Rogers buys big at LA screenings

The company was the biggest buyer in Hollywood last week, picking up shows from studios that normally sell in bulk to CTV and Global Television

It’s never been a zero-sum game for traditionally chummy Canadian broadcasters at the Los Angeles Screenings.

Frustrating their studio suppliers, the Canucks co-operate as they compete on Hollywood studio lots for new shows to avoid bidding wars and keep a lid on prices.

But this year, the Canadians’ annual Hollywood shopping ritual took collegiality to a new level.

Their screenings not only went deep into overtime, they did business under a cone of silence with their studio partners to keep new purchases a secret ahead of the Canadian Upfront presentations.

Indie broadcasters over the long weekend reported they had yet to hear from the Hollywood studios on when CTV, Global Television and Citytv buyers had finished deal-making so they could move in to bid for what was left on the table.

And in the end, the biggest buyer was the one with the most holes in its prime-time schedule: Rogers Media.

The third-place network changed tack this year and turned away from NBC shows to take a slate of Warner Bros. Television shows, which usually go to CTV, and a pick of 20th Century Fox shows, which Global Television has tended to acquire in the past.

The Canadians this year buying more new shows on the open market marked a departure from past years when output deals largely dictated what CTV and Global Television went home with.

CTV bought a couple of shows to fill a few holes, most notably NBC’s Whitney, which follows Community, Parks & Recreation and The Office Thursday nights, and ABC’s Pan Am for Sunday nights.

Also disrupting the Canadians’ Los Angeles Screenings this year is a welcome trend: the US networks are increasingly opting for local production, including Canada where ABC’s Rookie Blue and upcoming Combat Hospital and CBS’s Flashpoint are produced.