Tag Archives: Canadian TV

What Netflix’s half a billion CAD investment in Canada is really about

From Corie Wright, Director, Global Public Policy of Netflix:

Last week, we received approval under the Investment Canada Act from the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Hon. Melanie Joly, to create Netflix Canada, a new home for Netflix original productions in Canada. It’s our first permanent production presence outside of the U.S. Netflix will use Netflix Canada to work directly with Canadian producers, creators, talent and crews to create more great content.

As part of this approval, Netflix committed to invest at least half a billion CAD in movies and television shows produced in Canada, both in English and in French, over the next five years. This means certainty that Netflix will continue to play a large role in the Canadian production community. We have invested in Canada because Canadians make great global stories. That says more about the quality and strength of Canadian content, talent, and crew than a commitment of any dollar amount.

We have more work to do when it comes to finding great stories from Quebec told in French. That is why on top of the half a billion CAD investment, we made a commitment to invest CAD $25 million dollars in market development activities over five years. Netflix will use that additional investment to host pitch days, recruitment events, and support local cultural events to ensure Netflix Canada reaches vibrant Canadian production communities, including the French-language community in Quebec.

Setting the record straight

Since the announcement we’ve seen lots of excitement, questions, and even some conspiracy theories about our investment. We’d like to set the record straight:

  • The recent price increase has nothing to do with our investment or commitments. That price increase was planned a long time ago.
  • We have not made any deals about taxes. Our investment was approved under the Investment Canada Act. No tax deals were part of the approval to launch our new Canadian presence.
  • Netflix follows tax laws everywhere we operate. Under Canadian law, foreign online services like Netflix aren’t required to collect and remit sales tax.

Netflix is an online service, not a broadcaster

Some say Netflix got special treatment because the government didn’t force us to meet special content quotas as part of our investment – that’s wrong. Netflix is an online service, not a broadcaster. No online media service — foreign or domestic — is subject to traditional broadcast media regulations like quotas or content levies; they’re also not eligible for the regulatory benefits that traditional media enjoy. The CRTC decided in 1999 (before Netflix even had a streaming service) that these regulations would not apply to internet-based media. We think that’s the right approach. Internet-native, on-demand services like Netflix are consumer-driven and operate on the open internet. We don’t use public property like broadcast spectrum or rights of way and we don’t receive the regulatory protections and benefits that broadcasters get (and, by the way, we’re not asking for them).

Canada’s exceptional, world-class stories and production community

People choose what they want to watch on our service so we have to invest in the best content from around the world. We didn’t invest in ANNE, Frontier, Travelers or Alias Grace to fill a quota, we invested because they are great global stories. We will continue to invest in great Canadian content, and in other productions made in Canada like Hemlock Grove, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Okja, that are not Canadian content but that make use of, and showcase to the world, Canada’s outstanding talent, facilities, resources and locations.

What’s next

We understand that people are curious and eager for immediate details about what comes next. But remember: our commitment marks a long term investment in Canada — not just a next week, next month, or next year investment. That means that now that we’ve been given the green light to establish a local production presence, we have some planning and hard work to do before we can make any additional official announcements.

There is more to come. Stay tuned….

– Corie Wright, Director, Global Public Policy




Your favourite Canadian TV series of all time

Back in April, we asked you to help celebrate Canada’s 150th year as a country. The question: what are your favourite Canadian television series of all time? Thanks to everyone who took the time to send their list of faves and the memories they have of those programs as well.

Here’s a sample of some of the feedback we got. Feel free to add your own thoughts and favourites in the comments section below.

