TV, eh? podcast episode 47 – What Tangled Web Series We Weave

ruby-skye-polaroidEpisode 47: Listen or download here or subscribe via iTunes or with any other program via the TV, Eh? feed

The podcast ends with a terrific discussion about web series between writer/producers Kellie Ann Benz (also of The Shorts Report), Jill Golick (Ruby Skye PI) and Nicholas Humphries (Riese). Diane does her best to stay out of the way.

First, Anthony and Diane discuss the upcoming CBC schedule, including Doyle’s take on it as ignoring the arts to become glorified karaoke, as well as Movie Central/Movie Network’s production slate. We admire, sort of, the quixotic campaign to save Endgame, and don’t admire the way the same “news” has been coming out of the Banff Media Festival for years.

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Diane Wild

Diane is the founder of TV, eh? She loves books, movies, TV, science, space, traveling, theatre, art, cats, and drinking multiple beverages at the same time.
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18 thoughts on “TV, eh? podcast episode 47 – What Tangled Web Series We Weave”

  1. I am assuming you know that Orkut is part of Google, and that if you have a Google account (Gmail, Docs, etc) then you already have an Orkut account.

    This specific “Save Endgame Campaign” you were referencing is in Portuguese, but I guess I thought it was strange that you spoke as if Orkut was any more “foreign” than Facebook is — I suspect Google employs more Canadians than Facebook does, and thus has more CANCON. I’ve been on Orkut almost as long as Facebook, and it bothers me that so many people are only on Facebook.

    Loved EngGame, and it is unfortunate that you got distracted by the “not available for sale” aspect of the show outside of Canada. I think it should matter to people that their current funding models don’t capture the actual fans of a show.

    Showcase is a channel I only have for a little longer while I still have cable, and thus anything that is put on Showcase only isn’t really of long-term interest to me. If Showcase were putting their shows on Netflix, or demanding Canadian BDU’s offer a-la-carte, then maybe they would have a future.

    Then again, I’ve watched all the recent episodes via the website using my Boxee Box, and not on cable anyway.

    I’ve seen Rush in live concert this year, and a few years back — I’m a current fan, not just from when I was young :-) It bugs me that the various Rush documentaries aren’t available from Netflix — but such is life.

    1. Russell, I agree. If people are watching it online, doesn’t it reflect on the fact that Showcase is doing a bad job actually distributing its show. If it had made online streaming available to the international audience, it could be making big bucks and avoiding the whole illegal downloading issue. And thanks for pointing out the Orkut-Google connection.


      Diane, I kinda got mixed views from you.. If I interpreted what you said wrong, then forgive me. But here’s what I got from this podcast: you say you support the campaign but kept laughing at it as if it’s a pointless endeavour. The campaign had 2,700 with just one week of mobilizing… it takes a while to build numbers.

      And to give you a better picture of the campaign, it doesn’t involve only an online petition or an Orkut group you figure is useless. Hundreds of us send daily e-mails to Showcase. We have contacted potential sponsors and advertisers. We have the direct support of Endgame’s producers and cast. We have prepared material to help producers if they want should Showcase approach them to negotiate a second seasons. We’re on twitter and also on Facebook (yeah, facebook, this one you know).

      Campaigns like this don’t happen that often for Canadian shows. Let alone a cable one that was sabotaged from the beginning with a bad time slot and poor coverage. I’d expect Tv-eh to show a little more support. Saying you support it in a sentence and laughing at it for the next five minutes won’t help us believe you. You said you like the show but don’t want to make an effort. Don’t make fun of the ones that do.

    2. Russell,

      Molson isn’t Canadian anymore, yet I think of it as intrinsically Canadian by consumer osmosis. So while Orkut (which I did know was Google) is not Brazilian, the branding of Orkut by consumer osmosis is far from American or Canadian. That said, the fact that a non-Canadian audience is trying to be the saving grace of a Canadian show is a testimony to short-sighted old media. By the way. I’m on Facebook, but also on Plurk!

      Also, the latest Rush doc is great. When it comes available in whatever format, check it out.

  2. Russell, the point is very few Canadians are on Orkut, not what Orkut’s ownership is.

    Showcase isn’t responsible for distributing Endgame to other territories, the production company Thunderbird Films is.

    The overall point of our discussion is that 3000 fans writing their name on an online petition and 1200 clicking like on Facebook is not very much at all for a global campaign, never mind the fact that Showcase only cares about Canadian viewers.

