Upfronts 2013: Night moves driving Canadian show buyers crazy

Alex O’Loughlin jumps to Fridays next season on Hawaii FIVE-0

This is the week Canada’s private network programming executives play shop till you drop.
Together, they’ll drop between $600- to $800 million picking up American network programming for their 2013-14 schedules.
It all happens over a few jam-packed days spent in Los Angeles screening rooms and hotels. I spoke with Rogers/City’s Malcolm Dunlop, Bell/CTV’s Phil King and Shaw/Global’s Barbara Williams a few weeks ago before they went down for the upfronts and screenings and wrote about their pre-game strategies here for The Canadian Press.
The Canadian plan is always to simulcast as many of the U.S. network pickups as possible to gain the maximum head count in the ratings, and thus gain a higher price per show for advertising. So far this week, the U.S. networks aren’t making that any easier.
Williams will have to cope with the fact CBS just flipped Hawaii FIVE-0–a show that does better in Canada than the U.S.–from Mondays to Fridays. Fox did the same thing with another valued Global pick-up, Bones. Suddenly Williams has a two hour Monday headache she probably didn’t see coming. Dunlop has to deal with CBS moving Person of Interest to Tuesdays at 10, NBC flipping Revolution to Wednesdays and the shelving of CBS’ Mike & Molly till mid-season. ABC probably did King (and viewers) a favour by cutting Dancing with the Stars back to only one night a week, but he’ll have to scramble to simulcast CBS’ relocated Two and a Half Men.
That’s why King says buy the best show and forget the timeslot, because it will change anyway. The U.S. nets will likely tinker further with their skeds before September rolls around.

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