Promoting the Mother Corp!!

CBC-TV reveals fall 2014 primetime lineup

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s hit spy thriller The Honourable Woman, gritty western drama Strange Empire and sci-fi event series Ascension help kick off CBC Television’s fall 2014 primetime lineup.

The public broadcaster unveiled its seasonal schedule Monday outlining when Canadians can expect to see five new shows and eleven returning CBC fan favourites.

The season starts off with new episodes of CBC’s flagship daytime lifestyle series Steven and Chris weekdays at 2 p.m. (2:30 NT) starting Sept. 22.

The mood gets dark when the sun goes down on Mondays. Armchair sleuths can get their Murdoch Mystery fix when the show returns to its 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) time slot. The edgy frontier drama Strange Empire follows, but in this western all the men have disappeared and the women are in charge.

Comedy fans can count on one hour of laughs on Tuesdays with CBC favourites The Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes returning with new episodes starting Oct. 7.

Maggie Gyllenhaall will bring her critically-acclaimed project The Honourable Woman at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT). The series makes its premiere on Monday Sept. 29 before settling into its Tuesday time slot.

The 1960s sci-fi drama Ascension, starring Battlestar Galactica actress Canadian Tricia Helfer ​and Cougar Town’s Brian Van Holt joins CBC primetime Tuesdays starting Nov. 25.

Allan Hawco launches the final season of Republic of Doyle on Wednesdays starting Oct. 15. Then, it’s deal time in the Dragon’s Den featuring two new dragons: Vikram Vij and Michael Wekerle who are replacing Kevin O’Leary and Bruce Croxon.

Other shows returning this fall to CBC primetime: Doc Zone, the fifth estate, Heartland, Marketplace, and The Nature of Things.

The search for the nation’s brightest kicks off on Sept. 28 with Canada’s Smartest Person. Hosts Jessi Cruickshank and Jeff Douglas return each Sunday at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) for one-hour of high-impact competition that promises to raise the bar for TV quiz shows.

CBC Selects follows with the premiere of Australian legal drama Janet King beginning Oct. 5.

Visit for exclusive behind-the-scenes videos of CBC’s fall prime-time series.​


This is bad news for CBC, but more importantly it is bad news for hockey fans!! Sportsnet does an awful job with baseball, and that will likely be the case with hockey too. Bad, bad news!!

Deal gives Rogers rights to all NHL games through 2025-26

Starting next season, Rogers Communications will be the National Hockey League’s exclusive broadcast and multimedia partner in Canada.

As part of the $5.2 billion, 12-year agreement, Rogers obtains the national rights on all platforms to every NHL game through the 2025-26 campaign—including all playoff games and the Stanley Cup Final.

“Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice,” said Nadir Mohamed, the President and CEO of Rogers Communications.

The deal—the largest of its kind in NHL history—also includes the NHL Centre Ice and NHL Game Centre Live properties, as well as rights to the All-Star Game and the NHL Draft. This is the first time a major league in North America has made such a long-term commitment to a single company.

As a result of this deal, Canadians will be able to find NHL game coverage on up to nine different channels on some nights during the season.

“Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, “and that is precisely what Rogers has promised to deliver over the next 12 years–channeling the reach of its platforms and the intensity of its passion for the game into an unparalleled viewing experience.”

Rogers, already a big player in the Canadian sports landscape thanks to its ownership of the Toronto Blue Jays and a 37.5 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, will spread game coverage to all of its platforms, including the radio—both terrestrial and satellite—and the web, through internet streaming as well as wireless and mobile tablets. The agreement also gives the company ownership of all digital highlights.

“Our vision is to build on the NHL’s legacy in Canada with an emphasis on storytelling, innovation, and technology—weaving the NHL, its teams and its stars even deeper into the fabric of Canadian culture,” said Keith Pelley, the President of Rogers Media. “Today’s announcement significantly increases the value of our premium Sportsnet brand and reinforces our commitment to making Sportsnet the No. 1 sports media brand in Canada.”

The $5.2-billion deal is comprised of annual payments, starting at just over $300 million next year then increasing gradually to more than $500 million in the final year. There is also a $150 million upfront payment that will be spread over the deal’s first two years.

