Upfront Week in Canada: comedy rules at Rogers

Max Greenfield: Schmidt was in the house

It’s “Upfront” Week in Canada, an odd mix of American razzmatazz and Canadian reserve. Rogers’ kicks off a week of these things with their 2012-13 upfront today at Massey Hall in Toronto.
In past years, the Canadian nets seemed to be trying to out do each other with pricey venues and big name guests. There seems to be less of that this year–or else they’re just saving the real fireworks for the advertisers.
Rogers is announcing nine new comedies and four new dramas, including two Canadian comedies. I screened one of the comedies last night, Fox pickup The Mindy Project, which I think will be a perfect companion next fall to New Girl. Read Cassandra Szklarski’s take on the news here at this Canadian press report.
The upfronts are mostly for the young ad kids who will be here later. Rogers will put on a big clip show and tell everybody they have the best news shows this fall. Global (tomorrow) and CTV (Thursday) will do the same.
Rogers struck gold last year with New Girl, 2 Broke Girls, Revenge and a few other winners. Terra Nova and The Playboy Club were expensive misses, but the expanding network had fewer holes to fill overall and were able to be a bit more picky earlier this month at the Hollywood show market. They liked Kevin Bacon’s new mid-season show The Following, one Rogers exec told me at breakfast, but let it escape to another Canadian buyer. They didn’t blow their brains out, and got very lucky with how things will be scheduled in the States next year, benefiting from the shift of Revenge to Sunday nights next fall, a simulcast they’ll embrace.

City had all their cookies lined up for critics

Rogers, which drew flack for walking away from Murdoch Mysteries (the fifth season premieres in a week on City before migrating to CBC in the fall), has stepped up with two new Canadian scripted show orders. Package Deal, which will be shot in Vancouver, will be a rare Canadian try at a three camera, studio audience comedy. It’s created by Andrew Orenstein and produced by Thunderbird Films, who’s had success in the past on Malcolm in the Middle and 3rd Rock from the Sun. Seed, to be shot in Halifax, is about a guy who is a big volume contributor to a sperm bank who suddenly bonds with his many unsuspecting offspring. Both are 13-episode orders, with Seed created by Joesph Raso. He says the inspiration for the series came from a friend who had investigated sperm banks while planning a family.
City says both will premiere mid-season, which sounds like a fancy way of saying in about a year.
Talent brought across the border for the Rogers launch included Max Greenfield, who, as Schmidt, is one of the breakout stars from New Girl. New Canadian Bachelor host Tyler Harcott and former Lost regular Dominic Monaghan, who hosts Wild Things on OLN. The Manchester native has always been a wild animal and bug guy and says “after Steve Irwin died, my goal was to make a nature show a year.”
Katie Couric is also making the Rogers’ scene; the network has bought her upcoming daytime show.

Follow @BillBriouxTV

Leave a Reply