The Skeleton and host Nick Cannon in The Masked Singer.CR: Michael Becker / FOX

Last June at the Bell Upfront in Toronto, CTV’s acquisition of Fox’s The Masked Singer was spun to the thirsty ad buyers in the Meridian Hall (formerly Sony Centre) as the pick up of the year. If this was true there would be masked dancers, comedians, surgeons, detectives and especially bachelors on American network schedules this fall.

CTV’s slow to boil ballyhoo around The Masked Singer was especially telling in that not one Canadian network bothered to grab it when it originally premiered on Fox last winter. In a fall where Canadian show buyers found US content cupboards unusually bare, CTV and others are down to making the most of the masks they export.

The celebrities-in-disguise reality show, hosted by Nick Cannon and based on a Korean concept, premieres Wednesday night on CTV. Alan Thicke’s song-stealing son Robin is among the judges. Host network Fox reminded critics on both sides of the border that the show was returning by shipping a goalie crease-sized cardboard sleeve containing two large cardboard masks to reporters. That eleventy-billion-million trees were cut down to promote this vapid distraction is exactly why that brilliant young woman with the braid was so pissed off at the U.N. the other day. As she said, “How dare you!” and “This is all wrong!”

That its two-hour debut opens opposite the return of Survivor — where a Canadian, for the first time in all of its 39 seasons, is among the castaways — will be interesting. CTV has been looking for a Survivor killer for nearly 20 years. A lot of hype may vault CTV ahead of Global Wednesdays at 8 a for a week or two, but by the end of the season, the way I see it, the tribe will have spoken.

Tom Laidlaw competes on SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols Photo: Robert Voets/CBS

The Canadian Survivor, by the way, is Tom Laidlaw. He’s from Brampton, Ont., home of, Laidlaw played 11 seasons in the NHL as a defenseman for the New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings. He’s 60, he’s a hockey player, he’s from Brampton… I’ve got him in my pool.

Stumptown, an action-packed new PI drama starring Cobie Smulders, also premieres tonight (see previous post). Returning this Wednesday night are the following: Chicago Fire, Med and P.D. (NBC, Citytv); The Goldbergs (ABC and pre-released at 7:30 pm on CTV); Modern Family, (ABC and now on Global), South Park (Comedy Central); It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX); Abstract and Glitch (Netflix).


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