EXCLUSIVE: I hear that ION Television has renewed Canadian-produced cop drama Flashpoint for a fifth season. The broadcast network is picking up all 13 episodes of the series’ fifth season, set to begin production in February 2012. Flashpoint, Canada’s most-watched drama series, has already been renewed north of the border by CTV with a 13-episode fifth-season order. Flashpoint was the first of the recent wave of Canadian scripted series to launch successfully in the U.S. when it premiered on CBS in 2008. Earlier this year, it became the first of the Canadian imports to land a U.S. syndication deal in a complex arrangement with CBS and ION. Under the deal, ION acquired all episodes from Seasons 1-4 that had aired in the U.S. on CBS along with 11 first-run (in the U.S.) Season 4 episodes. Since its ION debut in October, Flashpoint has been growing in the ratings. In its most recent airing on December 27, the drama posted series highs on the network in total viewers (2.1 million) and several demos, including adults 25-54 (869,000).
ION has been actively buying off-network rights to drama procedurals, most recently acquiring TNT’s Leverage. It also has aired several Canadian drama series, including Durham County, The Border and The Guard, which all made their U.S. premieres on ION. Flashpoint, about the lives of a group of police in the Strategic Response Unit, was created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern. It stars Hugh Dillon, Enrico Colantoni, Amy Jo Johnson, David Paetkau, Sergio Di Zio and Clé Bennett, with Anne Marie La Traverse and Bill Mustos serving as executive producers.