Marquee dramas about Sherlock Holmes, Chicago firefighters, Vegas mobsters and a renegade submarine crew anchor Global's upcoming primetime schedule.
Shaw Media says star-packed new titles include the modern-day series Elementary, starring Jonny Lee Miller as NYPD Det. Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson; the gritty 60s-era drama Vegas with Dennis Quaid as a war vet and Michael Chiklis as a ruthless Chicago gangster and the actioner Last Resort with Scott Speedman and Andre Braugher as members of a submarine crew forced to take refuge on an exotic, tropical island.
Content boss Barbara Williams is announcing the 2012-2013 lineup today at a splashy event for advertisers featuring talk show host Ricki Lake and NCIS:LA star LL Cool J.
Rogers Media announced its comedy-filled lineup earlier this week while CTV is set to reveal its new slate tomorrow.
Global's fall comedy additions include Go On, starring Matthew Perry as a recently widowed sportscaster whose boss forces him to enter counselling and Guys with Kids, about three 30-something dads trying to hold on to their youth, starring Jesse Bradford, Zach Cregger and Anthony Anderson.
New daytime offerings include The Jeff Probst Show, a one-hour talk show led by the Survivor host and Lake's The Ricki Lake Show.
Williams says the schedule is anchored by top-tier evening dramas, including Chicago Fire, about life at an inner city firehouse written by Law & Order creator Dick Wolf and Vegas, from Casino and Goodfellas scribe Nicholas Pileggi.
"We really think that that's a core strength for us," Williams said of Global's weighty series, adding that she sought a balanced slate overall.
"We bought a lot but we bought smartly and we bought in ways that we can use really effectively on the schedule. That's the winning combination."
Returning shows include Bomb Girls, Bones, Glee, Hawaii Five-0, The Good Wife, NCIS, NCIS: LA, The Office, The Simpsons, Rookie Blue, Touch and Survivor.
Midseason additions include the comedy Save Me, with Anne Heche as a woman who has a spiritual transformation and the reality series The Job, where contestants get the chance to win their dream job by acing a series of tests.
The rest of Shaw's portfolio — including specialty channels Showcase, HGTV, Slice and History — boasts more than 650 hours of Canadian original programming, said Williams.
Showcase in particular features several high-profile titles: BBC America's Copper, which is a 10-part Canadian co-production set in 1860s New York City; the international co-production World Without End" based on the Ken Follett novel; and the Toronto-shot Beauty and the Beast, crafted in partnership with CBS Studios.
Williams proudly notes these upper tier channels are drawing audiences that rival those of the main networks. She notes that Showcase's Continuum debuted Sunday to 900,000 viewers while Hatfields & McCoys reached 1.1 million on History.
"We're having huge success with our scripted shows all over the place," says Williams.
"These are monster audiences for any platform but particularly for specialty so we just think our specialty opportunity is just getting bigger and bigger."
Over on Slice, new and returning shows include a second season of The Real Housewives of Vancouver — albeit with some new housewives — and The Mistress, a new series featuring Sarah Symonds, self-proclaimed former mistress to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and novelist Jeffrey Archer.