TORONTO — "Big Brother Canada" will return for a 10th season as part of a Corus Entertainment lineup executives say is "flush with shows" after a dearth of programming from last year's pandemic production delays.
During a virtual presentation of the media company's 2021/22 lineup Wednesday, host and executive producer Arisa Cox announced the hit reality series has once again been greenlit for Global.
Troy Reeb, executive vice-president of broadcast networks at Corus Entertainment, said it feels like "the sun has risen again" on the schedule after a difficult year.
"This time last year, we had great unpredictability about what we were going to put into the fall schedule," said Reeb.
"We were searching the world and acquiring international content because traditional sources of Hollywood-produced content had temporarily dried up."
Last year's fall schedule didn't include Global's three biggest shows — "Survivor," "9-1-1" and "New Amsterdam" — but this year they're all back, Reeb said.
Other blockbuster U.S. titles in the lineup include franchise expansions "CSI: Vegas," "NCIS: Hawai'i" and "FBI: International."
Comedies include the haunted-house series "Ghosts," which is based on a U.K. series and stars Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar.
"While there continue to be some COVID-related complications and delays, we're thrilled to have not only a very full schedule back on Global, but probably more scripted content coming to our specialty services than ever before," said Reeb.
New Canadian shows headed to Global include the previously announced "Family Law," which starts airing later this year. The one-hour legal drama is shot and set in Vancouver and stars Jewel Staite, Victor Garber, Zach Smadu, Genelle Williams and Lauren Holly in a story about a dysfunctional family's law firm.
Reeb said Corus has high hopes for the show, bound for the coveted 8 p.m. time-slot on Thursdays and already renewed for a second season.
The Canadian-British suspense drama "Departure" will return for a second season later this year and has been renewed for a third, with production set to begin this fall.
Global has yet to announce casting for season 3, following the death of Canadian series star Christopher Plummer in February.
As previously announced, the Toronto-shot private-detective show "Private Eyes" starring Jason Priestley and Cindy Sampson will not return after airing its fifth season this summer on Global.
"In conversation with the producers, we all decided we wanted the show to go out on top, that it had hit its creative arc, and so season five will be the final season," Reeb said.
"Rather than going out with a whimper, like some shows sometimes do when they start to fade, this one will go out with a bang and we know season five will be its biggest ever."
The Toronto-shot medical drama "Nurses" recently wrapped production on season 2 for Global "but there's been no decision on season 3 at this time," said a Corus representative.
Reeb said Corus wanted "broad-based popular content" for Global, noting the channel is entirely ad-supported and "the content has to work not just for big audiences but for advertisers as well."
For its specialty channels, the company "really leaned into" finding a more diverse schedule, he said.
New titles on History, for instance, include "Black Liberators WWII," about acts of bravery from Black Canadian soldiers during the Second World War, and "BLK: An Origin Story," featuring "untold stories of Black Canadians."
Reeb said W Network and Showcase channels in particular are teeming with new scripted content from NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service, of which Corus has exclusive Canadian rights to broadcast across its networks and streaming platforms.
The Peacock deal was announced last year "but now it's coming into full force," he said, with anticipated titles including "Dr. Death" starring Vancouver-born Joshua Jackson, Grace Gummer, AnnaSophia Robb, Christian Slater and Alec Baldwin. The series is inspired by the true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch, who was nicknamed Dr. Death for gross malpractice.
Other big Peacock titles bound for Corus include "Joe Exotic," starring Kate McKinnon and John Cameron Mitchell, "Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol" and "Bel-Air," executive produced by Will Smith.
Peacock content is also available on the Global TV App and its multi-channel television package STACKTV, which streams on Amazon Prime Video Channels. Information on which show will air where will be announced at a later date.
The W Network schedule is also packed with Hallmark Channel movies, most of which are shot in Canada.
"It's pretty exciting to be back in a place where we have a choice of shows to put into slots, as opposed to scrambling to fill the holes," said Reeb.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2021.
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press