As part of a separate sub-licensing deal, Rogers selected the CBC as its partner for the English-language broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada. (TVA was selected as the partner for all French-language broadcasts.)

The Board of Governors will vote on the agreement when they meet during the second week of December.


Promoting the Mother Corp!!

CBC wins rights to 2014, 2016 Olympic Games

CBC/Radio-Canada has won the Canadian media rights for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“We thought it was very important for the national public broadcaster whose strategy is signature events,” CBC president Hubert Lacroix said. “And there’s nothing more significant, more signature and more of an event that brings Canadians together.”

Speaking in London, England with CBC’s Heather Hiscox, Lacroix said he couldn’t comment on the costs but the deal was based on a “very financially and fiscally responsible bid.”

CBC has broadcast the Olympics on 19 different occasions, dating back almost 60 years, most recently during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

“CBC/Radio-Canada has been an unwavering champion of amateur sport and our nation’s best athletes,” said Marcel Aubut, president of the Canadian Olympic Committee Wednesday. “They have unparalleled experience in broadcasting major multi-sport events, most notably the Olympic Games.”

The deal comes more than a month after CBC and Bell Media announced they would no longer submit joint bids for the Canadian media rights for the Games.

After forming a partnership last September, the two media organizations submitted two joint bids for the package but both were rejected by the International Olympic Committee.

Kirstine Stewart, executive vice-president of CBC’s English Services, called the deal “a great homecoming” for the public broadcaster.

“We’ve made sure that the deal we put together in front of the IOC was one that was balanced in a way that should be cost-neutral at the end of the day,” she said.

The deal covers all platforms and includes sub-licensing rights, Stewart said.

“We’ll now go out and find partners, like we have in the past” with major international sporting events, she said.

Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, made up of a partnership between Bell Media and Rogers Communications, had the broadcast rights for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and currently have the rights for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The new deal will not affect upcoming negotiations between the CBC and the NHL over media rights, Stewart said.

“If anything, it shows that we have a really active sports department,” she said.

Henry Storgaard, chief executive officer of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, said the group looks forward to renewing its relationship with the CBC.

“CBC/Radio-Canada has a strong history of supporting Canada’s amateur sport athletes and the Paralympic movement, most recently through their broadcast of both Athletics and Para-Athletics events last month at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Calgary,” he said in a statement released by the CPC.

“We look forward to working with them to help tell the stories of our incredible athletes at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi and the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio.”


Promoting the Mother Corp!

CBC renews 14 shows for coming season

Michael Tuesdays & Thursdays, Redemption cancelled

A reality show that will cast the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz will debut next season on CBC, the public broadcaster announced Thursday.

CBC, which is facing the loss of $115 million over the next three years from its parliamentary allocation, announced four new shows and 14 returning primetime shows for the 2012-13 season in a news release.

One of the new offerings is Over the Rainbow, a collaboration with Toronto’s Mirvish Productions to choose a new lead for a stage production of The Wizard of Oz via live competition.

It would be a similar format to How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? the 2008 reality show that chose Elicia MacKenzie to play Maria in a Mirvish production of The Sound of Music.

Also added to the CBC lineup:

Murdoch Mysteries, the former Citytv crime series which CBC previously announced it would take over.

Titanic: Blood and Steel, a series from the team behind Camelot and The Tudors.

Cracked, a new drama that follows a team of cops and psychiatric professionals who work together to solve crime.

But CBC has cancelled critically acclaimed series Michael Tuesdays & Thursdays, comedy InSecurity, historical drama Camelot, talent show Cover Me Canada and Kevin O’Leary’s reality series Redemption.

Battle of the Blades, the high-profile reality show that asked hockey players to don figure skates is on hiatus.

“We have put Battle of the Blades officially on a hiatus and we hope that we can, if financial circumstances improve, we can work with Insight Productions on bringing Battle of the Blades back,” said Julie Bristow, CBC head of scripted programming.

John Brunton of Insight says the show could move to another network if CBC cannot commit to future seasons.

“It could at some point turn up elsewhere if the CBC doesn’t want to move forward with the program,” Brunton said.

Bristow said it had been difficult to make the cuts, but CBC does not have the finances to bring as many shows to air.

Little Mosque on the Prairie and Being Erica had been scheduled to end with the 2011-12 season.

