Murdoch, Chuck fill in for Leno

Citytv sticks with tried-and-true titles amid post-Leno fallout. The new schedule is stronger and more ad-friendly, say execs.


As the late-night war rages on in the US, Citytv is painting a rosy picture of its post-Leno schedule, and on Friday put forth what it says is a stronger prime-time lineup for its 10 p.m. slots.

The Rogers-owned net is staying with the tried and true, starting March 1, with action-comedy Chuck moving to the Monday 10 p.m. slot from Sundays – where Citytv will begin airing a new simulcast hour of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Chuck airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on NBC, while Citytv has bankable reality The Bachelor.

Following NBC’s lead, Citytv is scheduling new drama Parenthood, starring Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) and Peter Krause (Six Feet Under), in the Tuesday 10 p.m. slot, where it will have a strong lead-in from similarly female-targeted The Biggest Loser.

Ugly Betty, which had been airing on Rogers’ OMNI stations, will move to the 10 p.m. Wednesday slot, in simulcast with ABC. Citytv was not able to take advantage of the Betty simulcast before, because of Leno.

Thursdays will see episodes of comedies How I Met Your Mother and Accidentally on Purpose while new eps of Canuck series Murdoch Mysteries will take the Friday slot.

EVP of programming Malcolm Dunlop says the now-cancelled Jay Leno Show met the mini-network’s expectations, and that execs thought it would play out its season.

And yet, ‘we heard rumours all the time. In the back of our minds, we always thought what we would do if this were to happen,’ Dunlop says. ‘We had plans in place.’

Rogers’ EVP of sales Mitch Dent believes Citytv will emerge relatively unscathed from the debacle that’s causing scheduling headaches for NBC.

‘We were a movie station that got out of movies and had no 10 p.m. shows…Leno was a step forward,’ Dent points out.

He believes the new schedule is stronger because shows like Ugly Betty and Chuck have built-in audiences.

‘Advertisers like dramas and comedies. They want a relevant audience that’s actually there, that’s delivered. This change will result in increasing not decreasing our revenues,’ he adds.

Meanwhile, NBC is sticking with the Law & Order franchise on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Tuesday will see the addition of Parenthood. Also new is the Jerry Seinfeld-produced reality show comedy The Marriage Ref, on Thursdays, while newsmagazine Dateline NBC will air on Fridays.

From Playback Daily