Heading down the 407 today to talk to my buddies Mark Hebscher and Donna Skelly at CHCH’s Live @ 5:30 about this whole Hockey Night in Canada theme song hullabaloo. Seems odd that the CBC would stoop to nickel and diming the composer of this tune when HNiC is by far their biggest moneymaker. Sure, tunesmith Dolores Claman gets a tidy $500 every time the show opens and the orchestral anthem is played. At 50 games that’s about $25 grand a year. Not a bad little dividend.
Big whup. The song, as Chris Zelkovich points out on the front page of today’s Toronto Star, is recognized nation-wide as Canada’s second national anthem. It has opened the show, albeit with different arrangements, every year since 1968. Why screw around with that? Hum along here:

Other shows, such as Saturday Night Live and Coronation Street, have gone decades with the same music. Monday Night Football’s distinctive “Heavy Action” theme (“ba-ba-ba-Baaa…”) has been summoning men in front of their sets since 1971.
There is more at stake, of course. Claman is suing the CBC for $2.5 million to get her share of revenues from the jingle being sold for cell phone ringtones and other ancillary rights. The writer’s Guild should have had Claman’s lawyer, although this thing has dragged on for four years.
Still, CBC should know the cost of doing business in TV today. Using The Simpsons as an example again, the five principle voice cast members just settled for a staggering amount of money to stay with that series for a 20th season–$500,000 per episode. At 20 shows, that’s a cool $10 million a season. Ay carumba! These guys don’t even have to shave or wash their hair.
CBC could settle this right now for what it costs to voice The Simpsons for one episode. As Homer would say, ‘D-oh!”
The parties have apparently set 5 p.m. today as the deadline for coming to terms. There is speculation that Claman could shop the song to TSN if CBC passes. At this week’s CTV upfront, CEO Ivan Fecan joked that TSN’s hockey ratings were doing so well, Wednesday nights would be know as their very own “night for hockey in Canada.” You can bet that he’d snap up Claman’s tune–it is a bargain compared with what the rights to Hockey Night in Canada would have cost.


  1. The CBC violated the contractual terms and conditions of their arrangement with the composer of the HNIC song – that intellectual property does not belong to the CBC, and $500 per broadcast is a sweet deal for HNIC when you consider that they pay second-rate technicians more than that for a broadcast of HNIC.

    The CBC misappropriated and carelessly abused the use of the HNIC theme song and now they must pay the lawful owner and composer of that music.

    HNIC producer Scott Moore thinks that he can run a contest to come up with a similar theme song which will then be owned by HNIC – I’ve never heard of such insanity. Is everyone at the CBC an amateur?
    Isn’t $1.5 billion per year enough for that lazy bureaucracy? The NHL were fools to renew the CBC’s broadcast deal. I sincerely hope that the owner of the HNIC theme song GIVES it to TSN just to piss off the CBC.

    This entire situation could have been avoided if the CBC honored their arrangement with the songs composer and paid her what it’s worth in a renewed contract. Instead, millions of tax dollars will be spent on legal fees defending the CBC’s ineptitude and negligence. Absolute amateurs.

  2. The state funded stupidity never ends at that horrid institution of inbred communists.

  3. but if the cbc had ponied up the dough wouldnn’t they have been roasted as spending tax payer money frivously?

    what would have been the good outcome here?

  4. the CBC will eventually have to “pony up the dough”
    because they are still being sued by the HNIC themes composer Dolores Claman, to the tune of $2.5 million…

    the Statement of Claim (which can be found on-line through hockeytheme.com) argues, among other things, that the CBC misappropriated an intellectual property to the benefit of CBC advertisers – the CBC was essentially giving permission to third parties to use the hockey theme as a ring tone as long as they purchased a certain amount of air time on the CBC

    as a result,the CBC has lost the rights to the most iconic song in Canada’s history and the branding to the only production worth watching on the CBC, and (here’s the best part) the CBC is still facing a financial liability of over $2.5 million plus legal costs….

    this is the feel-good story of the year…

  5. and ctv comes across as petty enough to embarrass the cbc by purchasing the song for what it would have cost them in license fees to do another one hour canadian drama.

  6. now you know why “Dolly” will never be in charge of anything….

    produce an hour of Canadian drama instead of purchasing the rights to the most beloved and iconic song in this countries history?

    and what would that Canadian drama be about “Dolly”? an underfunded shelter for women? a Tommy Douglas musical? Rita McNeil, the movie?

    CTV made a brilliant move purchasing the rights to Dolores Claman’s Hockey Theme – and the CBC looks, well, like amateurs….

Write A Comment