TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

CMF Announces 2015-2016 program budget, guidelines and deadlines

From a media release:

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) today announced Program Guidelines for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. It also announced the program budget for 2015-2016 set at $375.2M.

The CMF is committing $375.2M to support Canada’s television and digital media industry in 2015-2016. Underspending in some 2014-2015 programs, revenues from tangible benefits and one-time adjustments of revenues from broadcast distribution undertakings (BDU) in 2014-2015 contributed to achieving this program budget.

The program budget is also supported by revenue forecasts for the coming year based on contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors, and CMF recoupment revenues from funded productions. The program budget reflects a conservative estimate of expected BDU contributions to the CMF for the year to come and includes an expected stable contribution from the Government of Canada.

The breakdown of the 2015-2016 Program Budget can be viewed on the CMF website. Please click here.

CMF Programs
Changes and updates have been made to existing program guidelines for 2015-2016. Complete Program Guidelinesapplication deadlines, and a summary of changes are available on the CMF website  All applications for funding will be processed through eTelefilm, a simple and secure website that provides applicants with updated information about the status of their application.

As a result of Corus Entertainment’s acquisition of Historia, Séries+ and TELETOON and in accordance with the CRTC’s Tangible Benefits Policy, the CMF and Corus Entertainment are pleased to announce the Page to Pitch Program. This program is devoted to funding creative and business activities during the development of eligible live-action and animated television projects. The 2015-2016 Page to Pitch Program budget is set at $1,163,750 and will fund eligible costs related to script development or the acquisition of pre-sale financing.  Projects will be evaluated and chosen through a selective process and successful applicants may receive amounts of up to $25,000. Guidelines for the Page to Pitch Program can be accessed on the CMF website by clicking here.  The deadline for this program is May 5, 2015.

The CMF will host webcasts on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 to provide an overview of changes to the programs and to field questions.  The French webcast will be at 11 a.m. ET, the English webcast will be at 2 p.m. ET. Details on how to join the webcasts will be communicated shortly.

Performance Envelope Program
Factor Weights for 2015-2016 remain unchanged, while changes have been made to genre allocations. This information can now be accessed on the CMF website under Performance Envelope Calculations. The CMF will be sending broadcaster agreements outlining the amounts allocated for the upcoming year to individual broadcasters in early April, 2015. Details about each broadcaster’s Performance Envelope will be posted on the CMF website in mid-April, 2015.

In 2015-2016, the CMF will continue to work on adapting its policies and programs, particularly in light of the upcoming results of the program evaluation of the CMF by Canadian Heritage, the impact of the CRTC’s Let’s Talk TV decisions, as well as a formal and inclusive consultation with industry stakeholders and funders planned for fall 2015. Details on the nationwide consultation will be made available at a later date.

Link: Dan Levy on why the most provocative thing about Schitt’s Creek isn’t the name

From Cassandra Szklarski of Canadian Press:

Dan Levy on why the most provocative thing about Schitt’s Creek isn’t the name
About halfway through the first season of Schitt’s Creek, it became clear that the most provocative element of the CBC sitcom had nothing to do with its name.

Instead, it was the unusual relationship quietly brewing between fashion-obsessed David, played by Dan Levy, and his snarky clad-in-plaid buddy Stevie, played by Emily Hampshire. Their quippy odd-couple banter somehow leads to an envelope-pushing friends-with-benefits fling. Continue reading.

Slice’s Emergency goes behind the scenes in Vancouver’s ERs

From a media release:

A visit to the emergency department can be an emotional experience for the patient and for the loved ones that accompany them.  The new documentary series Emergency (14 x 30) gives viewers an intimate look at the lives of patients in some of Canada’s busiest emergency departments. Narrated by award-winning musician and author Jann Arden and produced by award-winning producers Force Four Entertainment, Emergency airs Thursdays at 9 & 9:30 p.m. ET/11 & 11:30 p.m. PT with back-to-back episodes beginning April 16 on Slice.

Each episode of Emergency interweaves the personal stories of three to four patients, each facing their own medical emergency, ranging from heart and respiratory ailments to broken bones and work-related accidents. With a heart-felt focus on relationships, the series focuses on the patients and their loved ones, their hopes and their fears, and just how their trip to the emergency department could impact their future. Emergency also showcases the relationships between patients and the medical staff who work tirelessly and urgently to unravel the mysterious illness or injury that brought the patient to the emergency department.

