HeSaidSheSaid

He Said/She Said: Reaction to Rogers/Shaw/Bell Media’s fall lineup

Join Greg and Diane every Monday as we debate what’s on our minds. This week: Our thoughts regarding Rogers, Shaw and Bell Media’s 2015-16 broadcast schedules.

He Said:

Make sure you take a peek at Diane’s fall announcement scorecard for her grade on the networks when it comes to Cancon and our thoughts on CBC’s fall schedule.

Overall, I’m frustrated with the amount of Canadian content that Rogers and Shaw have lined up for City and Global. A measly 60 minutes are devoted to homegrown series on City thanks to a second window of Mr. D and original episodes of Sunnyside. That’s it. Mr. D has gotten the short end of the stick in this formula, leading off the night on Thursdays in November and into unproven U.S. import Life in Pieces. Sunnyside has a cushy spot between Bob’s Burgers and Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Sundays in a night of back-to-back sitcoms that Global and Fox have made famous.

Over it Global it’s even more dire because they have exactly zero minutes of Cancon lined up for the fall. Shaw boss Christine Shipton played up the midseason return of Big Brother Canada and newbies The Code and Houdini and Doyle which, again, is just three hours of original stuff amid all of the acquired programs from south of the border. Adding to my frustration, of course, is the fact that Shaw cancelled Remedy only to trumpet U.S. medical drama Heartbreaker. (Two days after Shaw jetted star Melissa George to their upfront, NBC bumped Heartbreaker to mideason.)

Granted, Shaw has loaded up on Canadian content on its specialty channels with unscripted fare like Curse of the Frozen Gold, Battle Factory, Klondike Trappers, Unusually Thicke, The House that HGTV Built, Leave It to Bryan, Chef in Your Ear, Chopped Canada Teen Tournament, Food Network’s Great Canadian Cookbook, First Dates and scripted work in Vikings. That’s certainly more than what Rogers offers on OLN, FXX and FX Canada.

Bell Media comes off like a saviour thanks to putting Saving Hope in the prime Thursday night 9 p.m. slot on CTV, a move that shows confidence in the series. Motive and MasterChef Canada will both be back at midseason on CTV while CTV Two packs Saturday nights with repeats of The Listener, Flashpoint and Motive. On the other hand, Bell Media is playing it safe by sticking with what works on CTV and CTV Two; I wish the upcoming Letterkenny was given a chance to shine on the main networks rather than on The Comedy Network and CraveTV.

She Said:

How depressing is it that the highest praise we can bestow on the major private networks this season is “yay, one of them is giving one of their own shows a decent fall timeslot”? Canadian TV: the home of lowered expectations.

Fall is a rough time for homegrown programs, though, amid the saturation of US shows’ big budgets and big marketing campaigns. It seems we’ve learned time and again that new series have a better chance of a successful launch in winter rather than fall.

Which doesn’t explain why there’s not much to say about the “16” part of their 2015-16 schedules. Motive and MasterChef Canada are coming up this winter and … no, never mind, there’s no “and.”

Global and City still have announced nothing original scheduled for post-Christmas. Only Global used the 2015-16 season announcements as an opportunity to talk about new upcoming shows — The Code and Houdini and Doyle, not yet in production and with no air dates attached, so don’t expect to see them before spring — and that appeared to be a case of misdirection in the hopes people wouldn’t notice they had butkus actually scheduled for 2015-16 in their scheduling announcements so far. The specialty networks are where Shaw has shows, but the mothership network? Nada. 

I expect more development/in production announcements soon-ish, given how thin things are looking like right now and rumours of shows in their last seasons. I also expect Canadian shows may be slotted in ad hoc as US cancellations force a hole in the precious simsub schedules. But when putting on a show for advertisers through upfronts and high season schedules, the private networks are still all about that U.S. product with little to no room for original productions.

