Scaled Back CTV Upfront Takes Cue From So You Think You Can Dance

The new series So You Think You Can Dance Canada laid the groundwork for the scaled-back CTV upfront.

By Erin Letson June 4, 2008, 12:26 PM EDT

Bar staff served drinks in pink wigs and sparkling silver T-shirts.

Photo: BizBash

CTV looked to its new fall series So You Think You Can Dance Canada to add entertainment to its upfront presentation and party Monday afternoon. The more than 1,200 guests who attended the event at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts saw network stars, dance performances, and Canadian content as CTV presented its fall lineup alongside the lineup for its 2006 acquisition, the A Channel.

Held in the venue's theater, the presentation marked the first time CTV introduced two fall lineups at its upfront, with seven new shows divided between the stations. Former CHUM-owned channel the A Channel (nicknamed “the A") received younger-demographic programs like Canada's Next Top Model and Gossip Girl. CTV stuck with a similar schedule to last season (pre- and post-strike), with CTVglobemedia president Ivan Fecan telling the audience, “You don't mess with success." 

CTV president of creative, content, and channels Susanne Boyce introduced two shows that are partnerships with U.S. networks—Flashpoint and The Listener—before ushering in the judging panel of the new So You Think You Can Dance Canada (with all members showing off their dance know-how).

Jully Black performed her hit “Seven Day Fool” with a 10-piece band to conclude the presentation, which garnered some positive feedback from the audience. “There was an extensive use of multimedia, and it had lots of visual impact,” said Michael Akermanis, marketing and sales coordinator for Unico, a CTV advertiser. “I like that they brought a lot more of the stars onstage this year and you actually got to see them, especially for the new shows,” said Alex, a media relations representative for Access Media Sales Inc. who didn't want to reveal his last name.

The after-party in the lobby, produced and designed by Karen Gruson of Media Blitz, reiterated the dance theme with a lit-up, fuschia DJ booth elevated above the bar and a stage with the SYTYCD poster backdrop and dancers performing. The fuchsia scheme continued with napkins, cocktails, and spotlights. The second-floor eTalk lounge—which proved a slightly less crowded place to be during the festivities—featured white couches and white-chocolate-covered pretzels to snack on. “I love the bartenders with their pink wigs and the dancers,” said Sue Brophey, a senior producer on Canadian Idol. “The one thing I have to say on the negative is that it's so crowded on the first floor, but what can you do?”

Canadian Press TV columnist Bill Brioux wrote on his blog that the CTV upfront, including the party, appeared more toned-down than in years past. “While the venue rocked, there were no high-priced American drama stars paraded onstage,” he wrote, continuing, “CTV took its cue from the U.S. nets, which all have scaled-down upfronts in May.”

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