CTV #winning after stealing Sheen from FX

CTV engaged in some good old fashioned brinkmanship today with their surprising announcement that they have secured rights to the upcoming Charlie Sheen comedy Anger Management.
The network teased last Thursday in an email to critics that a “Blockbuster Hollywood Star” was going to make a surprise on-air announcement Monday in a commercial break between 9 and 9:30 p.m.–in other words, during the CTV feed of Sheen’s old CBS sitcom, Two and a Half Men.
The pre-taped video clip showed Sheen spilling the beans that his new show, where he will play an edgy anger management therapist, was being picked up by CTV.
“You seem like the nicest people in the world,” said Sheen, addressing the camera, “but I know the truth. You’re holding in a lot of anger. Why else would you drink so much beer, put on shoes with sharp blades and smack each other around with wooden sticks?”
It was really CTV smacking around rival Rogers with this announcement. Rogers recently launched FX Canada, finally bringing FX shows such as Louie (showcased on City tonight), Sons of Anarchy and American Horror Story onto one Canadian specialty channel (although some of that content is still part of the Super Channel lineup).
Sheen’s new series, which begins production in the new year, will appear in the U.S. on FX. This deal, which CTV made directly with Lionsgate’s international distribution company, takes the sheen off of FX Canada. Rogers likely would have previewed Anger Management onto their City platforms as they did with the Canadian launch of American Horror Story in late October. Now a prize promotional opportunity will be all over the other guy’s platforms.
Sheen’s new series is being executive produced by Bruce Helford, a proved showrunner who wrote and produced comedies for Drew Carey, George Lopez and Norm Ferguson. He may have lost some heat since his well-publicized meltdown last winter, but count on Sheen’s new series to at least open big when it finally does arrive.
The deal was apparently brokered from the Bell end by CTV senior vice president Mike Cosentino, a hold over from the Ivan Fecan regime. Mike must have saved his notes. This is the kind of competitive “gotcha” Fecan used to pull to keep Global at bay.
Rogers and Bell may be making nice when it comes to splitting Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, but CTV’s Sheen stealing stunt signals it is still war as usual in the Canadian network ratings races.

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