Maybe the U.S. broadcast networks should just collectively outsource their summer scripted programming to Canada. The CW, which has been barely keeping the lights on with all-repeats this summer, has acquired the rights to the Canadian comedy series 18 to Life, described as a modern-day (and comedic I presume) take on Romeo and Juliet. The network will start double-pumping two back-to-back episodes from the series’ 12-episode freshman season on Tuesday nights at 9 PM and 9:30 PM.
The CW had been exploring the idea of importing British reality series for this summer. Going with Canada instead is understandable (no accents!), but the choice of genre – a scripted comedy series – is surprising. The CW exited the comedy business a year ago when it cancelled its last half-hour series.
18 To Life joins fellow summer Canadian imports Rookie Blue on ABC and Flashpoint and The Bridge on CBS. The comedy has American roots: in the pilot stage, it was a co-production between Canada’s CBC and U.S.’s ABC, but ABC ultimately passed on the pilot, while CBC picked it up to series.
On the CW, I’m sure the hope is that 18 To Life would provide some support to the network’s sole original offering this summer, reality series Plain Jane, which debuts July 28. And if 18 To Life does well, there are more episodes in the hopper: the show has just begun production on Season 2 in Montreal. It is created, written, and executive produced by Derek Schreyer, Karen Troubetzkoy and Arnie Gelbart and is distributed internationally by ITV Global Entertainment.