The trickle of Canadian-bred shows on American network TV may soon become a flood.
NBC has picked up 13 episodes of a drama called "The Listener," which centers on a paramedic (Craig Olejnik, "Runaway," "Thirteen Ghosts") who discovers he can read minds. Production is scheduled to begin in the spring, which means the show would be available by summer.
"'The Listener' is an intriguing series that fits squarely in our brand, and we're excited NBC can bring it to the American audience," says Teri Weinberg, executive vice president of NBC Entertainment.
Several networks, meanwhile, are circling a series called "The Border," which debuted in January and stars Sofia Milos ("CSI: Miami") and James McGowan. It centers on a group of immigration officers fighting smugglers and terrorism threats along the U.S.-Canada border. The Hollywood Reporter says CBS, ABC, TNT and USA have all expressed interest.
Finally, ABC Family is reportedly in talks to pick up the CBC comedy "Sophie," about a girl whose seemingly perfect life gets turned upside down.
The sudden attraction to Canadian programming is due in no small part to the writers' strike, which has dried up the flow of projects in development. Buying shows produced in Canada, which are not affected by the strike, will give the networks an infusion of original scripted programming for the near future.