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TV, Eh? Industry Update: PDM Entertainment, Geminis, DVDs, and hockey

A small addendum to Monday’s piece: CURV TV and TREK TV’s licences have not been amended, due to the channels not yet launching.

PDM Entertainment launches

Canadian producers Phyllis Platt, Brian Dennis and Peter Moss recently formed PDM Entertainment, a Toronto-based television production company. Projects in development for PDM Entertainment include TV-movie adaptations of Louise Penny’s Three Pines crime novels, and a six-part miniseries based on Terry Fallis’ political satire, The Best Laid Plans.

Phyllis Platt was CBC Television’s English-language executive director of arts & entertainment from 1993 to 2000, and from 2010-11 on an interim basis. Brian Dennis is a producer for such shows as Ghostly Encounters, The Border and The Associates. Peter Moss is best known as the director/executive producer of CBC’s Booky TV-movies, and CBC’s 2007 miniseries adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s St. Urbain’s Horseman.

Gemini Awards: the more things change…

So, the Gemini Awards once again aim for legitimacy, like they do every year. The big stories are the new Best International Drama category – that’s the one for co-productions – and the 20% reduction in the number of awards.

Some fun stats: The Gemini Awards contained 83 categories in 2007, 96 categories in 2008, 99 categories in 2009, 107 categories in 2010, and 114(!) categories in 2011. For 2012, there are 92 regular categories, plus 10 “Special Awards.” Somehow, reducing the number of categories is a big deal, even though there were fewer categories five years ago.

Here’s the .pdf of all Gemini category changes. Some highlights:

  • Best General/Human Interest Series no longer exists.
  • Three categories are subsumed into Best History, Science, Nature or Biography Documentary Program or Series.
  • Two categories are subsumed into Best Sports Host or Analyst in a Sports Program or Sportscast.
  • Best Sportscaster/Anchor, Best Sports Reporting, and Best Sportscast (National or Local) no longer exist.
  • Best Local Newscast no longer differentiates between large and small markets.
  • Best News Special Event Coverage no longer exists.
  • Best Writing in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series is the other brand-new category.
  • Best Achievement in Main Title Design has been removed.
  • Three categories, including Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series, have been subsumed into Best Performance in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program or Series (Individual or Ensemble.)
  • Best Performance in a Guest Role, Dramatic Series is now unisex.

To recap, the Gemini Awards aren’t doing anything new. The backstage players change, yet the goofiness and busily-named awards categories keep on coming.

Canadian TV-on-DVD news

Rookie Blue‘s second-season DVD and Blu-ray sets will now be released on May 29, 2012.

My Babysitter’s a Vampire, which airs on Teletoon in Canada, and Disney Channel in the United States, earns a first-season DVD set through Warner Home Video. The set contains the pilot telefilm and the first thirteen episodes, and comes out May 22, 2012.

It’s NHL trade deadline time again!

The NHL trade deadline – this year, February 27 – is serious business among hockey fans, as Sportsnet, The Score, and TSN ready themselves for hours of who-goes-where talk.

Puck the Media, a New Jersey blog, compares TSN and Sportsnet’s breathless press releases. The word “trade” is oft-mentioned. TSN even calls its NHL trade deadline coverage TradeCentre, while Sportsnet makes do with HOCKEY CENTRAL Trade Deadline.

The Score just calls its coverage Deadline Day, and it doesn’t get off its butt until four hours after TSN and Sportsnet. Clearly, those lollygaggers at The Score don’t understand how important the NHL trade deadline is. I wonder if The Score can be traded for Rick Nash.

Noreen Halpern leaves Entertainment One Television

Noreen Halpern, Entertainment One Television’s president of dramatic programming, will leave Entertainment One, after more than three years with the company. Halpern mounted such Canadian shows and co-productions as Rookie Blue, Haven, Call Me Fitz, Almost Heroes, and The Firm.

Halpern was initially a creative executive with Alliance Entertainment. She survived the Alliance Entertainment/Atlantis Films merger, as it became Alliance Atlantis. In 2002, Halpern and John Morayniss left Alliance Atlantis to establish Blueprint Entertainment, which was subsumed into Entertainment One in 2008. Blueprint Entertainment was best known for Testees, The Best Years, Whistler, Exes & Ohs, and Love You to Death.

