TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television | Page 10
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

White Pine Pictures developing limited scripted series WIRE MEN

From a media release:

White Pine Pictures and STV Productions are pleased to announce they are collaborating on the development of the limited series Wire Men in association with Power.

Wire Men reveals early tech wars as we’ve never seen, against the backdrop of America’s race to become the industrial and technological leader of the world. Alexander Graham Bell is at the centre of a cutthroat race to invent the telephone and entangled in a bitter rivalry with the unscrupulous Thomas Edison. They were the Zuckerberg, Jobs, and Gates of their day – brilliant young men at the top of their game.

The new drama is based in part on the book Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention by noted historian and best-selling author Charlotte Gray. Her book Gold Diggers:Striking It Rich in the Klondike, was adapted for the Ridley Scott ratings hit Klondike; the first scripted series commissioned by Discovery.

The collaboration marks the first time these two Award-winning production houses are working together on a project.

The partnership between Executive Producers Peter Raymont (White Pine Pictures), Alan Clements and Sarah Brown (STV Productions), and Susan Waddell, CEO of Power, was initiated at MIPCOM last year and the agreement was signed at this year’s MIPTV 2015.

The series will be produced as a UK-Canada treaty co-production and Power will act as the series’ international co-producer and distributor and will be discussing the project with broadcasters at MIPTV.

Canadian Media Production Association seeks to appeal CRTC Let’s Talk TV decision

From a media release:

The Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) has filed an application for leave to appeal asking the Federal Court of Appeal to set aside a CRTC decision to no longer enforce critical safeguards for independent producers in their dealings with Canada’s largest private broadcasters (Bell, Rogers, Shaw and Corus). These safeguards, known as terms of trade, were put in place in 2011 by the CRTC in the form of regulatory conditions designed to redress the imbalance of bargaining power between independent producers and broadcasters.

“We had no choice but to seek to appeal this aspect of the Let’s Talk TV decision” said Michael Hennessy, CMPA President and CEO. “Regulatory enforcement of producer safeguards is the only way to ensure producers are able to negotiate fair deals with the media giants. They are critical for the health of the independent production sector and the thousands of creators and skilled workers it employs.”

In its leave to appeal application, the CMPA argues that the CRTC failed to provide the CMPA with notice or the opportunity to make proper submissions with respect to this critically important issue for independent producers. The appeal is not related to the CRTC’s recent policies to provide more choice and affordability to Canadian TV viewers.

“We are disturbed that the CRTC has decided to no longer enforce safeguards for independent producers without any notice or asking us a single question on the subject at the Let’s Talk TV hearings,” says Hennessy. “Without the current regulatory conditions to ensure fair bargaining, and in the absence of any other Codes or safeguards, thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses are in jeopardy. Even more troubling to us is that at the same time the enforcement for producer safeguards were withdrawn, the CRTC enhanced protections afforded to much larger industry players like independent broadcasters and cable providers such as Cogeco and TELUS.”

Total film and television production volume in Canada in 2013/14 was $5.86B and accounted for over 125,000 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs including 49,300 direct jobs on productions. That accounts for $7.5B GDP to the economy. Canadian independent television production accounted for $2.3B in volume, generating 49,000 FTEs including 19,300 direct jobs, and $2.9B in GDP.

Tonight: Big Brother Canada, Remedy, Organic Panic, Blood Sweat & Tools

Big Brother Canada, Global
One houseguest will win the coveted Power of Veto—the ability to veto a nominee up for eviction!

Remedy, Global – “Blood and Guts”
Zoe is blindsided when her mother shows up to Beth-H unannounced, just as she’s getting ready to start her shift. Zoe hasn’t heard from her in 20 years – and the more she learns about her mother, the better she understands why. Allen performs a heroic emergency procedure and saves a patient’s life, but must contend with the psychological aftermath. Griffin becomes overly involved when he tries to play matchmaker to a pair of love-struck teenagers.

Organic Panic, VisionTV
An organic revolution is taking place in homes and business around the world. Organic products account for over $64 billion dollars spent worldwide annually. But what does organic really mean? How can consumers make informed decisions and separate fact from ‘greenwashing’?