Seeing Things, Traders and Cold Case. —Christian

1. Slings and Arrows
2. Corner Gas
3. Rookie Blue
That was my Top 3, but I also liked a lot: Due South, The Collector, Rent-A-Goalie, Almost Heroes, Seed, Being Erica, MVP, Wild Roses, Cra$h & Burn, The Guard, Flashpoint, ReGenesis, Lost Girl, Sanctuary, Continuum and Dark Matter. —Roger

1. Da Vinci’s Inquest
2. The Red Green Show
3. Due South
4. Corner Gas
5. Pure

Nicholas Campbell starred in ‘Da Vinci’s Inquest’

I have listed my favourite Canadian TV shows through the years. I believe the are all Canadian. If not, please let me know. Some go way back. Some are current.
The Friendly Giant
Uncle Bobby
What’s for Dinner
Rookie Blue
Red Green Show
Murdoch Mysteries
This Hour has 22 Minutes
Rick Mercer Report

Quentin Durgens, MP and SCTV. —Steve

The Beachcombers
The Littlest Hobo
Seeing Things
Da Vinci’s Inquest


There was a time when CBC had Kids in the Hall, Codco and Street Legal all on one night. That was a great night for Canadian TV. Two innovative and edgy comedies from different parts of Canada followed by a great slick sexy drama that got into some issues. (I did work on Kids as a graphic artist, but I’m speaking here as a viewer.) —Gary

Wynonna Earp: there are not enough superlatives to describe how much I love this show.
Lost Girl: my true introduction to how Canadians do genre TV and how special the Canadian are who make it.
(On behalf of my nephew, a pint-size shout out to his faves: Wild Kratts and Paw Patrol.) —Laura

The Red Green Show

Nice list. Here are a few of mine, mostly oldies.
The Trouble With Tracy
Red Green/Comedy Mill/Smith and Smith (basically any S&S production)
Party Game
You Can’t Do That On Television
The Dini Petty Show
The Pig and Whistle
Canadian Bandstand
The Elephant Show
A Gift to Last (Gordon Pinsent mini-series)
Definition/Beat The Clock (game shows count, right?)
Which reminds me of Front Page Challenge, and that other one that pitted two teams of high school students against each other. The name escapes me. I could go on but I’ll stop here. Oh! I just have to add Saturday Night at the Movies with Elwy Yost. Really miss him. —Chris

I have many shows that I like and out of all of them, I’ll highlight two that I regard as ground-breaking. After years of American programs with courtroom settings: Street Legal was the first to show how the Canadian system worked. Within the personal lives of the characters, it dealt with issues of feminism, mixed-race relationships, and schizophrenia, just to name a few. For a more recent show, it has to be X Company. I can’t name a series that had me living from one week to the next with such anticipation. We learned something about our history that had been mostly ignored. In this age of social media, we were able to connect with other viewers from around the world as well as the actors and creative minds involved. —Mel

Billable Hours

My Top 3 are Slings and Arrows, SCTV and the 80s era Anne of Green Gables. More recent … I still miss the weirdness of Call Me Fitz and want to know what happened to Jimmy Reardon on Intelligence. —Diane

2. Kids in the Hall
3. Trailer Park Boys
4. Corner Gas
5. Kenny vs. Spenny
6. Wok With Yan!
7. Letterkenny
8. Schitt’s Creek

I’m not going to rank them but off the top of my head, I’ll say these are my favourite Canadian shows.
The Raccoons
Billable Hours (I still quote this show all the time, underappreciated and hilarious)
The Stargate TV shows (frequently campy as hell but still enjoyable)
Speaker’s Corner
You Can’t Do That On Television 


Link: Pride Month: 10 shows that prove Canadian TV does representation right

From Victoria Nelli of The TV Junkies:

Link: Pride Month: 10 shows that prove Canadian TV does representation right
The Canadian TV industry boasts shows that not only featured an LGBTQ character, but also provide them with a stellar platform to evoke change, make waves, and serve as a beacon of hope, and for that, we are extremely grateful! Continue reading.


Link: Why aren’t we all fuming over the CRTC cuts? Because we don’t see ourselves reflected in TV and film

From Amanda Parris of CBC Arts:

Link: Why aren’t we all fuming over the CRTC cuts? Because we don’t see ourselves reflected in TV and film
The CRTC was renewing the five year licenses for the big three private broadcasters in Canada who deliver much of the television we all watch: Bell, Corus and Rogers. In the renewal, the CRTC announced that they would be decreasing the minimum financial contributions these broadcasters are required to allocate to Canadian content from 9-10 per cent to just 5 per cent. The Canadian content that is supported through these contributions (a.k.a Programs of National Interest, or PNI’s) includes drama, scripted series, documentaries and Canadian award shows.  Continue reading. 


