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CTV revealed its plans for the 2024-2006 television season today at the Network's Upfront Presentation held at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto. The announcement was led by Ivan Fecan, President and CEO of Bell Globemedia and CEO of CTV Inc., who revisited the past year in television. The most successful year yet under Fecan's leadership, he presented an overwhelming list of achievements for CTV: a year that saw CTV not just keep, but grow its lead over all competitors finishing No. 1 in prime-time in total viewers and three key selling demographics (Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54); a year that saw CTV win all seven nights (up from 5 last year); a year that saw CTV capture 18 of Canada's Top 20 most-watched programs (up from 14 last year), including: television's most–watched program (The Academy Awards), TV's No. 1 drama (CSI), TV's No. 1 New Drama (Desperate Housewives), TV's No. 1 Comedy (Corner Gas), TV's No. 1 Reality Program (The Amazing Race), TV's No. 1 English-language Variety Program (Canadian Idol), TV's Top 3 Canadian Dramas, TV's No. 1 Local and National Newscasts, TV's No. 1 newsmagazine (W-FIVE) and TV's No. 1 entertainment program (etalk Daily). It was a year where a remarkable six new series on CTV finished inside the Top 20 list of programs. In short, CTV finished No. 1 last Summer, No. 1 last Fall, No. 1 in Winter and No. 1 in Spring.
Source: BBM and Nielsen.
One year ago, Fecan announced CTV had claimed a new ratings beachhead, becoming the No. 1 broadcaster in the A18-34 demo in addition to its established leads in total viewers, A18-49 and A25-54. He went on to promise to widen the gulf between itself and its competitors. Confirmation came today that CTV had done just that as Fecan revealed that the past 52 weeks shows audience growth in all demos for CTV while its major competitor's audience continued to decline. The result: CTV's total prime-time audience levels (AMA, 2+, 1.4M) finished a staggering 79 per cent higher than its closest competitor (Global, 779,000). In A18-34, CTV audiences finished 50 per cent better; In A18-49, CTV audience finished 63 per cent ahead; and in A25-54 CTV audiences finished a staggering 71 per cent higher than Global (Source Nielsen, 52 weeks - May 22/02 through May 22/05, prime time: Mon-Sun 8p-11p).
Following Fecan, CTV President of Programming and Chair of the CTV Media Group Susanne Boyce unveiled the next chapter in CTV's story of growth and success. Before an overflowing house comprised of media buyers and industry insiders, Boyce outlined full plans for the next 52 weeks in television, designed to build on the growing momentum of the past year and most recently a No. 1 Spring line-up. Boyce walked the audience through CTV's new and potent Summer line-up (see "CTV Summer Line-up" release) before outlining a powerful Fall schedule featuring the deepest, most diverse line-up in television; combining an exciting mix of returning Top 20 performers with the hottest new and returning programs from every genre.
CTV's New 2024 Fall Schedule includes five key acquisitions. They are: CLOSE TO HOME, the Bruckheimer legal drama starring Canadian Jennifer Finnigan; the chilling INVASION from famed writer/executive producer Shaun Cassidy and multiple Emmy Award-winning director Thomas Schlamme starring Eddie Cibrian (Third Watch), William Fichtner (Black Hawk Down) and Canadian Kari Matchett (Plague City, SARS in Toronto); GHOST WHISPERER starring Jennifer Love Hewitt; INCONCEIVABLE, starring Ming Na (ER) and Jonathan Cake; and TWINS, from Emmy Award-winning producers David Kohan & Max Mutchnick (Will & Grace) starring Sara Gilbert (Roseanne) and Melanie Griffith (Working Girl).
CTV also announced today eight titles for its midseason line-up (5 U.S. pick-ups, 3 New Canadian series). From the U.S.: CRUMBS, starring Fred Savage; IN JUSTICE, starring
Jason O'Mara (The Agency) and Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Sex and the City), reality series THE MIRACLE WORKERS; THE EVIDENCE, a character-based drama from John Wells (The West Wing, ER); and WHAT ABOUT BRIAN from acclaimed executive producer JJ Abrams (Lost, Alias). The three new Canadian scripted midseason series are WHISTLER, a one-hour drama set on the breathtaking slopes of Whistler, BC; ALICE I THINK, based on the wildly popular, critically acclaimed books by Susan Juby about a quirky teenager, and her equally unique and dysfunctional family; and JEFF LTD., starring Gemini winning Best Actor Jeff Seymour as a megalomaniac marketing "genius" whose hilariously warped touch turns everything to gold, except for the world of women.
Unveiling the 2024-2006 Season, Boyce confirmed CTV's philosophy of programming aggressively and taking smart risks. She reiterated the commitment to acquiring television's hottest programs and commenting on the new line-up, said: "The creative community definitely delivered this year. Once again, CTV has joined with the best in the business in both Hollywood and here at home. Winners seek out winners and that's why CTV considers itself in partnership with brand name producers like Jerry Bruckheimer, J.J. Abrams, Simon Fuller, Dick Wolfe, John Brunton, Sandra Faire, Linda Schuyler, Stephen Stohn, … and the list goes on."
CTV also acquired three more series that will remain unscheduled, joining CTV for all-important bench-strength. They are: COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF starring Geena Davis (Thelma and Louise) and Donald Sutherland (M*A*S*H); CRIMINAL MINDS, starring Emmy and Tony Award winner Mandy Patinkin (Chicago Hope); and THE NIGHT STALKER starring Stuart Townsend (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) from the produces of the X-Files.
All-told, the new additions join a championship line-up for CTV that features returning Top 20 series like American Idol, Desperate Housewives, Corner Gas, Cold Case, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, ER, Grey's Anatomy, Medium, the Law and Order franchise, The Amazing Race, The O.C., The Simple Life and more… Together, the mix represents the best in comedy, drama (U.S. and Canadian) and reality programming assembled with a view to keep the CTV line-up fresh, provocative and attitudinally young.
