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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Citytv hoping for touchdown in prime time

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Citytv is taking an aggressive, acquisition-driven approach to assembling its prime-time schedule for 2012-13, importing 10 new titles from U.S. networks while launching a Canadian version of a popular U.S. reality franchise.

The Rogers-owned network led off a week of fall-schedule announcements by Canada's commercial broadcasters, unveiling its new lineup for ad buyers on Tuesday in Toronto. Citytv will include seven new titles in its prime-time schedule this fall and has another five new series -- including a pair of Canadian-made comedies -- slated to premiere at mid-season.

Citytv also announced that it will add a couple of high-profile names in other parts of the day. Former CBS anchor Katie Couric's new talk show, Katie, will be added to the daytime lineup, and Jimmy Kimmel Live! will air in late-night on Citytv.

Citytv's lone new homegrown entry this fall is The Bachelor Canada, which will air Wednesdays and repeat Saturdays. Calgary-born broadcaster Tyler Harcott was introduced Tuesday as the host of the series; former CFL player Brad Smith was previously announced as the show's titular mate-seeking male.

Citytv's Monday lineup this fall will include one new comedy -- the semi-autobiographical CBS sitcom Partners, created by the producing tandem of David Kohan and Max Mutchnick (Will & Grace) -- and one new drama, Revolution, a futuristic, post-tech-meltdown NBC drama from Lost producer J.J. Abrams that co-stars Winnipeg-born actress Tracy Spiridakos. They will air alongside returning sitcoms How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls and Don't Trust the B - in Apartment 23.

On Tuesdays, Citytv will add two new Fox sitcoms -- the sibling-roommate series Ben and Kate, starring Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson, and The Mindy Project, a dysfunctional-romance comedy created by and starring The Office's Mindy Kaling -- to a lineup that also includes veteran shows Raising Hope, New Girl and Private Practice.

Wednesday's roster includes three ABC comedies -- The Middle, Suburgatory and Modern Family -- leading into The Bachelor Canada. On Thursday, Citytv will air a quartet of returning imports: 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Person of Interest and Scandal.

Citytv's Friday schedule includes Last Man Standing, Community, Fringe and reruns of the Canadian-made reality series Mantracker.

Saturday on Citytv is all repeats, with encore airings of The Bachelor Canada, Murdoch Mysteries and the locally produced comedy Less Than Kind. The Sunday schedule is filled with ABC imports, with two new titles -- the countrified Reba McEntire sitcom Malibu Country and the spooky-apartment-block drama 666 Park Avenue -- joining returning titles Happy Endings and Revenge.

Citytv has partnered with two Vancouver-based companies -- Thunderbird Films and Force Four Entertainment -- to produce a pair of homegrown comedies that are scheduled to premiere at mid-season. Package Deal focuses on a young woman who discovers that the charming lawyer she's started dating doesn't go anywhere without his two older brothers, and Seed follows an ill-equipped bachelor who learns that his for-cash-payment visits to a sperm bank have produced quite a few offspring with whom he decides he should try to connect.

Other U.S. acquisitions in Citytv's mid-season lineup include NBC's 1600 Penn, a dysfunctional first-family comedy starring Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg) and Bill Pullman (Independence Day); the self-explanatory ABC sitcom How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) starring Sarah Chalke, Elizabeth Perkins and Brad Garrett; the CW network's Sex and the City prequel, The Carrie Diaries; and the scary NBC drama Hannibal, inspired by the flesh-eating serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Thomas Harris's bestselling novels.

Canadian TV's ad-sales presentations continue Wednesday with Shaw/Global's schedule announcement; Bell/CTV follows with its fall-launch event on Thursday.

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 30, 2012 C3

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