    And yes, Sabrina, I have mixed feelings. I think it’s very nice for the people behind Endgame to have fans supporting them, and they should not care whether those fans are contributing to the financial success of the show or not. It’s great to see a Canadian show have some passionate fans.

    But I think any campaign that requires little effort on those fans’ part is ineffective, and this one in particular is targeting the wrong people. If it’s a global campaign, send chess pieces to Thunderbird to make more of an effort in foreign distribution. If it’s a Canadian campaign, prove to Showcase that there are more than 3000 Canadian fans. They already know they have 200,000 from the ratings and that wasn’t enough for them.

    And I had no intention of making you believe that I supported the campaign. My intention was to let people know it exists while NOT expressing my support, though I like Endgame and think it’s nice for all involved with it to have devoted fans.

    1. Oh we know 3,000 is not enough. But it’s a beginning. We’re not naive. We’re working directly with Thunderbird to be able to bring the show back. We don’t need to send them chess pieces, they already heard us. There was only so much thunderbird could do to distribute it by just showing showcase’s ratings. But now there’s media attention, letters, e-mails, and yes, even a little petition. Even in television, some evidence is needed to support a business deal. If they don’t help convince networks, they still help the Endgame team know they are supported.

      We are even running online ads for the show and campaign, since Showcase didn’t do much in that area to promote its own show. Articles about our campaign were run in over 20 newspapers in Canada, including print editions of the Vancouver Sun, the Toronto Star and many others. We didn’t even have 2,000 signatures then and look where we are now.. growing. Jericho didn’t get 100,000 in one day and though that number is unrealistic for us, we are covering all of our bases here.

      Not every fan is out of Canada by the way. The foreigners watch it but so do Canadians. I guess we’re just unlucky that the 3,000 of us are not included in the 6,000 people with a BBM box at home on which Showcase bases its decision.

      If the show does come back, it will be because of Thunderbird but also because of us. Mocking our efforts to save a Canadian show is just not what I would expected from a blog about Canadian tv.

      1. You’re obviously not a regular listener of the podcast: mocking is the general tone. I’d guess you aren’t a regular reader of the site, either – its goal isn’t to advocate for particular shows but to let people know they exist. I wish you luck with your campaign which is why I’ve publicized its existence without comment on the site and on Twitter. You’re welcome. The podcast is where I express my opinion.

      2. Sabrina,

        Expressing expectations of lack of success is not mocking. The concept of sending chess pieces is not far removed from other like movements to keep shows alive.

        I, for one, hope like hell you’re successful and manage to keep a Canadian scripted drama on the air. However, in doing this podcast for a year now, I’ve discovered it has little to do with ratings, fans, or any other tangible metric. Instead, it can usually be summed up with the idea that Showcase (Shaw) will never make money from Canadian shows that they backwater to specialty channels and shuffle around the primetime schedule during off-season hours.

        Sadly, if you had 20,000 signatures, I’d be still hoping you’d win, but still believing the same thing.

        Get those 2,000 people to write the CRTC and demand higher Canadian content during prime time and then you’ll at least scare the heck out of Konrad von Finckenstein.

        1. You might not have meant mockery, but when you’re the one on the other side that’s the picture you get.

          I’m not a regular reader or listener. I was becoming one though and even recommended Tv-eh to friends since I wish there were more blogs about Canadian tv out there. TV-Eh has the opportunity to be an ambassador for Canadian tv, but maybe this is not what you are going for. And sadly the mockery tone is not what I usually go for when making my online reading choices. Unfortunately for me. But hey, pardon me, it is the internet after all, where opinion entitlements is all we have.

        2. Anthony,

          I like Sanctuary, Riese, and Endgame. It is great that this is Canadian content, but that is a bonus. It would be nice to flag wave and all, but these shows are great because they are great, not because they are Canadian.

          When I hear the two of you describe the new lineups for the networks I’m generally not excited, and could care less about a majority of what is available that qualifies as some level of CANCON.

          So, writing the CRTC to demand higher CANCON during prime-time wouldn’t get me anything. In fact, greater regulation could make good programming less available to me. If Netflix was taxes to pay for “CANCON” rather than them and our creators having the ability to negotiate to get good shows available to me, I suspect I would end up with less of what I’m interested in watching rather than more.

          I agree that it is unlikely that fans expressing their love for a show will get it back on a given network. My hope is that it encourages creators to bypass the networks to make programming available to those of us who want intelligent scripted shows. I’m willing to pay for the content I enjoy — and look forward to when more creators will accept my money.

