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Shaw brings Lifetime, H2 to Canada

Shaw Media will import the A+E Networks specialty channels Lifetime and H2 directly into Canada this fall, and has unveiled a string of US acquisitions for its conventional network Global TV.

The addition of Lifetime and H2 stems from Shaw’s close ties with A+E and marks the latest in a series of US specialty brands that have recently moved north, including FX and HBO.

Shaw will rebrand its female-aimed channel Diva as Lifetime and another, still undetermined, channel into the history-focused H2. Shaw also owns the Canuck version of History Television.

“We wanted to expand our relations with A+E and get more of their product into Canada,” said Barbara Williams, senior VP of content at Shaw Media.

The channels will come north with US programmes including The Client List, Dance Moms and Mankind Decoded.

Meanwhile, Global TV will add Elementary, Go On, Guys with Kids and the mid-season replacements Save Me and The Job to its drama-heavy schedule this fall, which also includes the one-hours Vegas, Chicago Fire, Last Resort and Made in Jersey, as previously reported by C21.

Global has rewritten almost every 22.00 slot on Global, but otherwise treated the schedule with a light hand. Vegas, Chicago Fire and Elementary will simulcast mid-week, while Global’s own news magazine and POV doc strands – 16×9 and the new Close Up, respectively – will step up on Friday and Saturday.

The network had two strategies in mind during the LA Screenings, said Williams, part of the four-person team the company sent to the event earlier this month.

“One was 22.00 and the other was Thursday,” said Williams. “To be back in simulcast on Thursday the whole night is a real win for us.”

When Fox moved Glee to Thursdays it both bolstered a night that has underperformed for Global in the past and cleared up a conflict that had prevented back-to-back simulcasts of NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles. The first of the two CBS dramas has long lingered in pre-release on Global.

“Fox moving Glee to Thursday was just perfect. It’s good to be back in the Thursday game,” said Williams.

Thursdays will now present a dramatic alternative to comedies such as The Big Bang Theory that air on competitor CTV, she added. Alternately, Williams sees her returning line-up of Fox comedies – including The Simpsons and Family Guy – as an alternative to the brewing battle for Sunday night between Citytv and CTV.

Elsewhere, Shaw has the Canadian-made redo of Beauty and the Beast, from Whizbang and Take 5 Productions and CBS Studios, for its Showcase specialty.

Showcase favours drama and has had good luck recently with sci-fi and fantasy shows including Lost Girl and newcomer Continuum, improving on its former status as a home for re-runs of Global shows. “It’s a very distinctive drama channel in its own right now,” said Williams.

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