Halpern’s exit comes ten days after Entertainment One withdrew plans to sell itself. Halpern’s post is now partially split, as Margaret O’Brien is the first president of Entertainment One’s Canadian television division.

Random CRTC news

AUX can now air both human interest shows, and reality television, while Bite can now air game shows, human interest shows, and reality television. Both AUX and Bite are owned by GlassBOX Television.

In addition, AUX and Bite “move” from Category 2 to Category B services…which is odd, as Category B is a renamed Category 2, but whatever. CRTC parlance, you know?

Pelmorex’s The Weather Network/Météomédia wants to branch into regional feeds – one in British Columbia, one in Alberta, and one in Atlantic Canada. Each regional feed will override the national feed, at least on cable.

Odds and sods

Toronto Star columnist Rob Salem hosted the February 22, 2012 edition of etalk, replacing Ben Mulroney temporarily. As part of this publicity stunt, Ben Mulroney will write an Oscar-centric article for The Toronto Star‘s February 24, 2012 edition.


TV, eh? talks on Canadian television in the Netflix era

From Seevibes:

  • An Expert View — Diane Wild: How will Canada survive the Netflix era?
    Our guest for this edition of “An expert view” is Diane Wild, editor of the site TV eh? – the best site for information about the Canadian television industry. Not affiliated with any television network, Diane Wild (@deekayw) gives an objective view of the evolution of television production in Canada, its relationship with social media and the major challenges facing it in the coming years. Read more.

TV, Eh? Industry Roundup: Teletoon, CRTC, Ben’s City, and more

Teletoon: The 90% Animation, 10% Anything Else Station

On February 17, 2012, the CRTC approved Teletoon’s request to draw from “all the program categories set out in item 6 of Schedule I to the Specialty Services Regulations, 1990, as amended from time to time.”

Schedule I, Item 6 is all-important. It lists the types of programming a channel can air. In essence, Teletoon can air anything, pursuant to its current 90% animation mandate.

Back in 2004, CBC, CHUM Limited, Global, TQS and SARTEC had a problem with Teletoon airing non-animated material. Nowadays, only the Canadian Media Production Association has a problem with Teletoon, and CMPA’s beef is with Teletoon’s not reciprocating an agreement. Inertia is a wonderful thing.

Continue reading TV, Eh? Industry Roundup: Teletoon, CRTC, Ben’s City, and more


TV, Eh? Industry Update: Canada AM, CRTC, Short Film Face Off, and more

Canada AM will not die…for now

On February 2, 2012, Medium Close Up blogger Howard Bernstein mentioned a rumour that CTV’s national news morning show, Canada AM, will be cancelled. The local CTV Morning Live format currently graces CTV stations in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. In addition, CTV Morning Live airs on CTV Two Ottawa, and CTV Two Atlantic in Halifax.

On February 14, 2012, CTV News Senior Communications Manager Emily Young Lee tells me that Canada AM will remain on CTV News Channel, as well as CTV stations in Ontario, Quebec, and “Eastern Canada.” According to Lee, there are currently no plans for cancellation.

A Vancouver edition of Canada AM was floated on January 28, 2008, and cancelled on June 6, 2008. Canada AM was still seen on western CTV stations, until CTV Morning Live‘s 2011 installation. Canada AM has been a CTV fixture since September 11, 1972.

Corus earns Harmony licence from CRTC

On February 14, 2012 (Valentine’s Day! cute), Corus Entertainment received CRTC approval to launch Harmony. The digital cable service is “devoted to romance, love and relationships,” so…yeah. A Corus channel aimed at women. Rare.

A rumour, floated by viewers.ca, is that either Hallmark Channel Canada or ABC Spark will launch under the Harmony licence. This isn’t uncommon in Canadian television – TV Land Canada was originally Retro Channel, while Nickelodeon Canada airs under the YTV OneWorld licence.

Continue reading TV, Eh? Industry Update: Canada AM, CRTC, Short Film Face Off, and more