August 7, 2014

TV News/Media Releases | Canadian Television News Roundup (August 6, 2014)

Bell Media and Shaftesbury formally announce The Listener’s end, after five seasons and sixty-five episodes. The Listener debuted in 2009 on CTV; it lasted eight episodes on NBC that summer. ION is the show’s current American program service; the show’s fifth season is produced by CTV, Shaftesbury, and Fox International Channels, with ION Television as co-producer.

The Listener has a solid Canadian audience, usually maintaining 900,000 to 1.1 million viewers in Canada, keeping the show in the BBM/Numeris Top 30. For the week of July 28 to August 3, 2014, The Listener earned 850,000 viewers, which is actually low given The Listener’s fifth-season viewing average.

It’s hard to say why CTV sent the press release twelve days from the end of the show’s run. Old City Hall and Smoke and Mirrors, two Shaftesbury shows in development with Bell Media, are mentioned. The way the press release also mentions the “epic story” of main character Toby Logan’s (Craig Olejnik) past coming to “a gratifying conclusion”, it reads like a definite wind-up of the show. Perhaps CTV wants a ratings boost for The Listener’s now-series finale. It’s just speculation on my part; I find the timing odd. (August 6, 2014)


Starlight: The Canadian Movie Channel was one of the hopeful new ventures in CRTC’s 2013 mandatory carriage hearings, yet failed in its bid to launch an all-Canadian film channel on basic-tier cable packages. Yesterday, it gained status as a Category B licence (PDF), and must launch by 2018.

Of note, interventions by Corus Entertainment and the CBC force Starlight to devote no more than twenty percent of its schedule to documentaries, and no more than ten percent of its schedule to animation. For the layperson, that means Starlight can’t be lazy and encroach on documentary’s turf. The animation limit is odd, on account of there not being a large backlog of Canadian animated films in the first place; at least Rock & Rule and (if/when it’s ever finished) Black Sunrise have a theoretical home on Canadian television. (August 6, 2014)


Werewolf drama Bitten casts Tammy Isbell, Tommie-Amber Pirie, and Kiara Glasco for its second season, as members of a witches’ coven. (August 6, 2014)


Preschool live-action series Hi Opie!, about a five-year-old boy navigating his way through kindergarten, airs September 1, 2014 on TVO Kids, City Saskatchewan, and Knowledge Network. TVO Kids airs “sneak peeks” August 25, 2014 at 7:00 AM and 12:00 noon ET, and August 29, 2014 at 7:00 AM ET. In addition, tvokids.com previews the show from August 18-22, 2014. The main character is a Muppet custom-built by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. (August 6, 2014)


W Network lands a sponsorship with Elmer’s Glue, with promos showing “Bonding Moments” from He’s Just Not That Into You (misidentified as He’s Just Not Into You at one point), Definitely Maybe, The Notebook, and I Don’t Know How She Does It. For the marketers who might read this site, the Saturday night spots sell school glue. (August 6, 2014)

Share

June 3, 2011

Upfront Week: Lloyd Robertson’s final newscast; Corus, Channel Zero and CTV news

The most major news first: Lloyd Robertson’s last-ever newscast will be September 1, 2011.  Nothing’s going to top that, so here’s some news from the past two days that I haven’t covered yet.

News NOT about Lloyd Robertson

Share

December 17, 2010

News: Midseason 2010-11 schedules, the CanCon edition

I realize the first two pieces are from last week, but news has been slow lately.  CTV announced two pilots and a series order on Thursday, December 9.  The two hour-long CTV pilots are Saving Hope, a medical drama set in Toronto, and Stay with Me, about a lawyer/stay-at-home mother.  Ilana Frank’s Thump Inc. is behind Saving Hope, while Sarrazin Couture Entertainment is behind Stay with Me.

In addition, CTV and MuchMusic have ordered six one-hour episodes of Epitome Pictures’ Highland Gardens, a show about young Canadians trying to make it in Hollywood.  Epitome Pictures is best known for Degrassi: the Next Generation/Degrassi and Instant Star.  The showrunner is Martin Gero, a man best known for Stargate Atlantis, Young People Fucking and HBO’s Bored to Death.

I can safely say I am not interested in the two CTV pilots.  As someone commented at TV, Eh?, they read like St. Elsewhere and The Good Wife.

Highland Gardens sounds similarly generic, but Gero could make something out of the premise.  Likewise, Malcolm MacRury’s attached to Saving Hope, which probably means Cra$h & Burn is dead in the water.

I’m not going to complain about the three new projects, given that they won’t make air until at least the 2011-12 season, but CTV isn’t much for originality.  At least CTV’s not ripping off $#*! My Dad Says yet.


CityTV’s midseason slate includes the second season of My RONA Home (Sunday, April 3, 2011: 9:00 PM ET) and the fourth season of Murdoch Mysteries (Wednesday, March 16, 2011: 10:00 PM ET.)  Airdates and times are, of course, subject to change.

