CTV drops Cardinal debut into mid-season lineup

The six-part drama series, produced by Sienna Films and eOne, will take Designated Survivor's spot in a bid to capture some of the juggernaut's audience.

Bell Media’s CTV has set a mid-season debut for its six-part drama Cardinal, which launches on CTV’s linear channel on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 10 p.m.

On CraveTV, the show will launch a day earlier, on Jan. 24, with each weekly episode landing on the SVOD the day before it airs on CTV and Super Écran’s linear platform. The sixth and final episode of the series will launch day-and-date on CTV/Super Écran and Crave.

On the linear side, Cardinal will take the slot left by Designated Survivor while the Kiefer Sutherland-starrer goes on a two-month winter hiatus. Mike Cosentino, SVP, CTV and specialty, told Playback Daily the decision to put Cardinal into the Designated Survivor slot was based on a trend that has been developing south of the border.

“Rewind 18 months, we found ourselves in an evolving world where some of our hit U.S. series were going away for six to eight weeks at a stretch, due to Hollywood production schedules and U.S. network broadcasting strategy,” he said.

With this pattern developing, Cosentino said Bell Media saw the opportunity to develop and order a Canadian series to fit this gap, as well as delivering it into a slot that has been drawing close to 2.5 million viewers each week for Designated Survivor. In addition, Cardinal will directly follow Criminal Minds, which airs at 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, and taps a similar audience to the U.S. crime series juggernaut.

CTV greenlit the one-hour drama last November, with filming beginning this past February across Ontario, including shoots in Sudbury, North Bay, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek and Toronto. Cardinal is produced by Sienna Films and eOne and stars Billy Campbell (The Killing)and Karine Vanasse (Revenge) as a detective duo on the hunt for a murderer in northern Ontario.

Directed by Daniel Grou (also known as Podz), the series was adapted for television by Aubrey Nealon (Orphan BlackSaving Hope) from Giles Blunt’s book series John Cardinal Mysteries.