, as will the digital specialty Action, which grew audiences by 54% (BBM) and will now stand by itself, dropping the ‘Showcase’ prefix.

Action has also acquired new series. The half-hour Black Gold is about Texas oil men who risk their life savings and their lives for a chance to strike it rich. And, to spotlight a danger in a different setting, Action will also debut the half-hour SWAT USA which will show don’t-try-this-at-home tactics, tricks and training of men and women on the force.