Global’s 2024-25 schedule. Go ahead, look all you want for Big Brother Canada

Two Canadian broadcast networks host upfront presentations this week. First up: Corus Entertainment, home to Global, specialty channels such as History, HGTV and Food Canada, and W as well as FAST channel Pluto TV, among other platforms.

To paraphrase Neil Young, Hype never sleeps. Among the press release headlines:


Setting aside the all-caps, can we all agree to drop the words “overflowing” and “buzzworthy” from these broadcast network releases? Overflowing implies a ton of new programming, too many shows to actually fit on a schedule. There are actually only three new imports on Global’s fall lineup: Matlock, a re-boot of the decades-old Andy Griffith series starring Kathy Bates. Yes, the 75-year-old Oscar-winner is a terific actress, but any buzz that may have been attached to this series has cooled since it was first announced at last year’s upfronts before being pushed back a year due to the writers and actors strikes.

MATLOCK stars Kathy Bates as the brilliant septuagenarian Madeline “Matty” Matlock, who, after achieving success in her younger years, decides to rejoin the workforce at a prestigious law firm where she uses her unassuming demeanor and wily tactics to win cases and expose corruption from within. ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Over a zoom call conversation Wednesday with Troy Reeb, Executive Vice President and Head of all Programming at Corus networks, it was agreed that the annual LA screenings aren’t what they used to be. If you are the guy who already owns NCIS, for example, you are going to buy the new prequel NCIS: Origins as Global did for this fall. Global already bought Matlock as well as Poppa’s House — a sitcom starring father-son comedians Damon Wayans and Damon Wayans, Jr. — last year. Those shows were delayed due to the strikes and were held over until the 2024-25 season. Canadian networks gererally have output deals in place with American broadcasters, so these shopping trips to LA are probably now more about proximity to Disneyland, although, as Reeb wisely says, “it still helps to actually see the shows.”

NCIS: ORIGINS follows a young Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Austin Stowell) in 1991, years prior to the events of NCIS, and is narrated by Mark Harmon. ©2024 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

As for buzzworthy, there hasn’t been a series everybody talked about in June on any US or Canadian network schedule in years. Not even The Big Bang Theory, which launched in 2007, arrived with high expectations. In this play-it-again age of network TV, the use of “buzzworthy” in a release should trigger heavy fines. You should have to give five percent of your profits back to a streaming rival.


Reeb big boast this upfront was that, post-Super Bowl, as the season kicked in post-strikes, Global outdrew CTV as Canada’s most-watched network. The A25-54 stats, sourced as “Numeris PPM Data, Total Canada, Feb 12 – May 19/24, confirmed data, M-Su 8p-11p, Local Time, A25-54, AMA(000), CDN CONV COM ENG National networks, CTV Com, all others ‘Total’,” seem to confirm that finding.

Reeb went on to declare that Global had 11 of the Top 20 shows in Canada over that same period, ranking 9-1-1 as Canada’s most-watched drama, Survivor as the most-watched reality show, Saturday Night Live as most-watched in late night and Drew Barrymore‘s talker as most-watched daytime talk show.

CTV will surely spin the numbers in a different direction Thursday at their live upfront in Toronto but I don’t think Reeb is essentially wrong. For years, CTV used to play keep away, overbuying imports just to win nights in Canada. Now they play keep around, which has tightened the broadcast race in Canada considerably.

Two long-running shows certainly helped even up the ratings race: Saturday Night Live, about to enter its 50th season, and Survivor, which is closing in on 50 editions. Both draw stronger than most in the 18-35 demo. SNL, Reeb points out, had a very strong year, with great guest hosts. I’d quibble with his assertion that last year’s cast was among the best ever, but the series remains a tentpole at Global, its forever Canadian home.

Reeb is also high on a new prime time scripted Canadian original premiering on Wednesdays this fall — Murder in a Small Town. The series stars Rossif Sutherland (son of Donald; step-brother of Kiefer) as a cop who escapes the big city to patrol in an idylic coastal town in British Columbia. As in CBC’s just announced Saint-Pierre, even tourist towns can harbour dark secrets. Sutherland’s cop comes to rely on the town librarian for research and advice. She’s played by one of the most popular guests ever at the podcast — Kristin Kreuk.

Reeb says the series is a “10-out-of-10” Canadian series, meaning not some semi-American series with a Canadian crew, but Canuck through and through. It has also been picked up by Fox in the US, and here’s the funny part — Global can’t simulcast it, because Fox has it scheduled for nights where Global is wall-to-wall FBI shows. And, yes, Reeb does see the irony in that.

Another scripted Canadian series will also be returning for a fourth season in 2025: Vancouver-based Family Law.

Much of the rest of the schedule conforms to the current broadcast survival plan. Take well known franchises; repeat and reboot. There is a night of NCIS, followed by a night of FBI. There is 90-minutes of Survivor. Reeb says 9-1-1 had a particularly strong year on Global, what with all those big-budget, movie-like disaster episodes right out of the “Poseidon Adventure.” Sunday is anchored by a series that launched in 1968: 60 Minutes. Safe, steadfast, predictable fare. Familiar sells of network, or, as Reeb says, you don’t have to explain to anybody a new show about what happened to Leroy “Jethro” Gibbs from NCIS before he became the guy on NCIS.

Reeb was also bullish on Corus’ specialty side. Pamela Anderson is back with two shows, one cooking on Food Network Canada, the other decorating on HGTV Canada. The Baeumlers and McGillivrays are back, as as the Farmhouse Facelifters. A scripted series titled Laid sounds like it will stir things up on W.

Corus specialty channel stars include (clockwise from top left) Pamela Anderson, Drew and Jonathan Scott, the firefighters of Yukon Rescue and Barney from Treehouse’s Barney’s World

Reeb is also high on a series coming to Global in mid-season: Doc. Shot right in Missisauga, it stars Molly Parker as a surgeon who suffers a brain injury. Moris Chestnut stars in another series, Watson, a modern, medical spinoff of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

As for Global’s Upfront 2024 presentation, it was once again a virtual experience. This allowed for an hour-long, well-edited package of shout outs from famous names crammed between the show clips, iffy comedy and executive banter from Corus’ CEO Doug Murphy, Reeb and others. Everybody from Eric Braeden (Y&R‘s Victor Newman) to Shemar Moore from SWAT to Jeff Probst to Stephen Colbert made with the “Hi Canada” talk. Colbert even sang “O Canada” to the tune of, “The Way You Look Tonight.” Corus managed to plug everything, including their radio stations, in about half the time that CBC spent a week ago at their live media upfront.

All of it aimed at the young ad buyers who will commit millions for this coming season — even if Big Brother Canada has been yanked off Global’s current schedule.

Tomorrow: CTV’s turn.

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