Kirstine Stewart, head of CBC’s English-language network, announced last week that CBC would have to reduce its production of new primetime Canadian programming to live within its smaller budget.

The public broadcaster is projecting 650 job cuts, as well as less spending on original series, after the Harper government cut 10 per cent from its federal operating grant over three years.

Arctic Air, which debuted in January 2012 to the largest CBC audience in 15 years, is returning for a second season, as is new comedy Mr. D, starring Gerry Dee.

CBC will continue to produce its current affairs and documentary programs such as The Fifth Estate, Doc Zone, The Nature of Things and Marketplace. Marketplace, a consumer affairs show, has expanded to a full season with 24 episodes, instead of 12.

Other primetime shows returning:
22 Minutes
Dragons’ Den
George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight
Republic of Doyle
The Big Decision
The Rick Mercer Report
The Ron James Show

“CBC Television’s commitment to developing entertaining, engaging Canadian programming was rewarded with record ratings last season,” said Christine Wilson, executive director of content planning said in a press release.

“Despite financial challenges, the strength of those returning favourites combined with exciting new titles is setting the stage for an outstanding 2012-13 season.”


Promoting The Mother Corp

CBC digital music service launched

CBC is diving into the world of online music with the goal of providing listeners access to their favourite tunes, and a way to discover new artists and connect with fellow music fans.

The free digital service CBC Music, which launches on Monday, offers access to 40 web radio stations, a vast array of music and blog posts by CBC personalities through a website and via mobile apps.

The new initiative allows the public broadcaster “to connect with listeners in something we’ve done well — music — but in new ways,” said Chris Boyce, executive director of radio and audio for CBC English Services.

“Not only are we providing music, we’re helping people find the music and understand the music… there’s a ton of rich content that helps people understand the music as well as listen to it.”

The CBC launch comes after private radio network Astral’s recent unveiling of its own on-demand digital music service, which continues its roll out through the spring.

A segment of Canadians already listen to regular local radio stations via the web. However, at present, “it’s actually a very small number [using] any kind of online music streaming service or internet radio service in Canada,” according to Jeff Vidler, senior vice-president of research firm Vision Critical Communications.

“It’s really underdeveloped in Canada, relative to other territories. If you look at the U.S. or Britain, it’s much higher in terms of use of internet radio services or online music-streaming services,” he told CBC News.

Major players in the field include Spotify, the European-born online music-streaming service, and Pandora, the U.S. internet radio service. Though both have large followings, neither company has ventured into Canada so far — most likely because of tricky rights negotiations, Vidler says.

“The Pandoras and the Spotifys haven’t bothered to come to the Canadian market, to go through those negotiations,” he said. “To some extent, they’re a little nervous about the copyright regime here.”

Still, that reticence has now opened the way for Canadian-born initiatives. CBC’s new service, for instance, is possible in part thanks to a recently announced deal covering online music-streaming with Canada’s Audio-Video Licensing Agency.

“If you look at the music industry, it’s been in essence turned on its head in the last decade. Technology has profoundly changed how people consume music content. For us, this is about adapting to how the listening experience has changed,” Boyce said.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is reflect Canada to Canadians…This is an opportunity to reflect a wider range of music than you’re able to do on a single terrestrial radio channel.”

The streaming services of both Radio 2 and Radio 3 are incorporated in CBC Music. Some channels have hosts, while others play only music. Some play only Canadian music, while others are a mix of Canadian and music from around the world. The online communities involve artists and hosts in blogs and chats intended to connect with music fans.

“Based on our experience with Radio 3, we are playing with ways to build online community,” Boyce said.

Boon for specialty music fans

Along with appealing to those stuck in front of computers all day, web radio and online music-streaming services are also a draw for music lovers whose favourite genre isn’t present on the radio dial.

“This is the way, when it comes to specialty music,” said Berge Koulajian, a 40-year-old progressive house fan.

The Toronto man previously subscribed to satellite radio because his favourite music isn’t on the playlist of traditional stations.

After discovering the thousands of online radio stations he could access through his smartphone — whether he’s just walking around or using the Bluetooth connection that’s available in many new cars, for instance — Koulajian has cancelled his satellite service.

“I’ve got hundreds of channels of radio — anything I can think of — a couple of clicks away, for free.”

