Seven original dramas on Canwest slate

The broadcaster beefs up its Canadian contingent for Global and Showcase's 2010-11 rosters, adding scripted series XIII and APTN's Blackstone. Integration opportunities are available.

Canwest has unveiled a robust slate of original scripted programs for Global and Showcase for the 2010-11 broadcast season, tapping no less than seven dramas and four half-hour sitcoms including APTN’s Blackstone and the Canada/UK copro Combat Hospital.

‘We’ve done a lot of original programming in reality and documentary genres, but this is the biggest on the scripted side,’ Canwest SVP of drama and factual content Christine Shipton says, calling the announcement ‘good news’ for the industry. In a later interview with MiC, a spokesperson for the network confirmed that Canwest is ‘always looking’ for integration opportunities for advertisers and that producing series in Canada allows producers and clients to ‘craft unique in-show programs’ in pre-production.

New series for spring include Blackstone, about power and politics on a fictional Indian reserve, which will air on Showcase next spring after the pilot debuted on APTN last November. Also new are: the Canada/France copro XIII, about a lethal secret agent; the cop drama King; and the previously announced Endgame, about a crime-solving chess champion.

New for fall is the the Afghanistan-set medical drama Combat Hospital, and previously announced new one-hour titles Shattered on Global and Lost Girl on Showcase. Channels for XIII, King and Combat Hospital are still to be confirmed, Shipton says.

‘We’ll decide when we see them in production. Our strategy has been if the shows become big and need a big platform, they’ll go to Global,’ she explains.

Over in comedy, the network has tapped two new shows from the guys behind Kenny vs. Spenny, including The Kenny Hotz Television Program (E1) and Single White Spenny. Both will air on Showcase in 2011, alongside the Untitled Belleville Brothers Project and previously announced The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour.

‘We know that the comedies will work on Showcase because we have very limited [half-hour] timeslots on Global for comedies,’ Shipton says.

Canwest also has a few pilots in the works including Befriend and Betray, Jack of Diamonds and Rave Squad. The broadcaster will be making casting announcements in the following weeks, with most series going into production in August and September.

From Playback Daily, with files from Media in Canada