In November 1986, CTV executives and directors went before the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television Commission) to seek a renewal of the network’s licence. It was perceived that the Commission would be looking for something more in the Canadian drama category than the network currently had planned. This state of affairs coincided with a breakdown in negotiations between Alliance Entertainment head Robert Lantos and the CBC, for the public broadcaster to license Mount Royal, a new Lantos project.
Mount Royal was a Dynasty-type saga about a fictional Montreal financial family and its lives and loves. CTV made a deal with Lantos to broadcast Mount Royal, and got their licence renewal, which may or may not have been cause and effect, but the deal undoubtedly helped. The initial commitment was to one two-hour opening episode and fifteen one-hour episodes, with options for two additional blocks of new episodes over the following two years.
The sad thing was that, in the end, the scheduling of Mount Royal did nothing to enhance CTV’s viewing figures, and a great deal to deplete the network’s coffers. The program debuted in January 1988, but despite the efforts of many talented actors and a skilled production team, the numbers were so poor that the network did not exercise its options, and Mount Royal disappeared from the air before the end of the 1987-88 season.
Mount Royal starred Domini Blythe and Patrick Bauchau. Also in the large cast was a 20-year-old Ottawa-born actress, Kelly Rowan, who later went to Los Angeles and appeared in several movies before being given a lead role in the 2003 Fox break-out hit series The O.C., which also played on CTV