PopGoesTheNews.com >> There was a loud demonstration this afternoon on the sidewalk outside Toronto's Hazelton Hotel as protesters denounced Canwest's lack of Canadian programming. Inside the hotel's private screening room, journalists and critics were able to sip sparkling wine and feast on frites and fresh fruit as Barbara Williams, executive vice-president of content, validated the protest by unveiling a Global prime time schedule with only one Canadian show (the moribund cop-with-issues series Shattered on Friday nights).
With so many returning U.S. network shows on it fall schedule, there was only a handful of new series to talk about. Among the most promising are the con-man drama Lonestar (Mondays) with James Wolk and Jon Voight and a re-imagined Hawaii Five-O (Mondays) starring Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan (pictured). The latter features the iconic theme music, Hawaiian scenery and the familiar "book 'em Danno" line but little else from the original series, which ran for 12 seasons starting in 1968.
Another potential hit for Global is Love Bites (Thursdays), a cheeky anthology series from the writer-producer of Sex and the City.
Less promising new shows on Global this fall include the legal drama Outlaw (Fridays) with Jimmy Smits and the potentially racist comedy Outsourced (Thursdays). The gritty cop drama Ride-Along (Mondays) is a mid-season replacement starring Jennifer Beals.
Global is throwing plenty of promotion behind the made-in-Toronto police series Rookie Blue, which will air this summer in simulcast with ABC (Williams said a second season is in development if the U.S. broadcaster picks it up). Filled with attractive characters and witty dialogue, it could be a hit if audiences figure out early on that it's not a Flashpoint/The Bridge wanna-be.
Williams was quick to point out that there is Canadian content elsewhere on Global's schedule (including the nightly ET Canada and weekend news series 16:9) and plenty of homegrown programming and Canadian co-productions on Canwest's numerous specialty channels.
CTV will unveil its new fall schedule on Thursday.