Another Dispatch from the TV Upfronts – Shaw Media

Shaw has a lot to answer for, like, where are the comedies? Or as the Joker might posit – “Why so serious?” The Shaw upfront today was a very slick event with lots of lights, epic music, and drama; they actually played the monolithic music from Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey ” to lead off the show, can you get more dramatic than that?

Paul Robertson, Shaw’s head guy, took the stage at the Elgin Theatre and let everyone know that their year was better than has likely been reported and he recounted some great news that might have been forgotten amongst the prime time stumbles. They launched a great breakfast show, their news is growing in leaps and bounds and is challenging CTV for supremacy and they still have some great prime time favourites like The Good Wife, NCIS, their animated comedies, and LL COOL J. Speaking of LL COOL J, he was in the house and really endeared himself to the crowd by showing genuine gratitude to Canadian audiences and advertisers and thanking everyone for the support. Nice moment. Perhaps he will rename himself CL Cool J (Canada Loves Cool J) as a tribute?

Shaw truly shines in the specialty TV department with new additions to their schedules including the launch of Big Brother Canada, new shows on Food and HGTV and even the launch of two brand new channels; History 2 and Lifetime Canada. Shaw has always been strong in this area and they continue to build on that strength.

After assuring us that their schedule remains strong, they brought out Ricki Lake to help host the remainder of the show and highlight the new Fall shows. Lake is launching her own daytime talk show, also trying to capture Oprah’s abandoned audience.

Did I mention that Shaw seemed to be loving the Drama? Where Rogers’ schedule was almost all Comedy, Shaw is banking on Drama to win audiences over. Of 11 shows that they will launch next year, only 2 comedies are scheduled. The rest are drama; cops, soldiers, detectives and gangsters rule the night! Of course, they still have their NCIS franchises, but they also have cops from across the ages; cops from 1800’s in a crime drama about New York pre-turn of the 20th Century called “Copper”; cops from the 1960’s with Dennis Quaid as Las Vegas sheriff in a cops and gangster show called “Vegas”; even a show about Sherlock Holmes (called Elementary) but updated to current day, starring Lucy Liu as Dr. Watson.

Their weekly schedule looks pretty tough, but they have a fairly good shot at winning Tuesday with NCIS and the addition of Vegas with Randy Quaid. Wednesday is going to be a difficult night. They’ve placed their only two comedies – a Matthew Perry show about a guy in anger management class called “Go On”, and a show about guys raising kids called, appropriately, “Guys with Kids” – up against Rogers’ Wednesday night of Modern Family and the Bachelor Canada.

Overall, Shaw has an OK schedule with some solid dramas, but I really didn’t see any that blew me away.

Their production was top notch, a very smooth flowing show, with only a few guests – but they did have Vegas dancing girls – and they gave away four trips to Vegas, Chicago, Vancouver and New York.

All in all I’d give them an 8.5 on the show, but unfortunately, only a 7 on the schedule!

Tomorrow CTV, last but not least!