Blood, Sweat & Tools, Discovery – season premiere
Set in the iconic cottage country of Northern Ontario, BLOOD, SWEAT & TOOLS features duos of hapless handypersons performing all manner of home renovation challenges, from installing toilets and outdoor showers, to building gazebos and repairing roofs. The teams work to impress three experts – Rob Koci of Canadian Contractor magazine, fourth-generation tradesman and carpenter, Helder Brum, and power tool expert Hillary Manion – with Do It Yourself (DIY) home repair projects in a bid to be named “Most Improved.” The couples must perform these DIY tasks quickly and to exacting specifications. Then, following eight episodes of hammering it out to stay alive in the competition, the final decision is left up to Canada with viewers determining the winning couple LIVE during the season finale episode.

He Said/She Said: The decline and fall of Bell’s Kevin Crull


Join Greg and Diane every Monday as we debate what’s on our minds. This week: What to make of the news that Bell Media fired president Kevin Crull over his interference in his networks’ news coverage of the CRTC TalkTV decisions?

She said: 

It’s been a brutal few weeks in the Canadian media world, with more CBC job cuts announced, Shaw’s reorganization and PostMedia’s acquisition of Sun Media leading to layoffs, PostMedia announcing a $58 million loss, and Nova Scotia slashing its film and television tax credit. And then there was Kevin Crull’s non-voluntary exit from Bell. That one is harder to shed a tear over.

Bell did absolutely the right thing here. No apology could make up for the need for him to “relearn” the lesson of editorial control belonging to the news team, not the business team. Public confidence had to be regained but more importantly, I’d say, BCE and Bell Canada president and CEO George Cope’s and the news team’s confidence in their Bell Media president was irreparably damaged.

It’s hard to believe such news interference doesn’t happen elsewhere without becoming so public. I also don’t believe news stories about abrupt exits  can ever encompass all the straws on that camel’s back. Bell and the CRTC have been in a simmering feud since the acquisition of Astral, which was first denied and then approved with greater concessions than Bell had wanted to make. The CRTC’s recent and odd SuperBowl simulcast decision will cost Bell dearly. No broadcasters are happy with the pick and pay and other decisions designed to please consumers.

How much of the tainted relationship between Bell and the CRTC was placed at Crull’s feet? How much of Crull’s arrogance is what trickled down into a corporate brand that often oozes arrogance?

In any case, I can’t cheer over someone losing a job, but I can’t be unhappy over this one either. Canadian media is getting consolidated into fewer and bigger silos. Less competition, fewer people delivering the news, reduced revenues — the last thing our media needs is more proof that the public’s chance of getting accurate, unbiased news from them is getting slimmer too.

He said: 

I’m on the same page as Diane here and she’s pretty much said everything I was thinking. I did find it interesting that in the days following the story of Crull’s meddling in CTV News the network’s PR machine went quiet. The statement from Crull where he admitted he needed to “relearn” rather than say “I’m sorry” was expected but not the silence that followed for days afterward. It was almost as if they hoped the story would go away, but more likely meetings were held to decide what the heck to do.

The right decision was made. Crull had been butting heads with the CRTC and its head, Jean-Pierre Blais, for awhile and Bell Media needed to go back to the drawing board with a new face.

Bravo Orders Third Season of its Critically-Acclaimed Original Drama Series, 19-2

From a media release:

Bravo announced today it has ordered a third season of the gripping original drama, 19-2. An additional 10, one-hour episodes have been ordered from Sphère Média Plus and Echo Media with production expected to begin this summer in Montréal. Nominated for 10 Canadian Screen Awards in 2015, Season 1 of19-2 received the second-most nominations of any television series behind Space’s ORPHAN BLACK, and was Bravo’s #1 original series, reaching a total of more than 3.3 million viewers. Adrian Holmes (ARROW) and recent CSA, Best Actor winner Jared Keeso (Godzilla), reprise their roles as embattled beat cops Nick Barron and Ben Chartier. For those who have yet to get hooked on 19-2, Season 1 of 19-2 is streaming now on CraveTVTM.

19-2 is co-produced by Sphère Média Plus and Echo Media in association with Bell Media, and stars CSA nominee Laurence Lebeouf (DURHAM COUNTY) as Nick’s former lover, Audrey; CSA nominee Dan Petronijevic (SAVING HOPE) as angry beat-cop J.M.; CSA nominee Benz Antoine (THE LISTENER) as struggling alcoholic, officer Tyler; Mylène Dinh-Robic (THE LISTENER) as Tyler’s brazen, no-nonsense partner Béatrice; and Bruce Ramsay (CONTINUUM) as manipulative District Commander Marcel Gendron. CSA nominee Maxim Roy (HEARTLAND) returns to guest star as Nick’s ex-wife Isabelle.

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