Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who's Driving The Flashpoint Bus...Really

First off, let me just say that I actually don't mind the new CTV/CBS series Flashpoint, and I am thrilled for its recent rating successes...but of the two networks involved, I'm growing curiouser and curiouser as to who's really in calling the shots.

If you were to take CTV's Susanne Boyce at her word, it's the Canadian network. In fact, the term 'reverse simulcasting' has been thrown around a lot in the promotion of the show....like in this NY Times article:

Susanne Boyce, the president of creative, content and channels for CTV, calls the arrangement a “reverse simulcast.” While Canadian networks often show American programs at the same time they premiere, the transfer of talent doesn’t often take place in the opposite direction.

That statement doesn't really need any explaining...to me it's saying CTV programmed the show to air on Friday nights, and then CBS agreed to do the same. That's what simulcasting has come to mean for us up here...so this would be the 'reverse' of that.

But then later in the same article, producer Bill Mustos chimes in:

What’s unusual about “Flashpoint,” said Bill Mustos, the founder of the production company Avamar, “is that, shortly after the pilot was produced and the second script was written, we were able to make a sale to both CTV and CBS in such a way that they’re both involved in a very hands-on way in the creation and production of the series.”

With filming scheduled to wrap on August 23, the episodes are being produced almost as soon as they are written. CBS leaned on the producers to “make the show on an accelerated basis,” Mr. Mustos said, because the network wanted to to debut it during the summer.

CBS leaned on the producers....because the network wanted to debut it during summer. Hmmm. Still, not to take anything away from CTV...they were certainly responsible for developing and greenlighting the pilot last year.

But then today we have an announcement from CTV that they are moving the show from Friday night to Thursday night..

After dominating Friday nights for the past two weeks in a row, summer’s hottest drama is moving to television’s biggest night. CTV, along with U.S. broadcast partner CBS, announced today that Flashpoint will now air in the coveted Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET time-slot beginning this Thursday, July 24.

But yesterday, at The Futon Critic, we saw this 'breaking news':

CBS is swapping its scripted originals "Flashpoint" and "Swingtown" for the rest of the summer.

Effective immediately "Flashpoint" will now run on Thursdays at 10:00/9:00c while "Swingtown" will head to Fridays at 10:00/9:00c. The latter posted a 1.6 rating among adults 18-49 for its most recent airing on July 17 while "Flashpoint" snagged a 1.5 is the key demographic on July 18.

No reason was given for the change. A press release confirming said news is expected to go out tomorrow.


Again...I don't begrudge anyone involved and wish the show and its writers (of which I know a couple) all the success in the world, but who's reallly driving the bus....CTV? Or CBS?

I suppose one could also say....it's a hit, so does it matter?

Addendum: Just let me make myself clear...I am hoping, seriously hoping, that 'reverse simulcasting' is at work here. It would truly be a thing to hold up high and praise after years of watching simulcasting of US shows build up our network and cable provider coffers while simultaneously helping erode and marginalize our indigenous TV drama industry.

So I want to believe that CTV is calling the shots.



Diane Kristine said...

I think if you believed for a second it was CTV's decision to air it Friday at 10 in the first place, or to make the sudden switch to Thursday at 10, I have that proverbial bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. I'm guessing CBS originally scheduled it with low expectations in mind, then discovered it was doing better in the deathslot than Swingtown was in a prime timeslot.

All "reverse simulcast" ever seemed to mean was that for once, CTV was airing a show at the sime time as a US network that wasn't a US acquisition.

CAROLINE said...

What Diane said. You got too much sun on the golf course. Or you are incredible sweet and optimistic? Probably not.

tramp394 said...

Flashpoint is an Excellent show, with movie quality cinematography. full of fun & entertainment. I really, really enjoy this show.