Several years ago, Brad Schwartz put the pop in Pop TV with the acquisition of CBC’s Schitt’s Creek.
Last January when I spoke with him for the most-listened to episode of brioux.tv: the podcast this year, he hinted that, yes, he might just be taking a look at a few more Canadian TV shows, As the newly-appointed president of entertainment at The CW, reorganizing under new majority owners Nextar Media Group, he had plenty of scheduling holes to fill.
Five months later, the relatively young American broadcaster now has more prime time Canadian content than CTV, Global and Citytv combined.
A few weeks ago, Schwartz announced that The CW would be adding CBC’s St. John’s based comedy Son of a Critch to their summer schedule.
Wednesday, the releases went out declaring CBC’s Run the Burbs, the Andrew Phung series also heading into a third season, is also joining The CW schedule. Schwartz also snapped up Moonshine, the Nova Scotia-based CBC dramedy about dysfunctional siblings starring another podcast guest, Jennifer Finnigan.
Schwartz is not just raiding the CBC. On Thursday, The CW announced that is adding CTV’s The Spencer Sisters to its summer schedule. The Winnipeg-based mother-daughter sleuth series stars Lea Thompson and Stacey Farber; both also previous podcast guests.
Back in April, The CW announced an earlier deal to import another CTV series: Sullivan’s Crossing. That one is set for fall. This brings former CW stars Chad Michael Murray (One Tree Hill) and Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls) back to the American network’s schedule.
Memo to Canadian TV producers: if you want a US window to your next domestic series, cast a couple of former CW stars for luck. So far, Brad Schwartz has done more to keep Canadian crews working on Canadian TV shows than Bill C-11.
Last season, The CW added a CTV original shot on the West Coast — Family Law. The legal series, starring podcast guest Jewel Staite as well as Victor Garber, is returning for a second season to both Global and The CW.
Raiding Canada for content at The CW didn’t start with Schwartz. In recent years, CBC shows such as Burden of Truth and Coroner were part of The CW’s schedule. The 200-channel network also airs a few American-produced series that are shot in Canada. They include Riverdale and Nancy Drew, both shot in and around Vancouver.
Before you think Schwartz, born in Toronto, is violating some sort of import quota, here is the genius part: should the writer’s strike drag on for 100 days or more as some are predicting, who’s got several seasons of scripted shows on their shelves? That’s right, The CW.