ION Television announced the acquisition of two new one-hour original dramatic series, The Border and The Guard, each making their U.S. debuts on ION later this year.
ION Television has signed a deal with Fireworks International, the television and digital programming distribution arm of ContentFilm, to secure the exclusive U.S. original broadcast rights for The Border, the award-winning procedural crime drama series. The Border follows members of the elite Canadian Immigration and Customs Security Unit working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to secure the border on both sides of the line.
ION Television, in a separate deal with Lionsgate, also secured the exclusive U.S. original broadcast rights for The Guard, an original action-drama series focusing on the members of a Coastguard Search and Rescue team. ION also has all U.S. television, digital media rights, Internet streaming and video-on-demand rights for both shows.
The Border, which garnered two prestigious Gemini Awards with ten nominations, including Best Dramatic Series, is a hard-driving crime drama featuring strong, topical stories from terrorist threats and drug smuggling, to trafficking in illegal organs and underage brides, to corporate and international espionage -- and brings a cool lens to the grit of urban life. Stars include James McGowan, Sofia Milos, Grace Park, Graham Abbey, Mark Wilson, Jim Codrington, Jonas Chernick, Nazneen Contractor and Catherine Disher.
The Guard, produced by Halifax Film and Brightlight Pictures Inc., is shot in the scenic wilderness of Squamish, British Columbia. A character-driven ensemble series, it focuses on the lives of four imperfect, offbeat and sometimes difficult, but heroic Canadian Coast Guard Rescue specialists who face danger daily out on the Pacific Ocean, saving lives as they search for meaning in their own. This gripping, high-action drama series stars Steve Bacic as Duty Captain Miro Da Silva, Jeremy Guilbaut as Rescue Specialist Andrew Vanderlee and Sonya Salomaa as First Mate Laura Nelson. David James Elliot (JAG, Closer to Home) also guest stars in the recurring role of David Nelson.
ION Television also as previously announced will have the original series Durham County coming later this year. Not to mention reruns of the popular crime series Criminal Minds coming in the fall. Is ION going after the CBS audience with three original series and many off-network crime dramas?
The CW announced early pickups of six series, including five of the network's signature dramas and the reality hit America's Next Top Model, which will all return in Fall 2009. The series receiving early pickups for next season are The CW's Monday tandem of sophomore sensation Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill, which combined to lift The CW to become the fall's #1 network on Monday with women 18-34. Both Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill have scored double-digit gains compared to their previous seasons. Freshman hit 90210 has improved the network's Tuesday night by double-digit increases in key demos. Wednesday anchor America's Next Top Model, which consistently wins its time period with young women, will also be back with superstar Tyra Banks and new groups of aspiring models for cycles 13 and 14.
Also renewed were the network's established Thursday team of Smallville, which will be going into its ninth season, and Supernatural, which after posting ratings growth this season, will enter its fifth season next year.
The jury is still out on series such as Everybody Hates Chris, The Game, Privileged, and Reaper. More pickups won't be announced most likely until the May upfront.