Saturday, December 09, 2006

And The Role Of Howard Beale Will Be Played By Bill Brioux...

Here's a thought-provoking article in the Toronto Sun about the current mess and questionable future of Canuck TV, via Diane at TV, Eh?. It's a excellent addendum to the topic threading along here the past couple days.

Brioux brings up the issue:

CanWest, CTV and CBC are boo-hooing that the good old days of English Canadian TV are over and the gravy train has jumped the rails. Costs are up and audiences and ad revenue are down. Broadcasters want more money and they think they know how to get it: They want in on the subscriber fee bonanza.

Then he points out a problem:

English broadcasters say they need extra revenue to produce more great Canadian programming. They should be laughed out of Gatineau. If you look at their track record, they will take every cent and spend it in the United States. CTV, the Yankees of TV, spend their way to a title every spring. They have more shelf space than IKEA.

According to one published report, Canadian broadcasters spent $401 million on U.S. shows and $86 million on Canadian, a 5-to-1 ratio. Any wonder, then, that 19 of the Top-20-rated shows in English Canada are American? That's the real crisis, not the broadcasters' bottom line.

Then he offers up a way to solve the problem:

There is a solution. It is bold, obvious and ridiculously simple. Listen up:

- Restrict Canadian broadcasters to just 10 prime-time hours of imported programming a week.

CTV, say, could keep all three CSIs, American Idol, Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds, Amazing Race, Grey's Anatomy, ER and, okay, Ghost Whisperer. Global hangs on to House, Survivor, Deal Or No Deal, 24, Prison Break, Heroes, Simpsons/Family Guy, Shark, Numb3rs and Gilmore Girls.

CHUM keeps everything, including Ugly Betty, and picks up the Law & Order franchise and a few other goodies that new corporate daddy CTV can no longer schedule. Ditto Global Jr., CH, and its Two And A Half Men, NCIS keepers.

That leaves 12 hours for indigenous, made-in-Canada programming. I'd even settle for 11 hours of imported, 11 hours of Canadian per network in prime time -- 50/50.

You wouldn't need a drama quota, as the creative community is demanding -- English-language broadcasters would be forced to boost their Can-con to complete their schedules. You wouldn't need to pay more for your cable bill, or buy a grey-market satellite dish, or switch back to an antenna.

Call it the Cap, the import rule, the CFL solution.

Interesting. Does this make sense to people? Any merit to this solution?

I don't really have any arguments other than to wonder how something like this could get implimented when the industry up here seems to have a review or a hearing every year or so and then about a year later a report gets published and recommendations made...but by then the industry has changed so much that another review or hearing has to be called again to try to catch up.



Good Dog said...

Oh, you guys should have poached Michael Grade before ITV got their hands on him.

Caroline said...

I don't think we could afford him.