CTV

Context: When a triumphant Susanne Boyce, president of programming at CTV, says she thinks: 'We're in the golden age of television right now,' she might as well be describing her own network's status as the hands-down, and possibly unbeatable, Canadian champ.

Context: When a triumphant Susanne Boyce, president of programming at CTV, says she thinks: ‘We’re in the golden age of television right now,’ she might as well be describing her own network’s status as the hands-down, and possibly unbeatable, Canadian champ.

Coming out of the past season, CTV had 18 of the top 20 shows in every key demographic with, according to Rita Fabian, SVP of sales and marketing, growth in the 50% range for a string of new shows that were for the most part breakout hits right off the bat: Lost, Desperate Housewives, Medium, in addition to CSI: New York.

CTV’s dominance is anything but a fluke, says Dennis Dinga, VP/director of broadcast buying for Toronto’s M2 Universal. ‘To be number one, it takes more than just buying good programming. It takes planning and nurturing your schedule and seeing the big picture way down the road.’

2005/6 strategy: With almost no holes to fill, Boyce says CTV was able to cherry-pick from among the new shows, buying only what will best complement the net’s strong stable – and then keeping most of them till mid-season ‘as bench strength, to use a hockey metaphor.’

Show offerings: Coming out of the gate in summer or early fall are Close to Home, Ghost Whisperer, Inconceivable, Invasion and Twins. Later on, CTV will slot in Commander-in-Chief, Criminal Minds, Crumbs, The Evidence, In Justice, The Miracle Workers, Night Stalker and What About Brian, as well as Canadian newcomers Whistler, Jeff Ltd. and Alice, I Think. [For details on CTV's shows, see page 73.]

‘I don’t think any of the new shows is likely to be as huge a winner as some of CTV’s new shows last year,’ says Sherry O’Neil, managing director at OMD Toronto. ‘But they’re all solid properties.’