Bell Media Studios announces 2017/18 original productions

From a media release:

In advance of the #CTVUpfront, Bell Media’s newly minted independent and in-house production arm Bell Media Studios confirmed today its slate of new and returning, English-language, original entertainment programming. With 19 new original programs to be produced in partnership with independent production companies or autonomously, Bell Media will introduce more new original series for the upcoming broadcast year than any year in recent memory. The company plans to spend nearly $900M overall on original French and English production in 2017/18.

More Canadians make Bell Media original programs their choice for homegrown viewing than any other media company. As Canada’s most-watched network in primetime for 16 years in a row, CTV is home to:

  • the country’s most-watched new Canadian program this year and a Top 10 new series among total viewers, CARDINAL;
  • the Top 2 Canadian series among key viewing demos, THE AMAZING RACE CANADA and MASTERCHEF CANADA, with THE AMAZING RACE CANADA reigning as the most-watched Canadian series overall for the fourth year in a row;
  • MASTERCHEF CANADA, climbing in its 4th season to become a Top 10 series in Canada, and growing 13% in the A18-34 demo;
  • the top Canadian programs in daytime, Bell Media Studio’s THE SOCIAL and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW;
  • and the most-viewed Canadian entertainment news program, ETALK.

Making Bell Media the home of the most-watched scripted and unscripted Canadian series premieres for entertainment specialties this year, Discovery’s debut of HEAVY RESCUE: 401 in January was the #1 original Canadian series launch of the season on entertainment specialty, followed by Discovery’s debut of scripted series FRONTIER. Discovery is also home to the most-watched unscripted specialty series in Canada among A18-34 and A18-49, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER.

New Bell Media Original Series and Specials for 2017/18:


  • Starring Shanae Grimes-Beech as street smart Detective Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Cooper, Angela Griffin as Detective Stevie Hall, a sharp quick-witted interrogator who is Jack’s mentor, and Wendy Crewson as Staff Inspector Fiona Currie, the homicide unit’s formidable boss, THE DETAIL (CTV) centers on three fiercely talented female homicide investigators who work tirelessly to solve crimes while navigating the complicated demands of their personal lives (ICF Films/eOne; 10 x :60).
  • New six-part mystery series THE DISAPPEARANCE (CTV) follows the Sullivan family in the wake of a tragic event. As the fractured family bands together to solve the puzzle that has uprooted their lives, long-held secrets are uncovered. Starring Peter Coyote as retired judge and prosecutor Henry Sullivan; Aden Young as Luke Sullivan, Henry’s son, and a scruffy, soulful musician; Joanne Kelly as Catherine Sullivan, Henry’s daughter and Luke’s sister, and a funny, devoted palliative care nurse; Camille Sullivan as Helen Murphy Sullivan, Luke’s ex-wife, a microbiologist, and devoted mother; Micheline Lanctôt as Susan Bowden, a tough, experienced Lieutenant-Detective; and Kevin Parent as Sergeant-Detective Charles Cooper, and Susan’s partner (Productions Casablanca/NBCUniversal International Studios; 6 x :60).


  • Equal doses fish-out-of-water comedy and high-stakes drama, THE INDIAN DETECTIVE (CTV) stars comic Russell Peters as a suspended Toronto police officer drawn into solving a murder case in India (Big Light Productions/Blue Ice Pictures/Wonder Films; 4 x :60).
  • Life in Dog River is about to get a lot more animated! Re-imagined by CORNER GAS creator and star Brent Butt and slated to premiere in 2018, the all-new CORNER GAS ANIMATED (Comedy) series delivers its revered brand of comedy, but this time in an animated Dog River where anything is possible (Prairie Pantoons/Moving Mountoons; 13 x :30).


  • Reinventing the music genre, new original series and format THE LAUNCH (CTV) delivers an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a series of hit songs as a group of unsigned musicians are mentored in the process by a panel of international hit makers. The series showcases a mix of vibrant voices and mic-drop moments during the creation of the next chart-topping song. Featuring world-renowned record executive Scott Borchetta, Bell Media confirmed today that international recording artists Fergie and Ryan Tedder will join the series as mentors (Bell Media Studios/Big Machine Label Group/Eureka/ Insight Productions; 6 x :60).


