In announcing its full 2017/18 schedules on Wednesday, the company announced it's adding 5 p.m. newscasts to all its local CTV stations. Previously it only had 5 p.m. newscasts in British Columbia, Alberta and Atlantic Canada.
In Toronto this summer, CTV and all-news station CP24 will both start airing live newscasts at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. leading up to “CTV News at Six.” CTV said the addition of 5 p.m. newscasts across its other various markets starting in the fall will add 35 hours of original local news production weekly.
“It's going to probably be more community-based. It's definitely going to carry the headlines but it might be a different set of stories than what you would see at (6 p.m.),” said Mike Cosentino, senior vice-president of content and programming.
“I think over the last couple of years, decade or longer, I think people's consumption of news has changed, certainly people's arrival time at home has changed. I think people are available at five o'clock for news and I think when you look across the border, you see local news across the border at four o'clock, five o'clock and six o'clock. There's no bigger or better lead-in to news than news.”
On Monday, Rogers Media also announced it will expand its local newscast format “CityNews” to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Montreal.
“Local news is part of your home brand identity,” said Cosentino. “I think your default (TV channel) setting is informed by your local news.”
Also joining the CTV schedule is “The Launch,” featuring record executive Scott Borchetta and pop-star mentors Fergie and One Republic's Ryan Tedder.
In each episode of the Canadian series, five homegrown singers will perform a rendition of a new tune penned by a songwriter. The four mentors then pick two finalists to work with a renowned producer and perform the song again, with the winner becoming the official singer of the track.
“The next morning that song will be aired across radio in Canada, it will be on iTunes, it will be on all our platforms, it will be on iHeartRadio,” said Cosentino.
“There's a real opportunity here not only to create a new format for ourselves but also to see if we can introduce new artists to Canadians.”
CTV said it's already casting for the six-episode series, which will be pre-taped and launch in January.
“We're creating it ourselves and we've had a lot of interest internationally to represent this around the world,” said Cosentino.
Other highlights of the upcoming season include the “Big Bang Theory” spinoff “Young Sheldon,” a reboot of “Roseanne,” and the four-part series “The Indian Detective” with Russell Peters.
The lineup unveiling brought a number of stars to Toronto including Lea Michele of “Glee” fame, who is in the new comedy “The Mayor.”
“I thought Drake was your mayor here,” Michele joked in an interview. “Isn't that him sitting on the CN Tower over there?”
Asked if she's a fan of the music superstar, she said: “Duh, I want to marry him. I want to drink white wine spritzers with him for the rest of my life! ... I love him from 'Degrassi' back in the day. I'm obsessed with him. He's the best.”
By Victoria Ahearn