CBC sticks with tried and true

The new comedy Men with Brooms and a factual show fronted by design guru Debbie Travis are the only new additions to pubcaster's fall lineup.

There was little manoeuvring to be done for the fall as CBC showcased a tested and proven schedule peppered with hits like Battle of the Blades, Dragons’ Den and The Rick Mercer Report in a snazzy presentation Thursday at its Toronto headquarters.

The only newcomers to CBC’s primetime lineup are factual series All For One, fronted by design expert Debbie Travis, who will celebrate unsung heroes in Canadian communities, and the sitcom Men with Brooms, based on the Paul Gross curling film of the same name.

Returning shows include Heartland, Being Erica, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Ron James Show and co-pro drama The Tudors – all of which will return to their regular timeslots beginning the week of Sept. 20.

Travis will air her show Sundays at 9 p.m. following the sophomore season of ratings-winner Blades, while Brooms will take over the Monday 8:30 p.m. slot – formerly held by Little Mosque on the Prairie – following the results episode of Blades. (Mosque will return in the winter.)

CBC TV’s general manager Kirstine Stewart hopes the family-friendly premise of Blades will help boost viewership for Brooms.

‘The reason I paired them together is to see if that family [audience] that’s into Blades and hockey and figure skating, if they will again grasp the comedy of something that’s based on another sport,’ she said in an interview after the upfront presentation.

Blades‘ Kurt Browning charms contestant Christine Hough-Sweeney

Brooms follows the goings-on of four regular guys who hang out at the local curling rink. It is produced by Serendipity Point Films, E1 Entertainment and Frantic Films.

Despite various programming cuts last year, the Ceeb is coming off a strong 2009-10 season with one million-plus viewers (2+) for several of its series including Mercer, Heartland, Dragons’ and Blades up against US fare.

While BBM’s new Portable People Meters may have helped drive ratings for shows that encourage co-viewing, Stewart says she does not schedule with PPM in mind.

‘I do think PPM captures a family viewership more [but] CBC has always appealed to families, so it’s more that we benefit from PPM rather than we design for PPM because we were [doing] this stuff anyway,’ she observes.

Fellow conventional networks CTV, Global and Rogers will unveil their fall schedules next week.

The CBC’s cast closes the presentation