Vancouver – Canadian stars today told Canada’s private broadcasters that it is time they invest in more Canadian TV drama. “New Realities, New Rules” is the theme of this year’s CAB convention. ACTRA spoke out during the annual Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) convention at the PAL Vancouver Performing Arts Lodge on Monday, November 6, 2006.
Among the Canadian stars taking part were Joy Coghill (Da Vinci’s Inquest, Stargate), Jackson Davies (X-Files, Beachcombers), Donnelly Rhodes (Da Vinci’s Inquest, Battlestar Galactica), Christine Willes (The Wicker Man, Dead Like Me) and UBCP President Howard Storey (Cold Squad, Mysterious Ways).
“We’re focusing on more reality television, when what we need is new rules to protect our Canadian cultural sovereignty and to get more home grown dramas on our televisions," said Gabrielle Miller (Corner Gas, Robson Arms), “The success of Corner Gas is a perfect example of Canadian television programming that audiences want to see. The support and commitment that this television series continues to receive has been critical and we need to build on this success by increased funding and scheduling support for more Canadian dramatic programming.”
This month the CRTC begins hearings as part of its review of the regulatory framework for Canadian television, which ACTRA has called for since 2000. The investigation is crucial as the 1999 Television Policy that caused the collapse of Canadian English-language drama must be fixed.
“We want to continue to see the development and growth of British Columbia’s TV and film industry,” said Howard Storey, President of UBCP. “Canadian TV drama is still disappearing while our private broadcasters are spending at an all-time high on American programming. Broadcasters are filling their prime-time slots with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of U.S.-made drama programs all at the expense of Canadian culture.”
ACTRA’s CRTC submission calls for regulations requiring Canada’s private broadcasters to spend at least 7% of their advertising revenues on new Canadian English-language drama programming and to schedule at least two hours more of Canadian dramas in real prime-time (Sunday to Thursday, 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.).