Tag Archives: Canadian TV

Link: Denis McGrath

From Alex Epstein of Complications Ensue: The Crafty TV and Screenwriting Blog

Link: Denis McGrath
We lost one of the best writers I know tonight. A writer, and a firebrand for writers. And a good friend. And a wit, and a style, and a voice. Damn it.

I met Denis McGrath on a plane to South Africa. We were parachuting in on a show where the previous writing team, who were on a plane going the other way, had not got along too well with the showrunner. When we got there, we had to retcon some sort of sense out of the episodes that had been shot, and then rewrite the next script literally over the course of 24 hours. Continue reading. 


Film, television and digital production in Toronto hits record-breaking $2 billion in 2016

From a media release:

Domestic and foreign film, television, digital and commercials production investments in Toronto had a third record-setting year in 2016 and achieved the $2.01-billion level for the first time.

Some of the major highlights for 2016:
• Domestic and international screen-based productions exceeded the $1-billion mark for the sixth consecutive year, with a 33-per-cent increase over the $1.55 billion reported in 2015.
• Foreign major production investment in film and television grew to $794 million, a 49-per-cent increase from 2015. Since 2014, foreign production investment has increased by 129 per cent.
• Investment in animation and visual effects grew to $403 million, a 179-per-cent increase from the $144.5 million reported in 2015. Since 2014, investment in this area has increased by 363 per cent from $87.1 million.
• Television series, foreign and domestic, remains the dominant investment type in Toronto with an increase to $908 million in 2016.
• Investment in commercials production continued to rise to record levels, growing to $380 million, a 10-per-cent increase from the $345 million reported in 2015. Since 2014, investment in this area has increased by 95 per cent from $195 million. (Note that this type of investment is measured by Toronto but not by other levels of government.)
• The number of location filming shoot days has seen three record breaking years, with an increase to 7,280 shoot days in 2016.

The above numbers also help to show a larger Toronto industry success story. Combining the $2 billion in investment noted above with figures from broadcasters and the interactive digital media cluster results in a total investment figure of $3.26 billion for all of Toronto’s film, television and digital media production in 2016. That figure represents a 16 per cent increase from 2015.

The detailed report can be found here.


Link: New system for funding Canadian content would rely on tax credits

From Kate Taylor of The Globe and Mail:

Link: New system for funding Canadian content would rely on tax credits
Canada desperately needs an update to its cultural policies but, like many Liberal initiatives, the review announced last spring by Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly feels pretty mushy. To date, the consultations about nurturing Canadian-content creation seem mainly to have produced pieties about the digital age but few concrete suggestions. Continue reading. 


2016-17 Canadian TV season renewal scorecard

With the 2015-16 Canadian television season ended, the networks are putting the finished touches on their primetime lineups for 2016-17. That means celebrations for fans of shows that have been renewed and sadness for programs that won’t return.

To help keep track of what’s been renewed or ending, we’ve put together a handy list for you. Check back often to see the status of your favourites.


  • Murdoch Mysteries (CBC)
  • Heartland (CBC)
  • Mr. D (CBC)
  • Vikings (History)
  • Schitt’s Creek (CBC)
  • Saving Hope (CTV)
  • The Rick Mercer Report (CBC)
  • This Hour Has 22 Minutes (CBC)
  • Hard Rock Medical (TVO)
  • Blood and Water (Omni)
  • Mohawk Girls (APTN)
  • Letterkenny (Crave TV)
  • Dragons’ Den (CBC)
  • Still Standing (CBC)
  • Love It Or List It Vancouver (W Network)
  • Masters of Flip (CMT)
  • Chopped Canada (Food Network)
  • X Company (CBC for third and final season)
  • This Life (CBC)
  • The Romeo Section (CBC)
  • Canada’s Smartest Person (CBC)
  • Hello Goodbye (CBC)
  • Crash Gallery (CBC)
  • Exhibitionists (CBC)
  • Interrupt This Program (CBC)
  • 19-2 (Bravo for fourth and final season)
  • Tiny Plastic Men (Super Channel)
  • The Other Side (APTN)
  • Home to Win (HGTV Canada)
  • Leave It to Bryan (HGTV Canada)
  • Timber Kings (HGTV Canada)
  • Tiny House Hunters (HGTV Canada)
  • Property Brothers (W Network)
  • Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers (W Network)
  • You Gotta Eat Here! (Food Network Canada)
  • First Dates (Slice)
  • Big Brother Canada (Global)
  • Ice Road Truckers (History)
  • Yukon Gold (History)
  • The Stanley Dynamic (YTV)
  • Marketplace (CBC)
  • The Fifth Estate (CBC)
  • Firsthand (CBC)
  • MasterChef Canada (CTV)
  • Canada’s Worst Driver (Discovery)
  • Cold Water Cowboys (Discovery)
  • Highway Thru Hell (Discovery)
  • How It’s Made (Discovery)
  • Jade Fever (Discovery)
  • Mayday (Discovery)
  • Mighty Cruise Ships (Discovery)
  • Vegas Rat Rods (Discovery)
  • Daily Planet (Discovery)
  • The Marilyn Denis Show (CTV)
  • The Social (CTV)
  • Orphan Black (Space)
  • Carnival Eats (Food Network Canada)
  • Degrassi: Next Class (Seasons 3 and 4) (Family Channel)
  • Baroness von Sketch Show (CBC)
  • Wynonna Earp (CHCH)
  • Private Eyes (Global)
  • Dark Matter (Space)
  • Killjoys (Space)

