|He's alive! It's alive! CTV orders a second season of Saving Hope|
True to their word, CTV not only officially renewed Hope Friday, it boosted its second season order to 18 episodes.
CTV did the same thing when NBC walked away early from another CanAm co-pro, The Listener, which--despite several timeslot changes--has consistently drawn a strong audience in Canada and is heading into a fourth season.
According to CTV, Saving Hope's initial 12 episode run averaged 1.7 million total viewers a week, making it the most watched Canadian drama last summer.
That very same scenario wasn't enough to save Combat Hospital, launched one summer earlier on Global and ABC. A huge hit in Canada, it tanked in the States. At a reported cost of $2 million per episode, Global cut its losses, but CTV, which will soon say goodbye to another high profile Canadian drama, Flashpoint, figures it is worth the cost to go it alone.
Saving Hope is shot in Mississauga, Ont., in the same converted warehouse studio where Rookie Blue is lensed. The medical drama, starring Erica Durance and Michael Shanks, is produced by ICF Films/Entertainment One. NBC aired it last summer on Thursdays in the Grey's Anatomy timeslot but U.S. viewers never found it.
While NBC Universal keeps showing a willingness to try these cross border co-pros, the network has few safe berths on its schedule. Just ask the folks at Sony/eOne who made The Firm, another tenant at that same Mississauga TV factory. That series opened around the world with much fanfare but was a bust on NBC in America and, despite a guaranteed 22 episode order, was quickly buried on Saturday nights.
Hope may find another window to the US the way Flashpoint finished its run on the cable channel ION. Still, that won't be NBC money, although, as today's renewal attests, CTV feels it can finance it alone.
The news of Saving Hope's renewal comes the same day as three U.S. series launched last fall get the axe. Gone are CBS's Will & Grace 2.0 comedy Partners, plus ABC's 666 Park Avenue and the sub drama Last Resort, which turned out to be Voyage to the Bottom of the Ratings. Don't get mad at ABC, Last Resort executive producer Shawn Ryan tweeted Friday, "If you'd like to curse out Nielsen viewers though..."
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City made a smart deal to immediately shore up its schedule by picking up the CBS comedy Mike & Molly, squeezed out by all those reality shows at CTV/CTVTwo. The Rogers-owned network also has a couple of Canadian-made comedies, Seed and Package Deal, set to start early in the New Year.
Maybe CTV is finally getting that this business of renting U.S. shows is such a crap shoot, why not stick with a made-in-Canada hit.