Thursday, June 7, 2007

Actors protest Global's fall lineup

Marred by protest? Enlivened maybe. Canadian content often just means imitation of the shows meant for mass audiences made in the US. Since private Canadian stations and even the CBC are dependent on advertising you cannot expect much content that hasn't mass appeal so that unless you can format a news show of talking heads in the manner of FOX news rather than CPAC you won't have much news coverage. A lot of CBC news is now just public interest fluff or sensationalism. There are still a few in depth documentaries but even they are changing it seems. A recent documentary on Afghanistan struck me as such. TV is about selling advertising. Of course you can sell Canadian content as in Tim Horton's but that is about it! Actually until recently Horton's was part of Wendy's international based in the US.

CANWEST TV - entertainment - Global's fall launch marred by protest
Global's fall launch marred by protest
Actors union demands more homegrown programming while network unveils lineup

Jun 07, 2007 04:30 AM
Jim Bawden
television columnist

Canadian TV stars, including Peter Keleghan, Gordon Pinsent, Shirley Douglas, Colin Mochrie and Wendy Crewson, came out in force yesterday for CanWest MediaWorks' fall TV preview at Massey Hall.

Crewson said the protest by members of ACTRA was not targeted at Global specifically, but Canadian broadcasters in general.

"Our airwaves are now filled with American shows 24-7," complained the actor, who has roles in ReGenesis and the film Away From Her.

"We're here to say that they have a responsibility to the Canadian public out of the millions and millions of dollars they make from advertising, by showing American shows, to put some back into Canadian content." Crewson said. "We need to hear our stories, we need to see our people and our stories on the airwaves during prime-time hours.

Inside, Barbara Williams, CanWest senior vice-president of programming, was announcing an increased commitment to grow Canadian series and specials for Global TV and the recently rebranded E! (formerly Hamilton's CHCH-TV).

"We want to work more with U.S. cable networks on developing scripted drama series," Williams told the Star. "Like Painkiller Jane (with the U.S. Sci Fi network)."

Global did air the Manitoba-made Falcon Beach, but it was cancelled after a U.S. network pulled out.

Williams pointed to the new half-hour comedy 'Da Kink In My Hair, based on trey anthony's award-winning play. Global will position it Sunday nights at 7:30. She also noted current homegrown series, The Best Years, airing Tuesdays at 10.

New Canadian series set to debut this fall include the Halifax-based Search and Rescue, the coming-of-age comedy About A Girl and a BBC-co-production, Burn Up, described as an "oil industry thriller."

In January 2008, Global's 5:30 p.m. national newscast with Kevin Newman moves to Ottawa from Vancouver. "At least I'm going; the executive editor and his team remain in B.C.," Newman said.

Global's U.S. picks include five new hour dramas, Journeyman with Kevin McKidd as a modern-day time traveller; Jimmy Smits in the Cane; Damian Lewis as a detective back on the force after years in prison in Life; Canterbury's Law with Julianna Margulies (ER) as a pugnacious attorney; and Swingtown with Canadian Molly Parker.

The network added one new U.S. comedy, Back to You with Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton.

E!'s new U.S. series include K-Ville, Cashmere Mafia (from Sex and the City producer Darren Star), Kid Nation, Bionic Woman, Viva Laughlin, In Plain Sight and Life IsWild.

Williams said she dropped Without a Trace and Two and a Half Men (both picked up by CTV) because the price was too high and both shows had passed their peaks.

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