Thurs., April 16 at 9 p.m. ET/11 p.m. PT
A father and son fishing trip is reeled in by excruciating back pain. A mom convinces her young construction worker son to get treatment for a boil under his arm. A grandmother forgets to take her medication and requires a jolt to slow her racing heart.

Thurs., April 16 at 9:30 p.m. ET/11:30 p.m. PT
Doctors assist a patient with two life threatening conditions at the same time. A captivating couple seeks a solution to their ring problem. An anxious woman fears the worst when her heart rate suddenly accelerates.

Emergency departments featured in the series are all part of the Fraser Health network of hospitals.

He Said/She Said: Are TV critics important?

Join Greg and Diane every Monday as we debate what’s on our minds. This week: with the proliferation of places for everyone and anyone to talk about TV online, is there still value to television critics?

She said:

It seems unlikely that this would be a place to find an argument against critics, and sure enough I can’t do it. I’m a strong believer in a strong critical community for any category of art or entertainment. Without it, the art form itself appears weak. If Canadian TV can’t withstand criticism, what does that say to potential viewers?

Silence is not golden when it comes to criticism. Damning with faint praise sometimes feels like a cliché made forCanadian  TV. Liking everything is akin to liking nothing. Easy to say, but the industry should rejoice when critics are critical. Or at least mutter to themselves. Critics are just part of what influences people to decide to watch a show, and likely not even the most important part, but the connection to a mass audience is still significant. 

The rise of social media hasn’t changed my opinion that professional critics are necessary and good, making the incredible shrinking Canadian TV critic community something we should all be rallying against. Especially when the modicum of diversity of critical voices that used to exist is shrinking right along with it.

There is a difference between professional critics the armchair critics who posts their thoughts on Twitter, or the fans who post their excitement on Tumblr. Assuming a critic is actually critical — not as in negative, but as in forming opinions and writing about them with a high degree of awareness of how plot, character, tone, structure and execution intersect to create those opinions — over time, readers can come to understand a critic’s taste and how it aligns with their own. Fans can also feel challenged to examine our own opinions and reasons for our reactions to the content.

Some like to deny it but there is still cache to having something discussed in print, in particular, but really anywhere the content has gone through the gatekeeping of an editorial process.

Newspapers also know a scary amount of information about their subscribers: age ranges, income brackets, and a host of other demographics and psychographics. Digital publications know the kind of content their readers click on and comment on most — two metrics that don’t correspond as much as you might think.

Knowledge is power, on both sides. Professional critics know who they’re talking to and over time, readers know who they’re listening to. If a critic is unfair, or the critique doesn’t substantiate a negative review, there’s also a power in the audience fighting back. When the industry does it? Weak.

He said:

I am, of course, biased in my opinion that television critics are still important because I am one. And, in the ever-changing world where we’re seeing movie and TV critics being let go by newspapers and websites, they’re even more important.

I view the role of the television critic as this: watch a television show, comment on it, celebrate it or be critical of it. Have an opinion. If you think something is good, outline why. Hate it? Explain why. I’ve been ripped on for not being too critical of television shows or the industry in general, but I choose to find the overall good in things rather than focus on the things that aren’t working. I’m not afraid to point out shortcomings, but when I do it’s with a suggestion on how to make things better. Being miserable and mean just for the sake of it is, in my opinion, lazy.

I view my thoughts as being the starting point for a discussion. It’s something I’ve enjoyed for the last 15 years. There is nothing more fun than to have someone approach me and ask my thoughts on a TV show. Before I know it, I’m running through the programs on my DVR, the person I’m talking to is giving me their list and we’re talking. You may not agree with me—or me you—but man it’s fun.

Critics are never more important than they are now. With more of them in this industry being silenced due to job cuts, there is nothing to counter the noise coming from websites owned by cable companies touting their homegrown shows. I’m sorry to tell those folks, but not all of your shows are great no matter how much you tell me they are and how many behind-the-scenes exclusives you get.

You need someone to call bullshit, and that’s my job.

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