There’s a persistent rumour that Canadian productions don’t bring in the Canadian advertising like a U.S. show does. Chicken? Egg? If the networks don’t value them as much, it becomes hard to argue that advertisers and audiences should.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and partner at TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from countless programs. Survivor winners, Donald Trump, Jerry Bruckheimer ... he has interviewed (literally) hundreds of TV people over the course of his career. He is a past member of the Television Critics Association.
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9 thoughts on “He Said/She Said: Reaction to Rogers/Shaw/Bell Media’s fall lineup”

  1. I think what were going to see Canadian networks do this year is show look we don’t need American channels we will air most of the American programs.

      1. No not really if you take City they had 12 shows last year with only 9 be American this year there up to around 24 with 21 being American Ctv and Global have more American shows as well.

        1. I think you might be counting apples to our oranges. City has one hour of Canadian programming this fall. They had one hour last fall, plus a couple of reruns from OLN at 10pm when they’re not even programming nationally now. They had one hour years ago when they had Murdoch Mysteries and said they couldn’t afford any more original programming. Global had no Canadian scripted series last fall and winter, they have none this fall and winter. The year before they had Remedy and Working the Engels mid-season though nothing in fall. CTV has more Canadian shows now than they did before because now they have to spend more on original programming after the Astral acquisition. The Canadian networks have relied heavily on US simulcasting for literally decades. That’s why Cancon regulation exists – the networks don’t do it without regulation – and why that regulation includes some minimums for “programs of national interest” or they’d make all their original content the cheapest version of eTalk they could.

  2. I wonder what Global will schedule in Heartbreaker’s now vacant spot–I’d be shocked if it was something Canadian.

    I thought the big nets are required to air some Cancon in primetime. I know the news counts for some of those hours but still, I’m kind of P.O.ed about the lack of Cancon.

    Of CTV’s fall lineup, 5 out of 21 primetime hours (8pm to11pm) are taken by filmed-in Canada series (Once Upon a Time, Saving Hope, The Flash and Arrow). CTV2 airs 4 Canadian hours out of 21 primetime hours (Reign, Flashpoint, W5, Motive. Bell Media also has shot-in-Canada DC’s Legends of Tomorrow slotted for midseason.

    City TV only has 1 hour of shot-in-Canada series all week in primetime (Mr.D and Sunnyside) plus hockey on Saturdays. No shot-in-Canada series set for midseason for them.

    As for Global, they have 2 hours of shot-in-Canada series for primetime in the fall (Minority Report and something called Canadian Crime stories). For midseason they have Heartbreaker.

    1. Canadian Crime Stories will be repeats of Canadian dramas. I wish they’d replay Bomb Girls.

      Kelly Lynn Ashton will be writing a piece for us that outlines how the Canadian networks fulfill their Cancon requirements in primetime so that we all know how that works. I admit I’m a bit in the dark on how it all shakes out.

      1. I’m glad to see Kelly is writing an article to explain it. I know the rules have changed too. In the past I looked it up and I can’t remember the exact rules but I believe it was something like primetime was considered 6pm to 12am rather than the 8pm to 11pm which is actually real primetime. By expanding primetime to include that 6pm and 7pm hours, the news and entertainment shows can count towards the Cancon requirement. Also, points were given to series filmed in Canada even if they weren’t technically Canadian in ownership. As well, networks are only required to fulfill the requirements on an annual basis so it doesn’t have to be equally distributed. So take CTV’s fall schedule for this week for instance:
        The 6pm hour contains all news and the 7pm hour contains ET Canada for a half an hour each day except on Saturdays where W5 takes up an hour. On Thursday and Friday there are 2 and a half hours each slotted for a FIFA World Cup game. On Saturday, 2 hours are slotted for a “Canadian” movie called Surprised by Love (filmed for Hallmark Channel in the States and disguised as an American movie but actually Canadian) followed by an hour of Motive. The 11pm hour across all days is also given for news. All in all, that would mean that 25.5 hours out of 42 hours of “primetime” on CTV’s schedule are considered Cancon (over 50%).

    1. Yes, there are other kinds of programming that go towards overall Cancon, though there are primetime requirements and requirements for “programs of national interest” and a lot of minutia that makes my eyes glaze over. Kelly Lynne will explain far better than I can in an upcoming post but they can also choose to air all their Cancon in the summer, shift some to specialty networks, etc.

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