Not returning

  • Sunnyside (City)
  • Fool Canada (CBC)
  • Young Drunk Punk (CBC)
  • Motive (CTV)
  • Strange Empire (CBC)
  • Bitten (Space)
  • Ascension (CBC)
  • Blackstone (APTN)
  • Continuum (Showcase)
  • Lost Girl (Showcase)
  • Open Heart (YTV)
  • Remedy (Global)
  • Spun Out (CTV)
  • Rookie Blue (Global)
  • Haven (Showcase)
  • Package Deal (City)
  • The Pinkertons (CHCH)
  • Border Security (National Geographic)
  • 16×9 (Global)
  • Houdini & Doyle (Global)

Reaction to CRTC’s Policy framework for Certified Independent Production Funds

By Anonymous 

UPDATE: If the intent is to attract “top talent” that will make all these new “American” Canadian shows more viable, the CRTC should probably know that even some of the most successful Canadians in L.A., like the showrunner/creator of Bones, isn’t impressed.



Canadian Television is about to become slightly less full of Canadians, thanks to a major CRTC decision released quietly yesterday.

The CRTC is allowing the independent production funds (including the Shaw Rocket Fund, Rogers Fund, Cogeco Program Development Fund, Telefilm Canada, and the Harold Greenberg Fund) to reduce their “point system” for what determines Canadian-ness of a project from 8 to 6. The general effect of this will be to allow for the hiring of non-Canadians in key creation and starring roles (ie: Americans will be able to create and star in “Canadian” TV series).

This, in fact, by the CRTC’s own admission, was one of the points of the decision:

“The current criterion requiring eight out of 10 Canadian content certification points to qualify for CIPF funding is restrictive and excludes many productions that could otherwise be of high quality and qualify as Canadian. Moreover, a reduced requirement could help smaller and perhaps more innovative projects to qualify for funding. A reduced requirement of at least six points could also facilitate the hiring by production companies of non-Canadian actors or creators, who may increase a project’s attractiveness and visibility in international markets.”

Reaction from the Canadian creative community was swift, and critical.






What’s particularly unusual about this decision is that something with far-reaching implications was done as a “paper hearing,” ie: the CRTC did not hold any public consultations.

The last time something like this was proposed, the Writers Guild of Canada brought a group of screenwriters to Hull to appear before the commission. They made a convincing case as to why this “flexibility” wouldn’t lead to better quality Canadian programming. It seems that current chairman J.P. Blais was determined to not repeat this exercise.

Of concern to fans of actual Canadian TV shows, of course, is the fact that once again in no way was the audience consulted. The CRTC didn’t bother to seek out or try to understand the feelings of fans who celebrate unique Canadian points-of-view and creative directions on display in Canadian-created shows such as Orphan Black, Flashpoint, X Company, Letterkenny, Wynonna Earp, Lost Girl, Rookie Blue, Saving Hope, Motive, or many more.

As Peter Mitchell, executive producer and showrunner of Murdoch Mysteries explained on Facebook, even the premise of the CRTC’s decision is faulty:


The problem with the CRTC’s decision is that it really doesn’t advance any new idea. Many Canadian producers have been doing their level best to copy “American-style” shows for years, watering down the Canadian creative role as much as possible. They never seem to do as well as the original work such as Orphan Black or Murdoch Mysteries. That’s why you’re not seeing Season 4 of the forgettable XIII, and why Houdini & Doyle, which debuted to so much fanfare, died a quiet death.

The idea that Canadian producers will be able to attract top American talent is dubious at best. Because if you’re American, and you’re working in the American industry where there’s more money, and more prestige, why would you take a massive pay cut to work in Canada? Instead of top American talent, you’re likelier to get the people who can’t get hired anymore, who might have had credits in the 1980s or 1990s. And now the CRTC has blessed the idea that these marginal players are more valuable than the top homegrown talent who are responsible for the industry’s top successes.



There are other ways to approach the idea of creating hits, rather than this failed road. But the CRTC seems to be enamored with the fantasy that “flexibility” fixes all, rather than actually supporting talent.


And the best part? A government that ran at least partially on a platform of promoting culture is signalling to the next generation of storytellers not to bother—that it’s time to leave:



So there’s nothing good here if you’re a Canadian writer or actor hoping to star in or create a Canadian show. Or if you’re someone who likes the unique point of view you see from Canadian TV shows. But the producer’s association loves it. I’m sure you’ll be getting something great from that writer who did one episode of Simon & Simon any day now.





Great news, isn’t it?