Wednesday, April 2, 2008

SoapNet Picks up MVP

Back in November, I reported that Canadian network CBC was going to start airing a new prime time soap, MVP, in January. Look for the show to now air on SoapNet in US after CBC pulled the plug on its steamy hockey drama.

According to today's Globe and Mail, SoapNet has signed a deal to purchase the first season of the show, set to air June 19.

"We are thrilled it has found a perfect U.S. home with SOAPnet," MVP creator Mary Young Leckie said. "What this means is we've got a new launch - as an original series - in the States. ABC is taking the cast around to do a number of promotions, as well as the talk-show circuit," Leckie, co-founder of Screen Door Inc., added yesterday.

"If it's successful for ABC, it could leave the door open to a second season."
Last month, CBC cancelled three series including the 10-episode MVP (which cost about $1.5-million an hour to make).

Three weeks ago - soon after learning of MVP's demise - Leckie took the high road, saying, "I think CBC did its best with the show, but I did think they'd stick with us a little longer. This is a tough business and I can't slam anyone. We move on."

Yesterday, Brian Frons, president, daytime, of Disney-ABC's Television Group, said they jumped at MVP, which he added is perfectly suited to SOAPnet's audience.

"I just think this is a prime-time serial with great production values, a terrific cast and we're delighted to be the premier network in the United States," Frons said.

"The series is a perfect fit for SOAPnet's programming mandate to supply high-quality television to the American audience. We're looking forward to developing a successful relationship with Screen Door."

Leckie said SOAPnet's thumbs-up for MVP "gives a whole new dimension to the project."

Interestingly, a source close to CBC says the broadcaster has held onto MVP's second-season licensing rights.

"Presumably, CBC will be keeping a very careful eye on the performance of MVP in the U.S. market," he said. "It if does well, CBC could jump back in for season two."

CBC plans to rerun MVP in June, the same time it will launch on SOAPnet.

Meanwhile, it has been rumoured that another major Canadian broadcaster has been talking to MVP's creators about partnering for season two.

Young Leckie refused to comment on that twist yesterday, which would hinge on the CBC releasing MVP for subsequent sale.

MVP, which employed roughly 175 people in Canada, follows the on- and off-the-ice drama surrounding the Canadian Mustangs hockey team and the women in their lives. It will air on SOAPnet Thursdays at 11 p.m.

The cast includes Lucas Bryant, Dillon Casey, Matthew Bennett, Peter Miller, Kristin Booth, Anastasia Phillips, Deborah Odell, Natalie Krill and Olivia Waldriff.

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