CanWest MediaWorks: Global + CH

Context: Losing the number-one spot to CTV sent CanWest MediaWorks on the biggest buying spree among the Canadian nets at this year's upfronts.

Context: Losing the number-one spot to CTV sent CanWest MediaWorks on the biggest buying spree among the Canadian nets at this year’s upfronts.

Kathy Gardner, SVP of integrated media research and corporate promotion, says picking up more than two dozen new series for Global and CH ‘is our first big step’ in trying to regain past dominance.

‘But they have a lot of ground to make up and I don’t think anybody believes they’re going to do it in one year,’ OMD’s O’Neil.

Still, says Gardner, ‘We have new people on board and…with the team that’s now in place, we expect to see enhancements.’

2005/6 strategy: ‘We feel we’ve picked the best of the best, and they will bolster every night on our schedule across a number of demographic bases,’ Gardner explains.

The new fare will hammock such notable returning hits as House, which she says grew its overall audience by 150%, while 24 grew by

30% overall.

She also says: ‘We’re going to ensure that we shore up our strengths, like our Monday night with the combination of Fear Factor, Las Vegas and 24 [returning in January 2006].’

We also want to maintain our strategic strength on Thursdays with Joey, Survivor, The Apprentice and Without a Trace.’

Show offerings: The 11 new drama series ‘pay particular attention to female-based shows such as Bones and The Closer,’ says Gardner, who adds that CanWest is also ‘very excited’ about such male-skewing adventure series as E-Ring, Prison Break and Threshold.

Other new dramas include: Canadian entries Falcon Beach and ReGenesis, as well as Fathom; The Gate; Head Cases; The Inside; The Loop; Reunion; Sex, Lies and Secrets and The Unit.

Eleven new comedy series include My Name is Earl – which Gardner says ‘nicely complements Arrested Development,’ which moves to Mondays, while War at Home, ‘is a perfect fit for our Sunday night on Global.’ [For details on Global's shows, see page 80.]

Five new unscripted shows include The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, The Cut, I Want to Be a Hilton, Princes of Malibu and Rock Star: INXS.

From a media buyer’s point of view, says O’Neil, CanWest’s purchases and the way they will be deployed on the schedule ‘pretty much makes sense.’

She didn’t spot any obvious breakout hits in the roster, although she did have good words to say for War at Home and its placement on Sunday nights, as well as Prison Break on Mondays.

But M2′s Dinga is scathing about the net’s upcoming season. ‘We hear that [CanWest chief] Leonard Asper was throwing tons and tons of money at his people to put together a really good schedule.

‘But, except for possibly Thursday night, I can’t see Global or CH taking even one little nip out of CTV next season.’