Upfronts ’19: Citytv adds Dead Still, Vagrant Queen to midseason

Dead Still pic
Rogers Media also renewed Shaftesbury's Hudson and Rex, while there were a number of significant changes to its roster of international acquisitions.

Citytv on Thursday revealed a much-changed lineup for 2019/20, with a pair of newly commissioned Canadian series lining up alongside 15 new international pick ups and 17 returning acquisitions.

On the Canadian content front, Rogers Media added the Ireland/Canada treaty copro Dead Still (6 x 60 minutes, pictured) and the recently announced sci-fi series Vagrant Queen (10 x 60 minutes) to its midseason lineup.

Dead Still, produced by Shaftesbury and Dublin-based Deadpan Pictures, was commissioned by Irish broadcaster RTÉ and Acorn Media Enterprises (AME), which is a subsidiary of AMC Networks-owned company RLJ Entertainment. Currently shooting in and around Dublin, the series is set to premiere next year on RTÉ in Ireland, Citytv in Canada and Acorn TV in the U.S. Set in 1880s Ireland, the period drama follows a renowned memorial photographer as he investigates the murders of his recently deceased subjects. Exec producers on the project are Paul Donovan, Ailish McElmeel, Christina Jennings, and Scott Garvie.

Citytv also renewed Shaftesbury’s Hudson & Rex for a second season (16 x 60 minutes), with the second block of season one set to begin airing on Citytv next month. The series, produced by Shaftesbury and Pope Productions, is based on a European format about a police detective and his hardworking dog.

Rogers Media also said Thursday that a further six Canadian series are in development with Citytv. As of press time, no further details about those series was available.

Absent from Thursday’s programming announcement was the hour-long mafia drama Bad Blood (New Metric Media, Sphere Média Plus), which was picked up by Netflix internationally in November. Playback Daily understands that further announcements about the show are expected in the coming months. Meanwhile, The Murders and Bletchley Circle: San Francisco were also absent from the lineup. Updates on those series are also expected at a later date, according to VP, TV programming and content, Hayden Mindell.

On the international front, there are a number of significant changes for 2019/20. Notably, Citytv no longer has the Canadian broadcasting rights to half-hour comedy Modern Family, which is switching to Global for its final season. The Corus Entertainment net also picked up the sophomore season of Single Parents, which had previously aired on Citytv.

There were shows headed in the other direction, too, as Rogers Media acquired Canadian rights to NBC’s Chicago franchise, which had previously aired on Global. Rogers Media has scheduled those shows to air back-to-back on Wednesday nights, with Chicago Med at 8 p.m., Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. and Chicago PD at 10 p.m.

Other new international series joining Citytv’s fall lineup are 30-minute animated comedy series Bless the Harts (Sundays at 8:30 p.m), hour-long scripted drama series Bluff City Law (Mondays at 10 p.m.), scripted drama series Four Weddings and a Funeral (Thursdays at 10 p.m.), hour-long talk show The Kelly Clarkson Show(weekdays at 4 p.m.), half-hour scripted comedy Mixed-ish (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.) and comedy Perfect Harmony (Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.).

Meanwhile, new additions to midseason include The Baker and the BeautyCouncil of DadsGodfather of Harlem and Lincoln, in addition to Dead Still and Vagrant Queen. Premiere dates and times for these series will be announced at a later date.

The changes to the lineup are part of a strategy to add a larger range of viewers to Citytv, Mindell told Playback Daily, with procedurals such as the Chicago franchise and Bluff City Law expected to appeal to a wide demographic. However, Mindell says the key demo of women, younger viewers and Ontario viewers is still an important part of its programming decisions.

Returning series for Citytv include The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchise, A Million Little ThingsManifestBlack-ish, Bob’s Burgers, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Dancing with the Stars, Family Guy, Hockey Night in Canada, Little Big Shots, Mom and The Simpsons.

There was other news emanating from Rogers Media HQ on Thursday as Sportsnet revealed it is launching multiplatform original content studio in Toronto. Rogers Media said the new studio will allow space for Sportsnet personalities, including Faizal Khamisa, Danielle Michaud, Donnovan Bennett, and Steve Dangle, to produce digital and social content that complements its TV, radio, and online content.