Maher, HBO Come To Canada –

A day after HBO cleaned up at the 60th Annual Emmy Awards, we learn that HBO is finally coming to Canada.
Astral and Corus announced today that HBO Canada–a joint, wholly-owned venture between the two Canadian broadcasters–will launch Oct. 30. The new service will be offered at no additional charge to customers who already subscribe to Astral’s The Movie Network in the east and Corus’ Movie Central in the west. In other words, the cable deathstar these two services always feared is in because they now own it. If you can’t beat ’em, own ’em.
The good news for Canadians is that we will finally get to watch Real Time With Bill Maher without resorting to an illegal satellite dish or some end-around Internet streaming (too bad this gift of wit and satire comes just days before the U.S. election). Other HBO goodies held off our screens until now include Def Comedy Jam and Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger; both will appear in simulcast with the U.S. service on HBO Canada.
And that’s about it; everything else you pretty much wanted to see–including big Grammy winners John Adams–has already been cherry picked and available for years on TMN and Movie Central. This is one tamed and defanged tiger crossing the border in a kennel.
What does this mean if you already subscribe to TMN? You can still watch new episodes of Entourage and True Blood, simulcast with the U.S. HBO, on TMN, until their current season runs run out. After that, they can be found in Canada on HBO Canada, and no longer on TMN.
Same with HBO shows that haven’t returned yet. When Big Love returns for a third season in January, the new episodes will be found in simulcast only on HBO Canada.
Meanwhile, Showtime hits Dexter and Californication remain in Canada on TMN and Movie Central.
If you are currently a TMN subscriber, you get HBO for free. If you aren’t and you want to get HBO, you gotta subscribe to the whole TMN package. Gotcha.
If TMN and Movie Central were looking for a carrot to attract new customers, that’s one scrawny, well-chewed carrot. But, hey, we’ll take Bill Maher any way we can get him.

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