  • LAST STOP GARAGE (Discovery) follows the often hilarious antics of CRB Automotive, the sole auto repair shop at the end of the only road left before hitting the most remote North American wilderness (Proper Television, 12 x :30) .
  • ROCKY MOUNTAIN RAILROAD (Discovery) takes viewers on an action-packed journey to discover an extraordinary Canadian way of life, meeting anyone from off-gridders whose sole source of resupply is the rail, to the hardy crews who do whatever it takes to keep these extreme railroads running (Cineflix Productions, 8 x :60).
  • Character-driven docuseries HELLFIRE HEROES (Discovery) gets up-close-and-personal with firefighters who’ll do just about anything to keep their community safe in the bullseye of forest fire danger zone, the remote Slave Lake, Alta. (Pixcom, 10 x :60).


  • Coming this fall to CTV is the new Tragically Hip documentary, about Canada’s beloved band, their challenging year, and their momentous cross-Canada Man Machine Poem tour. This highly anticipated CTV Feature Presentation chronicles the emotional and epic lead up to the iconic group’s now-legendary 2016 tour that captured the heart of the nation (Banger Films).
  • As its final act, Cassini – the largest interplanetary spacecraft NASA has ever built – will dive into Saturn’s atmosphere, collecting unprecedented science to end its 13-year mission at the ringed jewel of the solar system. SATURN: INSIDE THE RINGS (Discovery) unveils the engineering of the mammoth spacecraft, and shines a light on the team that has made incredible discoveries at Saturn during the one-hour special (Exploration Production Inc. (EPI)).
  • The world’s most infamous prison was also its most inescapable. But why? Many have tried to solve this mystery, but none have searched beneath the waves, until now. DRAIN ALCATRAZ (Discovery) uses cutting-edge CGI and sophisticated technology to “drain” the seas and scrub the sediments, revealing once and for all why Alcatraz was so difficult to escape (Northern Sky Entertainment).


  • Not the typical design series, SHEMAR MOORE’S HOME INVASION(CTV/Bravo) is a passion project for the star who loves to give back to those who have supported him. Each week, a lucky fan will be selected from Moore’s fan base to meet and spend time with their idol, and be surprised with a very special room make-over for a powerful, positive impact on their life. With his signature fun, flirty vibe, Moore works with his hand-picked team of designers and contractors to create a new environment to reflect not only the fan’s current style, but also help bring out new possibilities for them (Bell Media Studios/Insight Productions).
  • In MINOR RENOVATIONS (Bravo), two young designers lead a team of contractors and trades to makeover one space in their clients’ home. The twist is the home owners have no idea that the designers are all tweens with an eye for design. Renovations include a master bedroom, backyard, and media room. (MGM Television/Highway Entertainment; 5 x :30).
  • Original concept, retro-themed baking series FLOUR POWER (Gusto) helmed by newcomer Jessica McGovern, is a fun, playful, and super-stylish baking show that is all about sharing the love and joy of baking. From sweet cream pies to tiramisu, McGovern shows viewers just how easy it is to make these recipes at home (Gusto Worldwide Media; 13 x :30).
  • FRESH MARKET DINNERS (Gusto) takes viewers on a fun road-trip to farmer’s markets across Ontario to discover local food products, before heading to a fabulous “glamping” site, where the audience is shown how to make irresistible, using the fresh ingredients (Gusto Worldwide Media; 10 x :30).
  • Mouthwatering barbecue cookout series WATTS ON THE GRILL (Gusto) celebrates all things grilled. Beloved Gusto host Spencer Watts (FISH THE DISH) shows viewers how to barbecue like a pro, from sizzling steak, smoked chicken, and steamy seafood, to even flavourful fruit, veg, and breads (Gusto Worldwide Media; 13 x :30).


  • Spectacular live events THE INVICTUS GAMES 2017 OPENING CEREMONY (CTV) and THE INVICTUS GAMES 2017 CLOSING CEREMONY (CTV) feature Canadian music superstars in celebration of Prince Harry’s movement to commemorate and honour ill, wounded, and injured soldiers.

