TORONTO — A modernized take on the Robin Hood legend, a gender-swapped “Matlock” and a show revolving around a "Good Wife" fan favourite are among the highlights of Global’s upcoming TV plans, provided that a Hollywood writers’ strike does not delay or upend the lineup.
Corus Entertainment’s flagship channel revealed a fall and winter schedule partly anchored by updated takes of past hits, including the CBS reboot of legal classic “Matlock” with Kathy Bates in the titular role, and CBS’s “The Good Wife” spinoff “Elsbeth” starring Carrie Preston.
Homegrown fare includes the fall series “Robyn Hood,” billed as a “contemporary re-imagining” from acclaimed Canadian music video director and filmmaker Julien Christian Lutz, also known as Director X, and starring Jessye Romeo and Nykeem Provo.
Corus Entertainment executive Troy Reeb said Global’s mix of scripted and reality content would largely weather the impact of an ongoing work stoppage by the Writers Guild of America, pointing to three giant non-scripted franchises – CBS’s “Survivor” and “Big Brother,” and Fox’s “I Can See Your Voice."
However, he acknowledged that a long strike could delay a fall launch or interrupt schedules if U.S. imports run out of scripts.
“We are well-prepared for either scenario. We've got both a full fall schedule of scripted dramas and comedies as well as reality in there, but we've also stocked up on additional unscripted reality competition shows in the event that we need them," Reeb said Wednesday.
Those include the competition series “Lotería Loca,” in which two players go head-to-head and take turns picking cards to get four-in-a-row, and “Buddy Games,” created and hosted by actor Josh Duhamel in which best friends “compete in wild challenges.”
"We have to prepare for that and we've done so by not only locking in what we think will be a great fall schedule but ensuring that we've got a great schedule that will get us to the full schedule, whenever it comes," said Reeb.
Corus Entertainment hosted a day of events for media and ad buyers detailing those plans Wednesday as Canada’s major broadcasters rolled out their annual upfront presentations.
Following CBC last week and Rogers Sports and Media on Tuesday, Corus touted a portfolio of brands including lifestyles and factual networks HGTV, Food Network and History; kids channels Cartoon Network, Teletoon and Treehouse; and streaming platform StackTV.
Bell Media was set to reveal its plans Thursday.
Late Wednesday, Corus announced a 12th season of Global's popular reality competition "Big Brother Canada" would premiere in spring 2024, hosted Arisa Cox who also serves as an executive producers.
Other Corus highlights include Seth MacFarlane’s Peacock series “Ted” for Showcase, a ‘90s-set live action comedy based on the movie about a foul-mouthed talking teddy bear, and the true crime comedy “Based on a True Story” for W Network, starring Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina.
Missing from the HGTV fall lineup is a second season of Pamela Anderson’s renovation series “Pamela’s Garden of Eden,” which has been pushed to “late 2024” after initially being touted for fall 2023. Reeb said a planned Food Network show starring the beauty icon was also still in the works.
Also coming to Global this fall is the CBS comedy “Poppa’s House” starring Damon Wayans and Damon Wayans Jr. on Mondays, followed by "NCIS" and “NCIS: Hawai’i,” with LL Cool J's character leaving Cali for the Aloha State to appear as a recurring guest.
Returning fall shows include awards favourite “Abbott Elementary” on Wednesdays as a lead-in to “Robyn Hood,” the comedy “Ghosts” and “So Help Me Todd” as lead-ins to “Elsbeth” on Thursdays; and the final season of “S.W.A.T.” and the drama “Fire Country” on Fridays.
Reeb touted "Robyn Hood" as a dark and gritty take on the legendary outlaw, this time with a heroine challenging the status quo and fighting oppression.
'"It really kind of leans into very topical themes around class struggle, around inequality and we think it's really got a unique vision and think it's going to cut through," he said.
As viewers are faced with increasing choice on multiple digital and linear platforms, Reeb said broadcast television's main competitors are now the big streamers, such as Netflix and Disney Plus.
Working in Corus' favour is its vast array of reality, factual and lifestyle programs, he said.
"There's an opportunity for networks like ours to continue to show our value to audiences to be able to cut through the noise a little bit more this fall."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2023.
Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press