TORONTO — Rogers Sports & Media has announced what it calls “‘The Rock’ solid” Citytv lineup for fall and winter, which has fewer new shows as the industry grapples with shutdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020/2021 schedule includes three new comedies for Citytv, including NBC’s “Young Rock,” which is based on the formative years of wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson.
Johnson grew up mostly in the United States but was a defensive lineman for the Calgary Stampeders for a brief period in the 1990s.
And his late father, professional wrestler Wayde Bowles, was from Nova Scotia.
Meanwhile, “Cityline” host Tracy Moore is set to unveil a new limited YouTube series addressing race relations in Canada.
“LIVE: #CitylineReal” premieres tomorrow and will see Moore speaking with a variety of guests every Tuesday afternoon about race and inequality in Canadian society.
Last year, Citytv announced 15 new shows and 17 returning series for the 2019/2020 lineup.
On Monday, it announced four new shows and 21 returning series for Citytv and Citytv NOW’s 2020/2021 schedule.
Other new shows include Tiny Fey and Robert Carlock’s NBC sitcom “Mr. Mayor,” starring Ted Danson as a wealthy businessman who runs for mayor of Los Angeles “for all the wrong reasons.” The cast also includes Bobby Moynihan and Holly Hunter.
There’s also the new NBC Dick Wolf drama “Law & Order: Organized Crime,” with franchise star Christopher Meloni reprising his role as Elliot Stabler.
And Fox’s “The Great North” is a comedy about an Alaskan family starring Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Jenny Slate and Will Forte.
Rogers Sports & Media is the second Canadian broadcaster to announce its fall/winter slate this year after CBC’s presentation last month. Corus Entertainment and Bell Media are set to reveal their lineups on Tuesday.
Every spring broadcasters typically present their programming in a splashy presentation called an “upfront,” where advertisers and members of the media can see on-air talent. This year’s presentations have been online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rogers Sports & Media president Jordan Banks, who joined the company last year and previously worked at Facebook and Instagram Canada, said he has “a very clear vision around what modern-day consumers want, how they want it and how that needs to adapt across different devices.”
“Our plan going forward closely reflects those dynamics with sports as our cornerstone,” Banks said in Monday’s online presentation, which included on-air stars.
“Said another way: we are trying really hard to no longer be your average media company.”
Returning Citytv programming includes: the Canadian canine police drama “Hudson & Rex”; the sitcom “black-ish”; the “Chicago” franchise; the reality series “Dancing with the Stars,” “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”; and the comedies “Bob’s Burgers,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons.”
Also returning to Citytv: “Hockey Night In Canada,” the Grammy Awards, and the New Year’s Eve special “Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve.”
The lineup for FX includes returning hits “Pose,” “Fargo,” “American Horror Story” and “American Crime Story.”
“We’ve all seen that more and more Canadians have turned to their screens over the past several months to find a little distraction during COVID, and our Citytv 2020/21 schedule delivers on our commitment to continue being a source of comfort and entertainment for Canadian TV fans, whether it’s live or on-demand, and across all major platforms,” Julie Adam, senior vice-president of TV and radio at Rogers Sports & Media, said in a statement.
“We’ve gone bigger this year to create blockbuster nights of entertainment that take viewers through the week with the shows and characters they’ve come to love,” added Hayden Mindell, vice-president of TV programming and content at Rogers Sports & Media.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2020.
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press