Murtz LIVE At Citytv / Rogers Upfront 2011: Citytv & Rogers Announce New TV Schedule

TORONTO – The tagline for the Rogers Media TV Upfront was that it ‘keeps getting better.’ After scoring the best television upfront last year, this season’s presentation to advertisers and the media set the bar once again.

The big spenders at Citytv pretty much scooped up everything they could get their hands on at the Los Angeles screenings and are easily in the best position to grow their numbers the most in the new television season. That being said, after The Event, Chase and Undercovers didn’t hit last year, up is really the only direction to go for the new programming.


Terra Nova

On Monday nights, the network will now feature FOX import Terra Nova in its 8 p.m. spot. While the trailer didn’t overly impress me despite being produced by Steven Spielberg, the buzz around the series has certainly been making the rounds. CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and NBC’s The Playboy Club were also added to Citytv’s opening night of the week. Both shows looked very strong during the presentation and after seeing the first episode of 2 Broke Girls in its entirety (a comedy starring Kat Dennings and Caroline Channing about a pair of girls just trying to make in New York City) was quite funny. The steadfast rule in television hasn’t changed much. When all else fails, there’s always romantic-comedy.


2 Broke Girls

Tuesdays will bring back The Biggest Loser between 7 and 9 p.m. which will be followed by New Girl, the FOX comedy starring Zooey Deschanel (500 Days Of Summer). The show centers around the character of Jess Day who movies in with three single guys after a particularly brutal break-up. Think Three Men & A Baby but replace the baby with the instantly-watchable Deschanel. Newly-acquired FOX laugher Raising Hope is next and then the ho-hum Body of Proof.


Revenge

Undoubtedly, mid-week is when the Citytv line-up excels as it has in the past. The network is making the smart decision to build around the Modern Family powerhouse by layering comedies before and after it starting with newly-acquired The Middle, followed by Suburgatory which follows Jane Levy’s character Tessa as she jumps from New York to the ‘Burbs. The 10 p.m. slot, is filled by the Rogers show that seems the most intriguing to me, Revenge. The vengeance-based series stars Canadians Emily Van Camp and Henry Czerny and the trailer for it began with the Confucius quote “before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves,” which was very tantalizing. While the show certainly gives off a Harper’s Island vibe, it is a darkhorse pick that could surprise. Any storyline that involves a pretty girl returning to the Hamptons to seek redemption against an elitist community that wronged her seems compelling. Interested to see if the ABC import can pull it off.


Person Of Interest

Rogers Executive Vice-President of Programming Malcolm Dunlop repeated the fact that Person Of Interest was CBS’ highest-rated pilot ever and J.J. Abrams’ (yes, the Lost guy) new drama starring Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson certainly seems like a winner. The crime action drama focuses on an ex-CIA agent who partners with a mysterious billionaire to prevent crime. While the procedural aspect of the show seems tired, the twist is that the pair use data siphoned from the computers of United States intelligence agencies. While the government ignores crimes that aren’t concerning terrorism, Reese (Caviezel) and Finch (Emerson) use the system to identify ‘persons of interest’ and then try to solve what kind of violent crime that person will commit. Sounds complicated, but this one definitely seems like it has a chance to be the definitive breakthrough. Combined with Citytv’s already strong Thursday schedule (30 Rock and Parks & Recreation and the fact that the channel also scooped up Private Practice from the newly revamped A/CTV Two channel, Rogers seeks to grab the guys that aren’t watching Grey’s Anatomy, lure them into watching Person of Interest and then wait for their girlfriends to change the channel to Kate Walsh and company at 10. Sounds like a winning strategy from here.

Other new Canadian series on the Citytv schedule include Canada’s Got Talent and Secret Millionaire Canada for the 2012 roster. It appears Howie Mandel will be all over this.


Alcatraz

The 2011-2012 mid-season schedule will also include J.J. Abrams’ Alcatraz from Warner Bros., the comedy Apartment 23 and the drama Shameless.

The presentation itself was slick. Featuring a heavy presence from Breakfast Television‘s Dina Pugliese and Kevin Frankish, the network also rolled out stars from both its new and its returning series. Rico Rodriguez from Modern Family was particularly adorable as he charmed buyers and reporters alike. Elisha Cuthbert waved to the crowd as she discussed the pick-up of Happy Endings. Henry Czerny took a bow for Revenge and Beth Behrs from Two Broke Girls also said hello. There were also some Playboy bunnies in attendance and while they weren’t actually from the show, I didn’t really hear anyone complaining.


Who’s complaining?


Not this guy.

Stay tuned to Inside Pulse for my chats with Rico Rodriguez, Henry Czerny, Beth Behrs and Elisha Cuthbert.

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