‘Canada’s Got Talent’ returning to Citytv with Simon Cowell as part of 2021/22 lineup

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ten years after a single-season run, “Canada’s Got Talent” is returning to Citytv with the involvement of franchise creator and discerning judge Simon Cowell.

Rogers Sports & Media has announced a revival of the homegrown version of the popular “Got Talent” franchise, which originally aired in 2012.

The reality competition is part of Citytv’s newly announced 2021/22 lineup and begins production this fall in Niagara Falls, Ont., with the premiere set for next spring.

Hayden Mindell, vice-president of programming at Citytv, says Cowell will appear in this incarnation but “to what extent is still to be determined.”

He says they hope to announce details on who will host and judge the nine episodes soon.

Mindell adds the show will be filmed indoors, possibly with a live studio audience if pandemic protocols allow it.

“Breakfast Television” personality Dina Pugliese hosted the first “Canada’s Got Talent” with judges Martin Short, Measha Brueggergosman and Stephan Moccio. Rogers cited the “current economic climate” when it announced the show’s end in 2012.

Other homegrown programming in the fall/winter lineup includes “Bachelor in Paradise Canada,” “The Bachelor After Show” and a fourth season of the Canadian cop-canine story “Hudson & Rex.”

“Bachelor in Paradise Canada” airs this fall followed by the after show, which will be hosted by Toronto radio hosts Deepa Prashad and Daryn Jones of KiSS 92.5 and will cover all “Bachelor” franchises airing throughout the year on Citytv.

TV personality and actor Jesse Jones hosts “Bachelor in Paradise Canada,” alongside “Bachelor” alumn Kevin Wendt as bartender.

Citytv said the cast has “familiar faces” from various “Bachelor” franchises. 

The station hasn’t revealed the filming location but “it will be very uniquely Canadian,” Mindell said in an interview as the lineup was revealed Tuesday.

“Paradise does exist in Canada … and the producer is doing a great job of highlighting the true paradise that we actually have all around us.”

Citytv will be “all things ‘Bachelor,'” Mindell said, with the U.S. “Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” also on the schedule. 

It’s a franchise that’s always done well in ratings and chatter on social media, he said.

“TV audiences are all about catch-up and this streamer and that streamer, but certain reality shows have continued to do well and they’re still things people talk about.”

Crime-fighting canines also do well, Mindell said, noting “Hudson & Rex” is Citytv’s highest-rated original scripted series. It starts production on the fourth season in St. John’s later this month and will air in mid-season.

“It’s a fascinating show because its audiences have grown year over year. And it’s not the kind of show that you would find necessarily on a streaming service, but it has done exceptionally well on linear television,” Mindell said.

“Dogs in Newfoundland — it’s a magical elixir. Maybe the next one is cats in Saskatchewan,” he jested. 

“Hudson & Rex” producers Shaftesbury and Pope Productions are also sponsoring the new mentoring initiative Level UP, from Citytv in partnership with Access Reelworld and Rogers Sports & Media.

The program provides on-the-ground set experience to emerging writers and directors who identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of colour. 

Other Canadian shows on the docket include OMNI Television’s original Chinese-Canadian crime drama “Blood and Water: Fire & Ice,” which returns for a third and final season starting June 13.

Mindell said “there’s more to come” in terms of Canadian content, which they hope to announce before fall.

When it comes to U.S. fare, a Citytv press release touted “a lineup rooted in blockbuster franchises and proven hits with built-in fandom” to help “break through the jam-packed content landscape.”

They include the juggernaut “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and the new series “Law & Order: For the Defense,” which tells the police procedural franchise story from the perspective of a defence attorney. 

Then there’s “America’s Got Talent,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” and Chicago P.D.”

Comedies include “Black-ish,” “Mr. Mayor” and Young Rock.”

New U.S. shows include the NBC drama “Ordinary Joe,” about the three parallel lives of James Wolk’s character.

Citytv is the second Canadian channel to reveal its upcoming lineup as part of the so-called spring TV “upfronts” presentations, after CBC’s announcement last week. Corus presents its schedule Wednesday, followed by Bell Media on Thursday.

Mindell said they built the Citytv schedule on what traditionally makes “the linear television experience strong.”

“On certain content, we can’t necessarily compete with a streamer with the experience of diving in on your own schedule and then watching the entire series or season in one shot,” he said.

“But what conventional television can present you with is a night of television watching where we remove the anxiety of choice, of choosing what to watch, because it’s going to be ‘The Bachelor’ for the next two hours, or it’s going to be ‘Chicago’ for the next three hours, or it’s going to be ‘Law and Order’ for the next three hours and so on.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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