CTV press day brings out the stars; boxed lunches

Arrow‘s Stephen Amell will help CTV pull up its socks

These Canadian network upfronts are micro-managed to within an inch of their lives. Studio publicists sit on stacks of screeners as well as talent releases for fear a Canadian journalist might be prepared for an interview, or, worse, stumble on any actual news.
Despite these stubbornly imported homeland security measures, the odd nugget of new sneaks out. Rogers/City buried the lead Tuesday with news that they have picked up the next installment of 24/7. The NHL reality series has been swearing up a storm on HBO and HBO Canada the past two seasons. The next one will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings, and the two Original Six clubs will surely vault the four-episode series into the top of the Sportsnet heap.
Over at Shaw/Global’s ad bash, it was announced Wednesday that Big Brother Canada is finally going before the cameras. Sixteen locals will be locked inside a Tim Horton’s and fed nothing but crullers. Shaw wanted to wait until the Big Brother franchise had completely cooled out. They’re airing it on Slice, just in case there is still any interest.
Thursday was Bell/CTV’s turn to put on the press/ad industry wank. Things are a little more subdued than in the giddy heights of the Fecan era, when $20s and $50s were used as cocktail napkins, Tony Soprano star James Gandolfini gave out free piggy back rides and rows of Littlest Hobos barked out “We’re in the Money.” (Preceding graph contains gross distortions.)

Golden Boy’s Chi McBride accepts fake award 

The CTV press folks welcomed early risers back for breakfast with the execs. This was an innovation they piloted last year that for me is the best part of the Canadian upfront week. Rogers copied them this year and the dishy off-the-record chat with their top executives was the coolest part of the tour so far.
Bell’s top show snatchers worked this morning’s breakfast, with Kevin Crull starting to find his stride after his second trip to the L.A. screenings. He and Team Blue vets Phil King, Mike Cosentino, Rick Brace and Catherine MacLeod returned with nine new dramas–including Kevin Bacon’s mid-season thriller The Following–and four new comedies, including Charlie Sheen’s much buzzed about Anger Management, a FX pickup CTV will save for fall. They’ll be spread between CTV and CTV Two. Read more on these new shows here.
One major show shopping change this year was CTV’s ability to cherry pick shows from several different Hollywood studios. Gone are the days when you had to take three of four shelf shows to get the one big buzz series.
CTV also announced an original new drama, Motive. Thirteen episodes of the Vancouver-based procedural have been ordered.

Once Upon a Time’s Lana Parrilla

Talent trotted out all afternoon for press sessions included the gang from Flashpoint, back for a fifth and final season this fall. Exec. producer Bill Mustos promises that their 75th and final episode will be a two hour doozie.
Genial Kunal Nayyar from CTV (and Canada’s) No. 1 show The Big Bang Theory, was also in the house, as was Megan Hilty from Smash, Toronto lad Stephen Amell from new Vancouver-shot series Arrow and striking Lana Parrilla from Once Upon a Time. Amell, a big L.A. Kings fan, put on his green socks for the occasion, a nod to his Green Arrow comic book character.
CTV also bought a show called The Mob Doctor, which is just what it says it is. Can’t wait for the CTV Two spinoff The Mob Walk-in-Clinic. Take two bullets and call me in the morning.

Follow @BillBriouxTV

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