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Drama, comedy, revenue highlight Global schedule

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Aheavy dose of drama, a sprinkling of comedy, and an emphasis on creating revenue-boosting simulcast possibilities for imported U.S. shows are the highlights of Global TV's 2012-13 schedule, which was unveiled Wednesday in Toronto.

The Shaw Media-owned network announced a fall-schedule lineup that includes five new U.S.-network dramas and two imported sitcoms, building on a fairly stable schedule from 2011-12. There are no Canadian scripted shows in Global's fall schedule (the homegrown drama Bomb Girls will return next winter, and Rookie Blue is currently in its third summer fill-in season on Global and ABC).

"Last year, we had an incredible schedule of strong returning hits, and it sustained us well," Shaw Media's senior vice-president of content, Barbara Williams, explained. "We knew, however, that going into this year we really needed to put ourselves in the position of starting to build some new hits, so we went down to L.A. fairly aggressively this year and bought 11 new shows, seven of which are going to hit the Global schedule this fall."

Global's Monday lineup is comprised of three returning dramas -- Fox's Bones, NBC's Parenthood and CBS's Hawaii Five-0. On Tuesday, Global will simulcast the entire CBS drama lineup of NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and the new drama Vegas, a '60s-era cops-and-mobsters drama starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis.

On Wednesday, Global leads off with the timeless CBS reality/competition franchise Survivor, then follows with two new NBC comedies -- Go On, which stars Matthew Perry as a recently widowed sportscaster seeking group-therapy support, and Guys With Kids, a Jimmy Fallon-produced sitcom about three 30-something dads trying hard to hold onto their own youth -- and the new NBC drama Chicago Fire, which follows the everyday heroics of firefighters in one of America's biggest cities.

Thursday on Global is another all-simulcast evening, with the new ABC drama The Last Resort, featuring Canadian actor Scott Speedman as part of the crew of a U.S. nuclear submarine forced to abandon ship and take refuge on a mysterious island, and CBS's Elementary, a modern-day, Americanized spin on the Sherlock Holmes saga starring Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu, wrapped around Fox's relocated-to-Thursday hit Glee.

"The biggest win for us, strategically, was to get back into a full simulcast position on Thursday," said Williams. "Thursday is a huge night in television; it's an enormously important night for advertisers, and we needed to get a strong lineup there. We've got three powerful shows, anchored in the middle by Glee, which is a strong returning hit."

On Friday, Global will air the returning Fox Kiefer Sutherland series Touch, the new CBS drama Made in Jersey, which stars Janet Montgomery as a blue-collar-raised woman trying to make her mark at a Manhattan law firm, and the homegrown newsmagazine 16x9.

Global's Saturday schedule is made up of Canadian documentaries, crime-drama reruns, the home-cooking competition series Recipe to Riches and a new documentary-driven series, Close Up.

Sundays remain solid on Global, thanks to the enduring Fox animation block (The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons, Bob's Burgers, Family Guy and American Dad) and the hit CBS drama The Good Wife.

The network has another pair of U.S. imports in the on-deck circle for mid-season entry -- NBC's Save Me, which stars Anne Heche as a woman having a spiritual awakening after the failure of her marriage, and The Job, a Mark Burnett-produced reality show in which contestants have a chance to win their dream jobs.

Williams was quick to defend her company's strategy for developing Canadian scripted shows, despite the absence of any in Global's fall lineup.

"We have the largest slate of Canadian original scripted programming of anyone, including CBC," she said, pointing to last week's successful launch of the new Showcase series Continuum and the highly rated return of Rookie Blue to Global's lineup. "I think what's key here is that we are commissioning (shows) 12 months a year; we are not just in a fall-launch game with our Canadian content.

"We have huge scripted shows rolling out, both on Global and on our specialty networks. And I think the scripted shows are equally as valuable on our specialty channels, where they can get a unique audience. ... I think it's a bit of a misplaced thought to only look at the fall schedule and make a statement about whether you're in or you're out (of developing Canadian scripted shows). I think we've proven ourselves over and over again."

Shaw Media's fall-schedule announcement also included news that two of its specialty channels will be rebranded to become closer aligned with their U.S. cousins -- Diva will be relaunched as a Canadian version of U.S. cable's popular Lifetime network, and History Television will become HISTORY.

Shaw will also launch a second history-themed specialty net, H2, this fall.

CTV will announce its fall-schedule plans Thursday in Toronto.

brad.oswald@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2012 D3

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