Feb 18, 2020
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Front Page, Industry News

Why CBC desperately needs a hit TV show

It is something of a cruel joke that the most hyped new show slated to premiere on CBC Television is a sitcom called Schitt’s Creek.

The 13-part series sees a wounded and increasingly risk-averse CBC doubling down on the past. It stars SCTV alumni Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara as members of a once wealthy family that’s broke and faced with a humiliating exercise in downsizing.

The symbolism is rich: like the Rose family in the sitcom, CBC seems to be up the proverbial creek as it adjusts to a brutal fiscal reality following the loss of Hockey Night in Canada revenue and a $115 million budget cut.
The public broadcaster, which will release its fall network schedule May 29, has a sizeable programming hole to fill.

The cupboard has become increasingly bare, and Heather Conway, the CBC’s new head of English services, is under the gun to deliver fresh content.

The current lineup, after all, has become something of an embarrassment. Reruns of Dragons’ Den and Murdoch Mysteries dominate. Cheaply made reality shows such as Four Rooms take prominence on the primetime schedule, buffered with imported filler such as Coronation Street.

The CBC would argue that Canadians are getting bang for the buck. In 2013, the public broadcaster spent $1.1 billion on its TV operations, more than four times as much as the $273 million it spends on radio. But a study of 18 democracies showed the CBC was third from the bottom in per capita funding. Only New Zealand and the United States paid less for public broadcasting.

The CBC also has to provide services in English, French and eight aboriginal languages, in six different time zones. The BBC, by contrast, has six times the budget and airs in just one language and time zone.

The network is bound by the Broadcasting Act , which requires it to “reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions.”

It’s a noble mission. But that diversity means it ends up trying to spread the wealth with shows such as Heartland in Alberta, Republic of Doyle in Newfoundland and Arctic Air (since cancelled) in the Northwest Territories.

It’s a tough balancing act for any programmer and it doesn’t always make for great television.

As CBC president Hubert Lacroix acknowledges: “If you have to watch Big Bang Theory against Arctic Air , what will you watch? The production value of CBS against the production value of the CBC show? That’s the challenge we have.”

The inability to produce acclaimed programming that viewers want to watch is not unique to the CBC: in this golden age of television, all Canadian broadcasters have failed to consistently create offerings that resonate internationally.

Things are changing, but so far no one, including private sector players such as Shaw, Rogers and Bell Media, has found the magic to produce the next Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey.

For the CBC in particular, original, scripted series are a major weakness: Its most watched show, the solid but long in the tooth Murdoch Mysteries , started life at CityTV before moving to the CBC in its sixth season.

And the problem becomes more acute over time. After the contract for hockey broadcasting expires in four years, Conway and her team will have more than 300 hours to fill. But with what?

The hard work begins now. But before the CBC begins to assess the future, it has to look at the present. So the Star binge-watched every CBC-produced program on the current schedule (excluding news and sports) that will be returning in the fall, to give readers a sense of where their dollars are going. What’s worth keeping, what’s worth tossing and — more importantly — is this money well spent?

Source: Toronto Star

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Front Page, Industry News

Why CBC desperately needs a hit TV show

It is something of a cruel joke that the most hyped new show slated to premiere on CBC Television is a sitcom called Schitt’s Creek.

The 13-part series sees a wounded and increasingly risk-averse CBC doubling down on the past. It stars SCTV alumni Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara as members of a once wealthy family that’s broke and faced with a humiliating exercise in downsizing.

The symbolism is rich: like the Rose family in the sitcom, CBC seems to be up the proverbial creek as it adjusts to a brutal fiscal reality following the loss of Hockey Night in Canada revenue and a $115 million budget cut.
The public broadcaster, which will release its fall network schedule May 29, has a sizeable programming hole to fill.

The cupboard has become increasingly bare, and Heather Conway, the CBC’s new head of English services, is under the gun to deliver fresh content.

The current lineup, after all, has become something of an embarrassment. Reruns of Dragons’ Den and Murdoch Mysteries dominate. Cheaply made reality shows such as Four Rooms take prominence on the primetime schedule, buffered with imported filler such as Coronation Street.

The CBC would argue that Canadians are getting bang for the buck. In 2013, the public broadcaster spent $1.1 billion on its TV operations, more than four times as much as the $273 million it spends on radio. But a study of 18 democracies showed the CBC was third from the bottom in per capita funding. Only New Zealand and the United States paid less for public broadcasting.

The CBC also has to provide services in English, French and eight aboriginal languages, in six different time zones. The BBC, by contrast, has six times the budget and airs in just one language and time zone.