          But I think we should be encouraging such fan participation — the more people try to connect to the creativity we enjoy, the closer we get to fixing the obvious flaws in the status-quo.

  3. I have to say, I have never listened to a podcast before, but I have seen links which I have followed to this site.

    I have to speak up on the efforts to Save Endgame- and hope you will use this as an opportunity to help us gather more of the Canadian fan base.

    I started the FB page, and work very hard to ensure that this has a chance to be a success. True our numbers are not high, but think about this- people are ONLY finding out the show was cancelled in the past few days. I take it very seriously, because I believe that it is important to keep good quality original programming that is purely Canadian on our airwaves. Undoubtedly you know what our other options are, recycled and tired versions of the show that may have just aired. You are right, it seems completely random in choosing who stays and who goes, and it should not be. Do you not think this is a reflection of where we, Canadians feel we fit into the television or film market? Especially when we see those who are successful move on to call LA home. Does not inspire much faith in our own backyard, does it? It also does not help that the shows we see hyped, even on entertainment shows is not of this country. Maybe if one of our actors is appearing, but that is where it ends. It is wrong, and it is sad. We need to all take pride in something that the world feels is worthy of watching- it is not our little secret, which maybe was the intention. Although d/l from torrent sites is happening here, you also have to figure in iTunes and IP blockers to watch on the Showcase site. Both legal, but surely not the only means. This is the world we live in, this is what the internet offers. Do I begrudge the international fans in any way for using whatever means to watch the show, not at all- I think that the fact they have taken a chance on a show barely marketed towards the intended audience, and loved it says a lot about the show, the quality of it all. It certainly tells me that we have something good,and because someone else may not see value in campaigning for it, that it should not be done. What is to stop either of you from signing the petition? It takes seconds, and it will add to the Canadian fan base. You say you want to see the show come back, so what does it hurt to put your name down?

    You guys have to remember, this is a Canadian show, and comparing it to Chuck or Firefly is not fair. I have already stated why. Showcase did not do right by this show, not in the least. I have found very little by way of media mention since the middle of March until we spoke up. You can also look up Bill Brioux and Brad Frenette, both did pieces picked up all over Canada. Visit the page on FB- this is WAY more than clicking a button. Take time to see what others are writing on the petition. Rethink just talking or writing, and help great Canadian tv. I do not expect anyone to do what I have in these efforts, or Sabrina, or the others who have worked so hard to help get it out there, but, I certainly expect a site with people dedicated to Canadian tv to take part. Even by simply signing the petition. IF that is not comfortable, then please represent us as we are. This is not a lost cause, and it could prove to be a very important step in helping Canada prove that we also have what it takes to be aired internationally- or at least offer access via the network sites.

    Yes, our numbers are small, but in those numbers you have the fans and the cast and crew standing together, sharing this part of the Endgame journey. WHERE have we seen this before? Right, never. THAT makes me even more proud of what this show is all about, because it truly transcnds all borders.

    Please reconsider showing this in its true light, and I sincerely hope that you do break your own boundaries, and show a united front- for Canadian tv.

    1. I follow this blog, and thus I knew that Endgame wasn’t being renewed. I learned about it from the podcast, and wouldn’t have known about the show and watched it otherwise.

      I mentioned the show not being renewed to another friend who is a fan, and she was surprised. You see, most people only figure these things out in the fall when a show doesn’t show up when they expect them to.

      Some of us follow the shows we like closely, but most don’t — even for the shows they really like.

      This links into the second half of the podcast with the interviews. It was discussed that there are 3 ways to make money: advertisers pay, users pay, licensing.

      I believe we need to move to a “users pay plus” model for all programming.

      Licensing tends to be excessively regional and involved region blocking. This simply drives people to infringement, which should be considered expected and not something to complain about. Sorry, but there is nothing morally wrong with not paying for a show when people are refusing money. The fact that our laws are outdated and consider this expected behavior to be illegal is a problem with the law. If the law was modernized, there would finally be motivation to offer the programming through channels where creators get paid.

      Advertising is unfortunately also regional, as not all products and services that would be advertised are available in all regions.

      The main point is that no matter what additional money making avenues are utilized, some sort of globally available “user pays” must be there as well. Otherwise that is not only money thrown on the floor, but it is a loss of better statistics about the true interest in the show.

      Separately, I want Sabrina Thomas to tell me more about the campaign to encourage someone to pick up Endgame. Who owns the property? Can it be furthered by someone other than Showcase/etc?