CityTV’s midseason is stuffed full of American shows and Law & Order: UK.  I don’t want to dog CityTV, but when did it become the most conservative networklet in Canadian television?  Most of the prime-time schedule consists of NBC and ABC shows not nailed down by Shaw Media or CTV.  Murdoch Mysteries is being rerun in two different timeslots.

I’m not going to blame Rogers entirely for the channel rot, as CityTV has been on a slow, steady decline since the tail end of the CHUM Television era.  At the same time…My RONA Home and Out There with Melissa DiMarco reruns?!  I honestly can’t believe we’ve come to this point.


CTV will debut one show in the beginning of January.  The Marilyn Denis Show‘s first episode will air Monday, January 10, 2011, at 10:00 AM ET/PT.  In addition, The Listener‘s second season will premiere Friday, January 28, 2011, at 8:00 PM ET/PT.

Flashpoint has a “mid-season premiere,” which is a fancy way of saying holiday specials are over for another year.  The show returns Tuesday, January 4, 2011, at 10:00 PM ET/PT.

Not to be outdone in the CanCon department, Global has…given a second window to Haven.  The first-season premiere airs Friday, January 21, 2011, at 9:00 PM ET/PT.  Yes.  One show, and it’s imported from Showcase.

Seriously, news like this makes me wonder why the hell I do URBMN.  I understand the limitations of Canadian television, but Canadian content laws need to be tightened up when networks like Global and CityTV whittle the CanCon stick down to a shiv.  This country is just now inching to the point where our shows are becoming Americanized.

Meanwhile, Shaw Media is continuing the Canwest practice of slapping a show across five or six channels.  It boggles the mind.  Oh, well.  Enjoy Bob’s Burgers and Winter Wipeout.

Share

June 2, 2009

TV Review | The Listener 1.1, 1.2 – “I’m An Adult Now,” “Emotional Rescue”

The Listener (CTV/SPACE/NBC: premieres June 3, 10:00 PM ET on CTV, 7:00 PM ET on SPACE; in regular timeslot starting June 4, 10:00 PM ET on CTV, 7:00 PM ET on SPACE; two-hour premiere June 4, 9:00 PM ET/8:00 CT on NBC) is the type of filler CTV used to air quite a bit of in the 1990s.  It fits right in with FX: The Series, La Femme Nikita and John Woo’s Once a Thief – watchable enough that it should acquire a fan following, but lightweight.

What amazes me is that NBC bought the show for its summer schedule.  I’m not saying Canadian television is superior to American television – for every Slings and Arrows there are five to ten Gutter Ball Alleys.  The Listener was bought by NBC due both to the WGA writer’s strike and its abandonment of the traditional development process.

The Canadian shows floated on American networks aren’t the best, either – Flashpoint is workmanlike and entertaining, but it’s a cop procedural in a sea of cop procedurals.  The Listener seems more suited for a SciFi (I’m sorry, SyFy) airing than a summer slot on NBC.  Of course, NBC’s prime-time ratings are almost the lowest they’ve ever been, so any edge, I guess.

Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik) is the central protagonist of the series.  The first episode sets up Logan’s world – his coming to terms with his mind-reading, his relationship with mentor Dr. Ray Mercer (Colm Feore), his personal life and day job as a paramedic.  The Listener establishes its premise, gives the viewer a few characters to love/hate and fucks around for an hour.

It’s standard dramatic sci-fi television, Early Edition with mindreading taking the place of a magic newspaper.  I also get a Millennium vibe from Logan’s mind-pictures.  The Listener could have easily debuted in 1996, so well-worn is its premise.

The second episode, which NBC decided to pair with the first on the same night, strengthens Logan’s relationship with Detective Charlene “Charlie” Marks (Lisa Marcos), a tough cop who can’t discern how someone like Logan is able to anticipate events better than she can.  Small spoiler: someone falls from a large height in both episodes.  The Listener is the very definition of cookie cutter.

Aside from Dr. Mercer and fellow paramedic Osman Bey (Ennis Esmer), The Listener‘s characters aren’t very interesting.  Feore and Esmer do what they can with their material, as they are the only two convincing actors on the show.  Olejnik isn’t horrible as the lead character, but he’s too slight to focus on week after week.  He’s only there as The Listener‘s main himbo.

NBC is placing a lot of faith in The Listener since it recently gave the show a two-hour block to debut in.  Despite this, I wonder about The Listener‘s success.  Either NBC’s hoping for The Listener to become a summer hit or it’s burning the show off like flash paper.

CTV has joined in the rescheduling madness, so I’m leaning towards the former scenario.  Hell, I’m hoping The Listener hits big.  I just wish The Listener was a less generic, more interesting show, but that’s the American prime-time bran tub for you.

Share

© 1999-2010 SWEETPOSER ENTERTAINMENT. URBMN USES WordPress.