Examining the fall season of CanCon


Broadcasters have had their upfront presentations and announced their fall primetime seasons, so now we can get the microscope out to look at their Canadian offerings. (In the case of Global, an electron microscope may be needed.) I am, as usual, only including scripted and reality shows, so excluding news, sports, newsmagazines, specials, movies, documentary series or infotainment series.


I wanted to write a post about CBC’s 2013/14 season when they launched it, but it would have been nearly identical to what I wrote for 2012/13: this isn’t the public broadcaster I want. The upcoming year shows minimal risk, aiming for middle-of-the-road appeal, a renewal of everything that moves despite ratings, no new scripted series, and a foreign import for prime time — more egregiously, they felt the need to import a cop show when those comprise a large percentage of Canada’s gross domestic product.

However, what I said last year is more true this year: CBC is in a difficult place financially and politically (Executive Director for commissioned and scripted programming Sally Catto gave us a candid interview about how the budget cuts have affected programming). And some of their mid-season TV movies and mini-series seem promising. And at least their slate of CanCon is visible to the naked eye.

CanCon scripted and reality series for fall primetime:

  • Battle of the Blades (1 hour)
  • Cracked (1 hour)
  • Dragons’ Den (1 hour)
  • Heartland (1 hour)
  • Murdoch Mysteries (1 hour)
  • Republic of Doyle (1 hour)
  • Rick Mercer Report (1/2 hour)
  • 22 Minutes (1/2 hour)

Total: 7 hours


With less market penetration than the others, City is often the poor cousin in terms of Canadian series as well. This year, their fall season has more than the other private networks if you count those that will air first on specialty network OLN. Which I don’t quite, except maybe half marks for effort. They gave Seed a surprise renewal for 2014 — the ratings didn’t entirely justify it, but perhaps they’ll experiment with a different timeslot or find other ways to grow the audience that shrank last year — and have Mother Up and Meet The Family on the horizon for mid-season.

I have mixed feelings about the scheduling of their one true original fall show, Package Deal. The premiere date has been pushed back more than once; they seem to have landed on airing it on June 24 as last announced but then delaying the rest of the season for a fall run. They used the “because, hockey” excuse for two delays, which make them seem like the only Canadians unaware of the playoffs. But I do admire them for breaking away from the model of summer season being the safe season for CanCon, and for putting their new multi-camera comedy between two US multi-camera comedies (single-cam Seed’s old spot between How I Met Your Mother and 2 Broke Girls, but without the draw of a Big Bang Theory rerun at the same time to pilfer viewers).

CanCon scripted and reality series for fall primetime:

  • Package Deal (1/2 hour)
  • The Liquidator (OLN first run – 1 hour)
  • The Project: Guatemala (OLN first run – 1 hour)
  • Storage Wars Canada (OLN first run – 1/2 hour)

Total: 1/2 hour or if I’m generous, 3 hours


As CTV bragged in their 2013/14 launch media release, “In total, CTV’s fall schedule features 17.5 hours of simulcast programming weekly, more than any other Canadian network.” So you know the CanCon news isn’t great. Apparently Bell Media president Kevin Crull has said he can see a time soon when in-season primetime will be 25% Canadian, but that time is not now. The network has announced one CanCon series launching in fall this year — Played (I will imagine your surprise that it’s another cop show) — while MasterChef Canada was announced for mid-season (I’ll imagine your surprise that it’s another Reality Show X Canada format) and Motive is renewed for a second season.

CanCon scripted and reality series for fall primetime:

  • Played (1 hour)

Total: 1 hour


Coming off their cancellation of Bomb Girls, Global announced two new scripted series slated for mid-season: hospital drama Remedy and comedy Working the Engels. But alone among the major networks, they have no Canadian scripted or reality shows added to their fall schedule.

CanCon scripted and reality series for fall primetime:

  • Nothing (0 hours)
  • Yup, apparently really nothing (0 hours)
  • They do have Walk the Walk on Saturday nights — a documentary series about Canada’s Walk of Fame — but I’m not including anyone else’s documentary series (or Saturday nights as primetime) so this shouldn’t count. But I’m throwing them a bone.

Total: 0 hours. No I’m not generous enough to include Walk the Walk‘s 1 hour here.

For an at-a-glance chart of Canadian networks’ fall season, check out The TV Addict’s Definitive Fall 2013 Primetime TV Schedule (Canadian edition).

Photo by Cameron Archer


4 thoughts on “Examining the fall season of CanCon”

  1. So, Netflix could make some real waves if they come north and start buying shows. And the networks aren’t preparing for that at all (setting up their own Netflix-like services won’t change anything, producing shows will).

  2. It’s something I can’t wrap my head around – why Canadian broadcasters don’t see content creation as the core of their business, especially the way the business is changing.

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