TV, Eh? Industry Update – Thunderbird Films, Recipe to Riches, CRTC, and Family Guy

Frank Giustra invests in Thunderbird Films

Frank Giustra will fund Thunderbird Films as a major shareholder, as Thunderbird Films expands and diversifies its television business. Giustra is best known for his mining and entertainment investments. In particular, Giustra founded Lions Gate Films in 1997, to capitalize on Vancouver’s then-burgeoning film and television industries. Thunderbird Films will change its name, to reflect its television expansion.

Thunderbird Films’ recent shows include YTV’s Mr. Young, Showcase’s Endgame, and CTV’s Hiccups. Other shows in Thunderbird Films’ library include Intelligence, as well as distribution rights to Da Vinci’s Inquest and Cold Squad.

Thunderbird Films also owns half of Ridley Scott’s 1982 film, Blade Runner. Thunderbird Films is an active partner in the new Ridley Scott-helmed Blade Runner film, in whatever shape nu-Blade Runner takes.

Recipe to Riches finds its own recipe to riches

FremantleMedia and FremantleMedia Enterprises have bought international licensing and format rights to Temple Street Productions’ Recipe to Riches. The show debuted on Food Network Canada October 19th, 2011, and currently prepares for its second season.

The news was broken by, of all places, The New York Times. Recipe to Riches is a focal point of the article, which also announces Bravo US’ upcoming culinary travel series, Around the World in 80 Plates.

The international format sale was brokered by Temple Street Productions, and Canadian marketing communications agency Capital C. Capital C is controlled by MDC Partners, a Toronto-based, multinational advertising holding company.

Global and Family Guy violate (heheheheheh) the CAB Violence Code

On July 23, 2011, Global Television, through its Global BC affiliate, aired a 5:00 PM PT rerun of Family Guy – in particular, the “Stewie B. Goode” episode. In the episode, a cutaway features Bugs Bunny, and his lingering death after Elmer Fudd shoots him. Global did not provide an advisory for this act of violence, which it’s supposed to do under Article 5 of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Violence Code. The viewer advisory only mentions “language and content some viewers may find offensive,” Global’s standard, pre-watershed Family Guy advisory.

Due to this, Global is in violation of Article 5 of the CAB Violence Code. According to Canadian Broadcast Standards Council guidelines, Global has to apologize three times on-air for this violation, within two weeks.

“Stewie B. Goode” debuted May 21, 2006, on Fox. “Stewie B. Goode” is itself a broadcast version of the first third of Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, which debuted September 27, 2005, on DVD.

CRTC-related news

Bell Media is in a spat with the Canadian Independent Distributors Group. The CIDG consists of Canadian Cable Systems Alliance Inc., Bragg Communications Inc. (d/b/a EastLink), Cogeco Cable Canada GP Inc., MTS Inc., and TELUS Communications Company. At issue: wholesale rates, flexibility in distributing and packaging Bell Media’s channels, and an end to penalties, such as re-contracting and “step-up” fees.

This comes just after Bell Media’s win in its dispute with TELUS, over Bell Media’s exclusive NFL mobile coverage deal.

In both cases, Bell Media sells itself as the victim. Bell Media “got beat up hard” (Bell Media president Kevin Crull’s statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter) by Shaw and Rogers. Crull claims Bell Media’s chief competitors use their size to drive down wholesale prices. Bell Media also can’t get out of its current exclusivity contract with the NFL, so its hands are tied.

Ethnic Channels Group Limited earns approval for Bollywood SD – Hindi Movie Channel. It also earns the right to use up to half its twelve-minute-per-hour advertising limit on local and regional ads.

The CRTC will hold a May 7, 2012 hearing at the Allstream Centre in Toronto, Ontario, as it considers 34 applications. The lion’s share of the applications focus on Toronto’s much-coveted 88.1 FM radio frequency, made available as a result of CRTC’s CKLN-FM licence revocation. A few television applications are also in the queue:

  • Asian Television Network International Limited wants approval for ATN South Asian Cooking Channel 1.
  • L’Autre TV Inc. wants approval for L’Autre TV. The service, in the CRTC’s words, “would be directed to families from the communities of diversity found in Quebec, with a focus on 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations in the content as well as in the choice of hosts.”
  • ColbaNet Telecom Inc. wants licences, for its regional terrestrial broadcasting distribution undertakings. Said BDUs will serve major cities in southern Ontario, as well as major cities in Quebec.

ColbaNet, an Internet service provider, recently launched Internet Protocol Television services in and around Montreal, Quebec. ColbaNet’s IPTV service is currently bare-bones – 27 advertised channels, with more “coming soon,” including English-language CBC(?!)

Then again, its IPTV service only launched December 7, 2011, and ColbaNet has no problem integrating AppleTV, Netflix, and TOU.TV.

  • Rogers Broadcasting Limited wants the authority to take Saskatchewan Communications Network over, from outgoing owner Bluepoint Investments Inc. The transaction is valued at $3 million. Rogers’ SCN broadcasting licence will expire August 31, 2014, to match expiry dates for the other owned-and-operated channels in the Citytv program service.

Rogers wants to discontinue Bluepoint’s commitment to spend $1.75 million per year on independent Saskatchewan production, as well as $1 million/year on Saskatchewan digital production. It offers a $300,000 tangible benefits package, as part of the SCN ownership assumption.

Broadcasters will pay $30,623,000 to the CRTC in Part I licence fees, for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

Rogers-related news

Rogers finalizes a deal with Quebecor Media, as Rogers Cable adds TVA Sports to its lineup. TVA Sports and Rogers-owned Sportsnet currently co-produce content, which is shared by the two networks. As part of the deal, Toronto Blue Jays baseball games, Ottawa Senators hockey games, and Montreal Impact soccer games will be seen in the French language, outside of Quebec. On-demand and mobile content figure, as well as continued Rogers Cable coverage of TVA and Sun News Network.

Rogers launches Toronto Raptors basketball on Rogers Anyplace TV and the Rogers Live Mobile app, if you’re into watching the Raptors struggle this season.

Odds and sods

Durham County‘s third-season DVD hits the top 100 on The title has been out since February 21, 2012. It reached a #74 ranking in overall sales on February 28, 2012, before falling to #107 on February 29, 2012. A March 4, 2012 revisit has DC‘s rank at #71.

The CW will schedule The L.A. Complex Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at 9:00 PM ET/PT. It slides into the timeslot currently filled by Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Ringer. Ringer is currently on the fence with regards to a second season.