The network is bound by the Broadcasting Act , which requires it to “reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions.”

It’s a noble mission. But that diversity means it ends up trying to spread the wealth with shows such as Heartland in Alberta, Republic of Doyle in Newfoundland and Arctic Air (since cancelled) in the Northwest Territories.

It’s a tough balancing act for any programmer and it doesn’t always make for great television.

As CBC president Hubert Lacroix acknowledges: “If you have to watch Big Bang Theory against Arctic Air , what will you watch? The production value of CBS against the production value of the CBC show? That’s the challenge we have.”

The inability to produce acclaimed programming that viewers want to watch is not unique to the CBC: in this golden age of television, all Canadian broadcasters have failed to consistently create offerings that resonate internationally.

Things are changing, but so far no one, including private sector players such as Shaw, Rogers and Bell Media, has found the magic to produce the next Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey.

For the CBC in particular, original, scripted series are a major weakness: Its most watched show, the solid but long in the tooth Murdoch Mysteries , started life at CityTV before moving to the CBC in its sixth season.

And the problem becomes more acute over time. After the contract for hockey broadcasting expires in four years, Conway and her team will have more than 300 hours to fill. But with what?

The hard work begins now. But before the CBC begins to assess the future, it has to look at the present. So the Star binge-watched every CBC-produced program on the current schedule (excluding news and sports) that will be returning in the fall, to give readers a sense of where their dollars are going. What’s worth keeping, what’s worth tossing and — more importantly — is this money well spent?

Source: Toronto Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Front Page, Industry News

Why CBC desperately needs a hit TV show

It is something of a cruel joke that the most hyped new show slated to premiere on CBC Television is a sitcom called Schitt’s Creek.

The 13-part series sees a wounded and increasingly risk-averse CBC doubling down on the past. It stars SCTV alumni Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara as members of a once wealthy family that’s broke and faced with a humiliating exercise in downsizing.

The symbolism is rich: like the Rose family in the sitcom, CBC seems to be up the proverbial creek as it adjusts to a brutal fiscal reality following the loss of Hockey Night in Canada revenue and a $115 million budget cut.
The public broadcaster, which will release its fall network schedule May 29, has a sizeable programming hole to fill.

The cupboard has become increasingly bare, and Heather Conway, the CBC’s new head of English services, is under the gun to deliver fresh content.

The current lineup, after all, has become something of an embarrassment. Reruns of Dragons’ Den and Murdoch Mysteries dominate. Cheaply made reality shows such as Four Rooms take prominence on the primetime schedule, buffered with imported filler such as Coronation Street.

The CBC would argue that Canadians are getting bang for the buck. In 2013, the public broadcaster spent $1.1 billion on its TV operations, more than four times as much as the $273 million it spends on radio. But a study of 18 democracies showed the CBC was third from the bottom in per capita funding. Only New Zealand and the United States paid less for public broadcasting.

The CBC also has to provide services in English, French and eight aboriginal languages, in six different time zones. The BBC, by contrast, has six times the budget and airs in just one language and time zone.

The network is bound by the Broadcasting Act , which requires it to “reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions.”

It’s a noble mission. But that diversity means it ends up trying to spread the wealth with shows such as Heartland in Alberta, Republic of Doyle in Newfoundland and Arctic Air (since cancelled) in the Northwest Territories.

It’s a tough balancing act for any programmer and it doesn’t always make for great television.

As CBC president Hubert Lacroix acknowledges: “If you have to watch Big Bang Theory against Arctic Air , what will you watch? The production value of CBS against the production value of the CBC show? That’s the challenge we have.”

The inability to produce acclaimed programming that viewers want to watch is not unique to the CBC: in this golden age of television, all Canadian broadcasters have failed to consistently create offerings that resonate internationally.

Things are changing, but so far no one, including private sector players such as Shaw, Rogers and Bell Media, has found the magic to produce the next Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey.

For the CBC in particular, original, scripted series are a major weakness: Its most watched show, the solid but long in the tooth Murdoch Mysteries , started life at CityTV before moving to the CBC in its sixth season.

And the problem becomes more acute over time. After the contract for hockey broadcasting expires in four years, Conway and her team will have more than 300 hours to fill. But with what?

The hard work begins now. But before the CBC begins to assess the future, it has to look at the present. So the Star binge-watched every CBC-produced program on the current schedule (excluding news and sports) that will be returning in the fall, to give readers a sense of where their dollars are going. What’s worth keeping, what’s worth tossing and — more importantly — is this money well spent?

Source: Toronto Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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