With focus on hockey, Rogers launching just four shows for 2014

A comedy starring Anthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne is among four new primetime series headed to City this fall, while weekend nights will be packed with hockey. Rogers Media, which runs City as well as specialty channels including FX Canada and Sportsnet, announced a scaled-down fall line-up Tuesday while touting its exclusive rights to NHL […]

A comedy starring Anthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne is among four new primetime series headed to City this fall, while weekend nights will be packed with hockey.

Rogers Media, which runs City as well as specialty channels including FX Canada and Sportsnet, announced a scaled-down fall line-up Tuesday while touting its exclusive rights to NHL games.

Black-ish features Anderson as a father who starts to worry his family has forgotten their black heritage while living in the suburbs. With help from his father, played by Fishburne, Anderson tries to re-establish their cultural identity.

The cast of City's new show for fall, Black-ish

Two new scripted dramas were added to the schedule: viewers can see high-tech Homeland Security drama Scorpion this fall, while subversive crime procedural Backstrom will air mid-season.

Utopia, in which 15 contestants get one year to build an entirely new society on a secluded piece of land, is the lone new reality series coming to City this fall.

Rogers secured the exclusive rights to hockey in November in a blockbuster $5.2 billion, 12-year deal. The telecommunications giant is banking on weekend games drawing scores of new viewers to City.

George Stroumboulopoulos will anchor fan favourite Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays, while Ron MacLean will host Hometown Hockey on Sundays.

“I’m excited for City to join in a time-honoured Canadian tradition this year with the addition of Hockey Night in Canada and Hometown Hockey,” Hayden Mindell, vice-president of television programming and content, said in a statement.

“Hockey is the most coveted content in Canada, and we have PVR-proofed Saturday and Sunday nights on City to become must-see TV for all Canadians.” Rogers also announced the introduction of Sportsnet NOW, “a free, 24/7, live HD-quality stream of all Sportsnet’s TV programming and events, available now on all computers, tablets and smartphones with a Sportsnet TV subscription.”

Sunday is easily TV’s most competitive night with CTV’s The Amazing Race and Global’s The Simpsons. City’s Hometown Hockey will broadcast an NHL game hosted by MacLean from a different community rink across Canada each week.

Daren Millard will host Wednesday night hockey on Sportsnet next season, with Jeff Marek anchoring Thursday NHL games on Sportsnet 360.

The hockey deal has had a marked impact on the rest of the lineup. Last spring, City announced some 16 new series compared to this year’s four.

City will also air musical event special Peter Pan Live! – billed as a “bold, new, live television production of the classic Broadway musical,” following the success of The Sound of Music Live.

New seasons of  The Bachelor Canada and Package Deal are set for the fall. Popular comedies Mom, Two Broke Girls, New Girl and The Mindy Project will also return.

Other returning series include The Bachelor, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Hell’s Kitchen, The Middle, Mike & Molly, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Revenge and Scandal.

Missing from the schedule are Eva Longoria-voiced animated series Mother Up! and sperm donation comedy Seed, both Canadian productions.

On FX Canada, Guillermo del Toro’s gory vampire thriller The Strain will premiere July 13. Based on del Toro’s best-selling novels with author Chuck Hogan, the series stars Corey Stoll – best known as Peter Russo in House of Cards – as an epidemiologist who investigates a mysterious viral outbreak.

CBC-TV revealed its schedule last week, while Shaw will unveil its lineup Wednesday and CTV showcases its slate of programs Thursday.

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