Man, go out of town for a couple of days and you can miss a lot. I was in Halifax the beginning of this week, a guest of Citytv’s PR corps as they invited press to tour the set of their cheeky new comedy Seed. The single camera series will launch early in the New Year.
While I was catching up with showrunner Mark Farrell and getting to know series’ creator Joseph Raso, a lot was happening back home in Toronto’s Canadian TV central.
CBC Tuesday had their own press shindig, a Winter Launch to help promote their January starts. Regular readers here might remember CBC, they`re the ones who once aired hockey games on Saturday nights.
The on-going NHL lockout could not come at a worse time for the struggling corporation. Every network likes to use their big sports franchise, if they have one, to promote the hell out of their fall or winter schedules. CBC would be cramming in as many Mr. D and Ron James ads as they could right now, along with adverts for fresh episodes of Murdoch Mysteries as well as the new shot-in-Toronto crime procedural, Cracked.
I was at the Mr. D set, also in Halifax, earlier this fall and plan to visit Cracked soon, so hopefully I can make up for missing the network presser. According to this report by The Globe & Mail`s John Doyle, the cash-strapped network had cut way back on the brunch menu anyway.
Besides, the big story is the one they can’t really talk about–the future of Hockey Night in Canada. There`s so much speculation out there that Rogers and/or CTV will steal CBC’s tent pole franchise once the current deal runs out. Maybe, but 60 years of history has to count for something, although CBC probably wishes Rogers or Bell had rights to HNiC this year.
CHML’s Scott Thompson stirs this all up again on this week’s CHML podcast. You can listen in here.
The news was even tougher for Ontario’s other public broadcaster Tuesday. TVOntario announced budget cuts which will affect their children’s and documentary programming. Boomers with warm memories of Elwy Yost said “Golly!” upon hearing of plans to shut down TVO’s Saturday Night at the Movies, a classic film buff oasis that, let’s face it, fell completely off the radar with the introduction in Canada of TCM. (Jim Bawden puts Yost’s precious, pre-TCM gift to film buffs into perspective here.) The network also plans to trim staff by 35 to 40 people.
Quebecor also rocked the industry Tuesday with their annual pre-Christmas gift to staff. Another 500 jobs, mainly in their newspaper division (where I once worked) are being whacked.
One of the familiar faces you will no longer see on Sun News (both of you) will be Lorrie Goldstein, a strong voice of reason at the Toronto Sun as well as on radio and TV. Goldstein’s balance and authority will be a welcome addition soon, I’m sure, at news networks people actually watch.

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