Returning Bell Media Original Series Confirmed To Date for 2017/18:


  • The fourth and final season of multiple award-winning, Montréal-based cop drama 19-2 (CTV/Bravo) (Sphère Media Plus/Echo Media).
  • Based on best-selling crime novel Blackfly Season, Season 2 of critically acclaimed murder-mystery CARDINAL (CTV) is back with stars Billy Campbell and Karine Vanasse (eOne/Sienna Films).
  • Season 2 of international dramatic series FRONTIER (Discovery), starring Jason Momoa (Take the Shot Productions/ASAP Entertainment).
  • Space’s most-watched original series of all time, the sci-fi adventure series KILLJOYS (Space) returns for a third season (Temple Street).
  • Season 2 of supernatural, demon-hunting sensation WYNONNA EARP (Space) (SEVEN24 Films).
  • Final season of highly acclaimed ORPHAN BLACK (Space) (Temple Street).

Bell Media also welcomes Canadian series DARK MATTER for a third season to the 2017/18 slate (Space) (Prodigy Pictures).


  • Half-hour satirical news sensation THE BEAVERTON (Comedy) has been greenlit for a second season (Pier 21 Films).
  • Featuring the hottest names in comedy this fall is Season 5 of JFL: ALL ACCESS (Comedy). A sixth season of the original stand-up series goes into production this summer at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montréal (Just For Laughs Television).
  • Cult hit LETTERKENNY (CraveTV) returns for a third season (New Metric Media/DHX Media).


  • Internationally recognized winner of the Canadian Screen Award for Best News or Information Series, DAILY PLANET (Discovery) returns for Season 23 (EPI).
  • Entertaining and educational hit series, HIGHWAY THRU HELL (Discovery) returns for Season 6 (Great Pacific Media).
  • Season 4 of MIGHTY PLANES (Discovery) (EPI).
  • Long-time international favourite, HOW IT’S MADE (Discovery) returns for Season 30 (Productions Maj).
  • Investigating the stories and science behind recent major crashes is MAYDAY (Discovery) Season 17 and Season 18 (Cineflix Productions).
  • Discovery’s most-watched original series among key adult demos, CANADA’S WORST DRIVER (Discovery) enters its 13th season (Proper Television).
  • Season 2 of TOUGHER THAN IT LOOKS (Discovery) starring CANADA’S WORST DRIVER’s Andrew Younghusband (Proper Television).
  • Season 2 of this year’s most-watched Canadian program debut, HEAVY RESCUE: 401 (Discovery) (Great Pacific Media).
  • Following the adventures of the jade-mining Bunce Family in northern B.C. is Season 4 of JADE FEVER (Discovery) (Omnifilm Entertainment).


  • Season 3 of original Canadian series and marquee production ONE WORLD KITCHEN (Gusto) (Gusto Worldwide Media).

Music Specials

  • WE DAY 2017 (CTV/MTV)

Original Bell Media Studios Productions for 2017/18


  • This fall, Bell Media Studios presents SIDES*, the first-ever Canadian social-media-first series. Created for youth by youth, as a place to explore all sides of topics and ideas that teens deem important, the weekly live talk show will have its premiere exclusively on social media, keeping the feed fresh all week long with a mix of produced and user-generated content across all social media channels. Positioned to be everywhere the SIDES* audience is – including TV – the best of the week will then be curated into a one-hour television broadcast called SIDES*XL (Much), mixing the unfiltered discussion from SIDES* with audience reactions and rants from social media. SIDES* passes the mic to the next generation, and lets them lead the conversation.

Daytime & Entertainment News

Producing some of Canada’s most-watched daily programs in-house, Bell Media Studios continues to offer a robust and unrivaled lineup of flagship programs, including:

  • Kicking off CTV’s leading original daytime lineup, YOUR MORNING (CTV).
  • The country’s #1 and #2 Canadian daytime series, THE SOCIAL (CTV) and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW (CTV).
  • Canada’s most-watched entertainment news program, ETALK (CTV).
  • Genre entertainment series, INNERSPACE (Space) and its series of after-shows.