  4. Diane,
    First off, please allow me to say that the fans of Endgame truly do appreciate you publicizing our campaign on your site and on Twitter. We were thrilled to have you help spread our message. So, thank you.

    However, as a fan, I am having difficulty understanding why you would mock that same campaign on your podcast. From what I could tell, your comments were based on Alex Strachan’s article about our “global” campaign. In this case, global refers to the fact that we have fans from all around the world from all walks of life- NOT that this is “global” news like the Royal Wedding or anything else important like war in the Middle East.

    Fans from all over the world offered to send chess pieces, physical letters, and the like, but with the mail strike, we felt that it would be more proactive to engage in an email and social media campaign. We are not naïve. We know the odds. We know that “3000 fans writing their name on an online petition and 1200 clicking like on Facebook” is a drop in the bucket.

    Yet the beginning of your podcast has a recording saying: “Each of these media creates a new environment. It creates a new situation for human association and human conception…any medium at all creates a new pattern, a new atmosphere, a new environment of human perception, which works upon the whole land. It works upon the whole society…”

    Does our campaign not exemplify this in totality? For us to use an online petition, a Facebook page, Twitter, and emails to the network is at its very nature utilizing these mediums of social networking to affect change in the way things are done in Television Land.

    You stated yourself that, in essence, ratings are not used to determine which shows are renewed, so I would think you could appreciate that this campaign, whether futile or not, is in part a declaration that we are tired of being given programming that is formulaic and insulting to our intelligence and then not given any consideration when decisions are made based on an archaic method like ratings about a show we actually believed in and wanted to remain on the air.

    And to our knowledge, we are making a difference because we managed to get more media coverage in a week than Showcase did for the entire season. Moreover, we had actual cast members coming on our FB page, thanking us for our support. Therefore, we knew that we had accomplished something that could not have been achieved by traditional means- we had been heard by those who mattered most, and for that, we are most proud.

    Yes, it is your podcast, your tone, and your opinion, but please don’t insult us saying that you think it’s great and while laughing at us. I would think someone who is trying to affect change in television through a site such as yours could appreciate what we’re doing and stop at merely wishing us well with our endeavors. Whether or not the show actually gets renewed is not even the point. Even if it’s foolish or “quixotic” of us to pursue this campaign, the point is to make a difference in the status quo, to let the network know we want to be involved in our programing, and to let the cast and crew know they made an impact on us.

    Thanks again,

  5. Your passion is admirable; your expectation that I share it in the same form is not.

    I interviewed Avrum Jacobson, Shawn Doyle, Patrick Gallagher and Torrance Coombs to promote the show. I posted information on the show regularly. I posted information about your campaign (which is not a first in Canadian television – there were campaigns for Jpod, SGU, Blood Ties, etc., not all of which I posted about.)

    I’ve spent the last 6 years promoting Canadian television but my pet topic is very different from yours and makes me feel that yours is misguided. As Anthony said, if you come up with a campaign toward the CRTC for more Canadian content in general, you’ll have my wholehearted support. In the meantime, you might want to reconsider demanding support from someone who clearly doesn’t share your views and redirect that effort into finding more of those who do.

  6. I just wanted to let you know that I just arrived home from the Banff Media Festival and can confirm that nothing has changed. It was admirable to have people like Felicia Day and My Damn Channel talk, but it really feels token. It’s becoming painfully obvious that the traditional TV people have no clue what to do with the technology to tell their stories.

    It really seems to boil down to the fact that traditional TV people won’t listen to anyone but themselves. We couldn’t believe that the technology keynotes and panels were so loaded with people from either the big broadcasters or old-school agencies. Are these the people that should be giving out advice about how to leverage the technology?

    The conversation needs to become a little more bidirectional between the TV and NextMedia crowds. If it doesn’t, it really is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

    1. That’s sad to hear (though glad you got to go – this is the Craig I know, right?) After they amalgamated the two fests, I’d hoped things would change, but I think it’s just more obvious now that it’s old school versus new.

  7. And now for something completely different…

    I assume there’s some Canadian participation involved allowing The Movie Network/Movie Central to say that The Crimson Petal & the White qualifies as CanCon (I haven’t watched it to see what the credits might say) but I thought I’d mention that it ran on the BBC back in April.

  8. Yes, Jerry, it’s like Camelot, The Kennedys, The Tudors etc – a coproduction with Canadian involvement but very little obvious Canadian-ness.

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