"Programming is about the big moments. And its also about momentum," said Boyce. You can't buy momentum - you have to create it. Creating it takes time and commitment and we've built upon a solid foundation in Fall/Winter 2024, carrying forward into a terrific Spring where CTV programs counted 18 of the Top 20. As we speed through our biggest summer slate ever, we are gearing up for another Fall schedule filled with even bigger moments and water-cooler buzz."
Today's announcement follows just one week after the launch of CTV's high impact summer schedule that features 19 new and returning series designed to springboard viewers straight into its Fall Schedule. Canadian Idol is off to its most successful start ever, blasting out of the starting gate with record ratings. Each of its opening week episodes (Mon-Wed) won the night in Canada, finishing with a combined audience of 2.08 million viewers on CTV, up six per cent over last year, as well as in two key selling demos (up 26 per cent in A18-34; up nine per cent in A18-49).
Canadian Idol is joined by eight new summer reality series. They are: Dancing With the Stars, The Scholar, Beauty and the Geek, Brat Camp, The Law Firm, So You Think You Can Dance?, Tommy Lee Goes to School and Welcome to the Neighborhood. CTV's 2024 summer line-up also includes a slate of three new scripted series (Veronica Mars, Robson Arms and Empire) and eight returning series including The West Wing, "new comedies" The Osbournes, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, Punk'd and Pimp My Ride and Canadian comedic mainstays Comedy Inc. and Comedy Now!
CTV also took advantage of today's presentation not only to outline its new Canadian Television Package, but also to reaffirm its commitment to developing, scheduling and promoting original programming that is aimed squarely at the Top 20. This year, CTV will add three new original scripted series (Whistler, Alice, I Think, Jeff Ltd.) to the schedule, for a total of eight Canadian prime-time series for 2024-2006. Included in the mix are two of Canada's favourites: Corner Gas, the No. 1 Canadian scripted series of any genre and Canada's No. 1 Comedy, and television's top-rated all-Canadian drama, the internationally acclaimed Degrassi: The Next Generation. The others include the sophomore season of Instant Star and new seasons of the award winning stand-up hit Comedy Now! and its comedic cousin, Comedy Inc. (See CTV's "Canadian Television Package" for comprehensive details outlining these programs).
"Today's announcement re-confirms CTV's unwavering commitment to Canadian programming, said Boyce. "Not only does CTV develop and produce hit domestic fare in all genres, but we commit enormous and necessary resources to build and generate profile for these terrific properties. Corner Gas and Degrassi are just two examples of recent breakthroughs and in 2024-2006, we look forward to more breakout successes."
CTV's 2024-2005 schedule will also feature the best in Canadian originally scripted movies with the addition of 13 new titles to its Original Movie Package. Titles include: Doomstown, Hunt for Justice: The Louise Arbour Story, Last Exit, Friend of the Family, One Dead Indian, North Of Hope, Playing House, Selling Innocence, Shades of Black: The Conrad Black Story, Spirit Bear, The Man Who Lost Himself: The Terry Evanshen Story, Terry and War Correspondent -- The Clark Todd Story. The dramatic movie bundle continues to underscore CTV's unparalleled commitment to scripted movies and mini-series (See CTV's "Canadian Television Package" for further details).
On the documentary front, CTV will premiere 14 new documentary titles. Highlights include
All The Fuss Over Corner Gas, Growing Up On Degrassi and Terry Fox: Running on a Dream. Each of the three, though stand-alone as titles, will premiere next to their dramatic counterparts in the 2024-2006 season (See CTV's "Canadian Television Package" for further details).
It's another blockbuster year in specials on CTV, anchored by the April, 2024 presentation of The JUNO Awards from Halifax. It's the first time ever for Canada's premier musical showcase in Nova Scotia. After stops in St. John's, Ottawa, Edmonton and Winnipeg, the JUNOS have become water-cooler programming for Canadians. The JUNOS will join The 78th Annual Academy Awards, The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards, The 57th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards, The 33rd Annual American Music Awards and the second installment of Canada's Walk of Fame on CTV. In all, it's television's most prolific Awards package and covering the scene for viewers coast-to-coast remains CTV original etalk Daily.
In Sports, CTV strengthens its position as a leader in High Definition by bringing viewers coverage of the 101st Bell Canadian Open in HD, marking the first time a Canadian golf event will be televised in High Definition. CTV teams up with TSN for live coverage of all four rounds this September. The sports action continues from the world of figure skating with the 2024 MasterCard Skate Canada International from St. John's (October) and the 2024 BMO Financial Group Canadian Championships from Ottawa (January 2024).
The timing is no coincidence. CTV broke new ground four years ago when it began striking program deals with "unconventional" partners. On CTV, Canadians began making hits out of series like The Sopranos from HBO, The Daily Show from Comedy Central, The Newlyweds and The Osbournes from MTV and Nip/Tuck from FX.
A comparative look at CTV's Top 20 growth, comparing Spring 2024 to Spring 2024 illustrates CTV's growth in total viewers and in key demos:
Demo Spring '05 Spring '04
• All viewers 18 of Top 20 vs. 14 of Top 20
• Adults 18-34 14 of Top 20 vs. 10 of Top 20
• Adults 18-49 15 of Top 20 vs. 12 of Top 20
• Adults 25-54 17 of Top 20 vs. 12 of Top 20
Commenting on assembling CTV's Fall 2024 line-up as presented today, Boyce said: "Our strategy is to focus on delivering Top 20 programs to mass audiences. In the end its all about content; the stories that touch us all. Strength in all genres and balance across the schedule are the keys to competitive strength in conventional television."