When YTV lost its guiding hand with Peter Moss’s defection to Cinar in March 2000, some industry folk surmised that the Canuck caster might temporarily experience a bit of a lull in terms of the edgy programming initiatives it had become known for. However, those fleeting worries were quickly laid to rest as YTV veteran Paula Parker stepped up to the plate as VP of programming and production.
This past year has seen Parker take on programming responsibilities for a new digital channel, and she has also launched three new YTV blocks, starting with The Dark Corner, a Saturday evening block housing spooky shows like Dead Last, Vampire High, Scary But True, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Scariest Places on Earth. Sunday afternoons have perked up with Three Hairy Thumbs Up, a block of kid flicks like Mainframe’s ReBoot movies, The Iron Giant and Pokémon, The Movie. This fall, Parker also debuted a new Saturday morning feature called Vortex, a ‘Lara Croft meets Spy Kids’ block showcasing a superhero-like host and series such as Jackie Chan Adventures, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Medabots and X-Men.
Also on the host front, YTV has a new after-school face with Toronto radio phenom Sugar, who received more than 7,000 e-mails from viewers a month after her arrival this summer.
The launch of the Discovery Kids digital channel in September has given Parker a platform for the edutainment programming YTV has traditionally had to pass over at markets because it didn’t necessarily suit the focuses of YTV and Treehouse.
This year also saw Nelvana enter the Corus fold, establishing a creative and strategic relationship with YTV. Some early results of that union include Medabots, Molville Mysteries, Jacob Two-Two, Berenstein Bears, The Little Critters and a Santa Claus Brothers holiday special.
On the acquisitions front, YTV nabbed Saban’s So Little Time and DIC’s Mary-Kate and Ashley: In Action, as well as the world premiere of two ReBoot movies from Mainframe and State of Grace from Fox. Fall commissions included Xcalibur and Big Teeth Bad Breath.
Looking forward to 2002, YTV has picked up 2030CE, a live-action series from Mind’s Eye Productions described as a Dark Angel for teens, as well as the new R.L. Stine series The Nightmare Room from Warner Bros. Parker also plans to garner much of next season’s new fare from the flood of tween- and teen-skewing shows that are hitting the market right now.