Nudging Rogers to stick to the script –

Over the past few issues of Canadian Screenwriter magazine, the Writers Guild of Canada has been asking trouble makers and agitators industry observers to write open letters to the heads of the Canadian networks. I was asked to rant about Rogers. Sure, let me take the cable hit.
As I point out, Rogers, which owns City and OMNI, hasn’t exactly been providing a ton of screenwriting opportunities lately for Canadian writers. When I’ve raised this point in the past I’ve been assured by various network executives that the door is open and that the plan is to get into the Canadian content game.
Good to hear, but let’s see some evidence, and not just with Canadian reality shows like Canada’s Got Talent. There is growing evidence that, after a dozen years, the reality ride has eclipsed.
There’s a great article in the New York Times by Bill Carter and Brian Stelter looking at the rise of scripted TV south of the border as we head deeper into the DVR/PVR/on-demand era. Modern Family and NCIS are suddenly the top two shows on television in terms of total Live+3 and especially Live+7 viewers. American Idol, not so much anymore.
There is also evidence this winter that Canadians actually like to watch Canadian scripted fare. Republic of Doyle, Bomb Girls, Arctic Air, Flashpoint and Rookie Blue have all drawn over a million viewers an episode or more this season.
So step up and show Canada’s got talented screenwriters, Rogers. Read the full WGC article here.

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  1. Oh Bill, do you really know all the facts about these pure evil organizations (WGC, ACTRA) you support?

    Rogers and other broadcasters don’t like buying scripted Canadian shows because they don’t make money for them, they lose money. How is it fair to force a private company to buy something that loses them money? Its not, but that’s exactly what happens. Rogers Media, Bell Media, Shaw Media, ect.. are now forced to spend a % of their revenue on scripted Canadian shows, shows that will lose them money.

    You are also paying for the production of these shows. 5% of your cable bill goes toward the production of scripted Canadian shows, and if groups like the WGC get their way that will increase to 6.5%, since they want to redirect the Local Programming Improvement fund (FYI, way more people watch local news than scripted Canadian shows) towards the programming that benefits them. Scripted Canadian drama.

    That’s not all, they also tried to force ISP’s to pay them money as well. Yes, they actually tried to force anyone that has internet in Canada to pay for the production of scripted Canadian drama.

    And they don’t just want to take money away from ordinary Canadians that don’t want to watch their crappy shows, at the broadcaster licence renewals this past Spring they actually campaigned to reduce the amount of money broadcasters are required to spend on other types of Canadian programming and direct that money towards the type of programming that benefits them (scripted drama). This would have meant Canadians who produce news, local programming, unscripted, and lifestyle would lose their jobs as broadcasters would have to take the money they spend on other types of Canadian programming and put it towards scripted shows.

    WGC (and others like ACTRA) only care about themselves, they don’t care about ordinary Canadians, they don’t care about the thousands of people who work for Canadian broadcasters, they don’t even care about others in the Canadian production industry. Canadian writers, producers, and actors only have work because Canadians are paying their salary. If all this forced funding didn’t exist they wouldn’t have any work, since what they do is unprofitable for everyone but themselves.

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