Playing the continuity game

The four Quebec networks have just released their fall 1993 schedules and there were no major surprises.Radio-Quebec and tqs are playing the continuity game, while tva and Radio-Quebec, which had to improve, made more moves in their programming.Here is an executive...

The four Quebec networks have just released their fall 1993 schedules and there were no major surprises.

Radio-Quebec and tqs are playing the continuity game, while tva and Radio-Quebec, which had to improve, made more moves in their programming.

Here is an executive summary of what to look for next fall:

Radio-Canada

Actual situation – Leadership position: Seven of top 10 in 25-54; eight of top 10 in 18-49 (source BBM Spring 1993 – Montreal EMA).

Perception of general strategy:

- Continuity – build on 1993 success.

- High-profile miniseries

- Quality programming to improve its 25-54 daytime performance (attractive to packaged goods advertisers.)

New shows to look for:

- Blanche – The sequel of the miniseries Les Filles de Caleb. High quality drama. Great expectations from the public. Might perform as well as Les Filles de Caleb.

- La petite vie – Half-hour variety at 7 p.m. Saturday. Hosted by two of Quebec’s well-known characters, Ding et Dong. Should perform better than Metropolis.

- Les pieds dans les plats – Written by Sylvie Payette. Community service program presented by actors in real-life situations. An interesting and dangerous new format – mixing reality with real people is always difficult.

Blockbusters or flagships:

- Blanche – Fall 1993

- Scoop III – Spring 1994

- Sunday night comedy – Surprise sur prise; Juste pour rire

Interesting changes:

- La Soiree du Hockey moves to 7:30 p.m.

TVA

Actual situation – Lost ground over the last few books. Reworked its schedule a few times in 1993.

Perception of general strategy:

- Improve its 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. time-block

- High-profile miniseries in sweep periods

- Reworked 30% of its schedule

- Aiming at a younger audience, which corresponds to consumer target groups.

New shows to look for:

- Piment fort – Daily at 5:30 p.m. Quiz hosted by Normand Brathwaite, the No. 1 morning man in Montreal, who might attract a younger audience just before dinner.

- Genevieve – Half-hour sitcom written by Andre Dubois, a well-known comedy writer. All important casting has not yet been confirmed.

- Ent’ Cadieux – Comedy-drama on Thursday at 7 p.m. Written by Guy Fournier (Jamais deux sans toi). A very solid lead-in for Chop Suey at 7:30 p.m.

Blockbusters or flagships:

- Rene Levesque – High-profile miniseries in Fall 1993.

- Chambres en ville

- Chop Suey

Interesting changes:

- New talk show Friday and Saturday night at 10 p.m. A younger version of AdLib.

TQS

Actual situation – Comfortable No. 3 position, particularly strong between 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and with a younger audience.

Perception of general strategy:

- Continuity – build on 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. success.

- Extend 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. success to shoulder periods.

- Does not have the budget to support expensive productions.

New shows to look for:

- Quelle Histoire – Daily at 7:30 p.m. Quiz show hosted by Bernard Fortin and Edgard Frutier. Follows Sonia Benezra and will profit from its solid performance.

- Croque Madame, Croque Monsieur – Two shows, same concept. One Tuesday and one Wednesday at 8 p.m. Tuesday for women, Wednesday for men. Variety show hosted by Pauline Martin and Daniel Pilon. Interesting concept. The hosts will need the support of a strong and active team to fill 60 minutes.

Blockbusters or flagships:

- Les Guerre des Clans (Family Feud)

- Sonia Benezra

- Le hockey des Nordiques

Interesting changes:

- Monday to Wednesday movies move to 9 p.m.

- Le Grand Journal second edition at 11 p.m.

Radio-Quebec

Actual situation – Complementary network with an education and cultural mandate.

Perception of general strategy:

- Facelifting of show hosts

- One fall and one spring historical miniseries to raise the network profile.

New shows to look for:

- Quebec Magazine – Wednesday at 8 p.m. Aggressive public affairs show hosted by Monique Simard (formerly of cjms and cns)

- Bric-Brac-Broc – Variety broadcast from a Montreal theatre. Hosted by Guildor Roy and Gilbert Sicotte.

Block busters or flagships:

- Les Batisseurs d’eau – Three-hour miniseries (Spring 1994) on the founding of Hydro-Quebec. With strong pre-promotion support, this miniseries might perform as well as Bombardier.

- Avec un grand A – Fall 1994.

Interesting changes:

- Major changes, including host and format, to Droit de Parole, Nord-Sud and Tele-service.

Alain Tardy is vice-president, media director at Montreal-based Marketel.