Canadian female buddy cop series among procedural favourites in Citytv’s new lineup

By Sadaf Ahsan, The Canadian Press

TORONTO — A female-driven buddy cop procedural leads the way as the sole newhomegrown original series in Citytv’s upcoming lineup. 

Rogers Sports & Media announced its programming slate for Citytv on Tuesday, which includes a heft of reality television and long-standing dramas.  

The network’s new original series is “Wong & Winchester,” which stars Grace Lynn Kung (“Transplant,” “Fahrenheit 451”) and Sofia Banzhaf (“Closet Monster,” “Splinters”) as a mismatched duo whose stark differences help them solve cases. It will begin production this summer in Montreal and premiere mid-season. 

“We’re smaller than the other broadcasters, we don’t have the girth of cable channels that they do, and so our slate is always relatively smaller than our competitors in terms of originals,” said Hayden Mindell, vice-president of programming and acquisition at Rogers Media, in an interview.

He says the network is, however, committed to its existing series, including comedy-drama “Hudson & Rex,” which will be getting a larger 20-episode order for its upcoming fifth season.

“For Canada, that’s quite high,” Mindell said. “We have a number of things in development, so I can honestly say by no means are we scaling back. It may be that we’re not announcing as much right now than we normally would, but our commitment to original Canadian scripted programming is stronger than ever.”

In addition to “Wong & Winchester” and “Hudson & Rex,” Citytv’s No. 1 original scripted series, the network is also sticking with its lineup of procedural imports, including “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med,” “Chicago P.D.,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Organized Crime” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” 

Procedurals have always worked well for them, said Mindell, explaining, “When you choose to go with a streaming service, you’re making a choice to go deep and explore something and spend time in that world.

“But procedurals are appealing on television in some part because they’re not a huge commitment and they’re great stories. You don’t have to go too deep, you can find something that may be familiar for you … and after an hour or two, maybe three, you can move on.” 

Citytv also continues to be a major platform for reality television, with the rebooted “Canada’s Got Talent” returning for a second season in spring 2023. It made its return earlier this year after 10 years off the air. It is now the network’s most viewed original series in over a decade, having drawn 1.4 million viewers per episode.

“Bachelor in Paradise Canada” will also be returning for a second season, with new host and former “Bachelor” contestant Sharleen Joynt. It will premiere mid-season. 

Other U.S. reality series on the slate include “The Bachelorette,” “America’s Got Talent,” “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

New scriptedshows include the reimagined sci-fi drama “Quantum Leap,” starring Raymond Lee, and “Lopez vs. Lopez,” comedian George Lopez’s latest sitcom, created in partnership with his daughter, Mayan Lopez. Investigative series “Dateline,” too, is a new one for the network. 

On the daytime television front, Citytv has renewed mainstays “Breakfast Television” and “Cityline,” along with “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” It also added “The Jennifer Hudson Show,” led by the Grammy and Oscar-winning star.

Ultimately, says Mindell, the programming strategy is “consistency.”

“We try to create a schedule that has a night of programming that viewers have come to love over years or over decades, whether that’s ‘The Bachelor’ on Mondays, or the ‘Chicago’ series on Wednesdays, or ‘Law & Order’ night on Thursdays. They’re always there, they’re reliable, and they’re fun.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2022. 

Sadaf Ahsan, The Canadian Press

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