In the news: Who speaks for Canadian TV?

From John Doyle of the Globe and Mail:

  • Where have all the cultural warriors gone?
    “In this crazy battle about the CTF, Trailer Park Boys has become a contentious issue. The show has been the subject of Philistine sneering from Jim Shaw of Shaw Cable, and his view has even been supported by right-wing pundits in certain newspapers. What’s supposed to happen: Are the Boys expected to step up, step out of character and articulate their Canadian-ness? As gloriously representative as they are of our uniqueness, the Boys are part of a mock-documentary TV series. Expecting them to do a Margaret Atwood is ludicrous. Is there no one among the many producers, writers and actors who benefit from the CTF who is willing to speak out, angrily and passionately, about the outrageous stunt being pulled by certain Canadian cable companies?”

3 thoughts on “In the news: Who speaks for Canadian TV?”

  1. Probably because all those writers, producers and directors are just waiting with gaping maws for their big chance to jump the border at big productions in the US market?

    Just a thought.

  2. I would love to see a chart showing how much money the CTF spends on each show, and the viewership generated by those shows. This argument seems to be taking place in a statistical vacuum, with both sides making sweeping generalizations.

    Personally, I think the entire television industry in Canada should be privatized except for the CBC. Why are tax dollars paying for shows on private networks?

  3. Guys:

    Maybe you’re just trolling but if you’re not consider this: if we leave it to the market it’s not feasible to produce Canadian TV shows. Our population isn’t big enough. You can buy ’em from the states at a fraction of the cost of producing them, air ’em, and make a profit. But, generally, you can’t produce them and make money.

    So we’re left with government intervention. We can fund Canadian programming to the tune of about $10 a person a year, and we can regulate broadcasters to force them to produce Canadian shows. Or we can give up and not have any Canadian shows and everybody who works in the Canadian TV industry — or who makes a living in its spinoffs — loses their job.

    Obviously I’m pro-funding. But if you’re not, I can understand that. Maybe you think Canada doesn’t need its own TV industry. The government provides healthcare, defense, etc. Why should it provide TV shows? Even indirectly?

    But don’t pretend we can cut the funding and still have Canadian TV shows. We cut the funding, no more shows, the end.

    Also consider that the money is small potatoes compared to what we dish out to other industries: Bombardier has taken a lot more of your tax dollars than Canadian actors ever will.

    (By the way every first world country except the states funds its domestic TV production. Britain spends three times as much as us per capita.)

    All that said I agree we need to get more people watching Canadian TV shows. There’s been some real crap in the past. But people do watch some of the current crop, especially comedies: This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Mercer Report, Corner Gas, Trailer Park Boys, Little Mosque… these shows all get good numbers. A lot of animated Canadian stuff for kids which you probably haven’t seen unless you have toddlers is doing well too, both domestically and internationally.


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