How quick and widespread the uptake will be for these Canadian digital music services, however, will depend on factors like marketing, artists in the catalog, how well they satisfy consumer demand and technical issues like the ease of the interface.

“The one thing that Steve Jobs told us about and gave us a lesson [on] through iTunes is that so much of it is about the interface,” Vidler said.

“If it’s an easy interface and something people can do — and will do — they’ll go to it. But if it’s clunky or clumsy, they just won’t bother.”

While terrestrial radio might not have anything to worry about for now, Vidler added, broadcasters branching out into new digital music services have great opportunities in front of them.

“It does allow the CBC to fulfill its mandate in terms of reaching as many Canadians as possible,” he said.


It is too bad!!

CBC dismantling LP, CD archives

The CBC is quietly dismantling its archives of LPs and CDs across Canada – a cultural treasure trove built over decades – even as it prepares to launch a major new music service online.

With uncertainty over levels of funding from Ottawa, CBC management has told archivists to winnow the music collections at regional bureaus by the end of March. This could mean donating, selling or discarding thousands of records and CDs – a cost- and space-saving measure as recordings are increasingly digitized.

This is happening just as the CBC’s need for music could grow heavily, as the broadcaster gears up to introduce a number of new music channels streaming online, possibly as many as 35, sources familiar with the project say.

While CBC management would not confirm that a new service is in the works, sources say it is expected to provide a number of musical formats (one for Canadian rock, one for Canadian hip hop and so on) all accessible from one central CBC website.

Some CBC archivists see irony in the fact that they are being asked to dismantle regional record collections just as producers will be coming to them for music. Many old LPs won’t be digitized, they say, and producers and announcers won’t be able to hold the physical albums and see liner notes and information that can’t be fully captured in a database.

“We believe that they are jumping the gun quite a bit by doing this,” said archivist John MacMillan, who has spent much of his career looking after CBC Vancouver’s music library. “We understand that at some point the hard-copy collection would not be needed any more, and the usage of the CDs has gone down. But the content in this virtual music library – as it’s known – is still far below the needs of the users.”

There is also a risk, some fear, of losing some valuable recordings when such large collections – some with tens of thousands of titles – are broken up. As one archivist said, not for attribution, it’s a question of whether CBC management sees the collections as a valuable archive for Canadians or simply as a resource for CBC producers.

CBC spokesman Chris Ball said that the cull isn’t affecting its Toronto-based archive, and the CBC will continue to maintain an extensive physical collection. At the same time, he notes, the CBC has been relying less and less on CDs and albums and more on digitized music, like much of the industry. The broadcaster’s digitized library is said to already contain about 1.5 million titles.

“We’re going to look at what content has historic value, what has a programming value to us,” Ball said. “The goal here is that we are digitizing that content in the virtual music library. What that’s going to be able to do is give everybody across the country [in the CBC] desktop access to our entire music library.”

Out of the approximately 650,000 CDs housed in CBC bureaus, only 140,000 CDs are unique to those libraries. The rest are duplicates of discs already housed in Toronto, Ball said. Unique physical titles will be shipped to the CBC’s permanent collection in Toronto, which currently has about 135,000 unique CDs.

He added that the physical library will continue to add new discs. “This isn’t the end point. … We’re still going to support regional artists who want to provide us with their music,” he said.

So the push is now on not only to scour the bureaus’ collections for records to ship to Toronto, but to simultaneously digitize more of those titles. This isn’t expected to eliminate many, if any, jobs since most CBC archivists also maintain other collections, such as TV and radio archives.

CBC’s popular online Radio 3 service, which features new music and has a largely separate collection, is expected to integrate more of its library into the CBC’s larger digitalized music system.

So far, the dismantling of regional record collections only applies to the English-language side. The question is whether there’s enough time to input enough of the rare LPs into the virtual music library by the end of March, and how much of the information in the liner notes will be lost.

MacMillan acknowledges that this kind of information is not necessarily used every day. “But the point of this, and I think with any library, it’s there for next year or the year after when someone goes ‘Oh, how about …?’ and they can look up something that is here and readily available, something that iTunes just will never have, ever,” he said.

The collection in Vancouver, for instance, has an unusually large array of South American titles and other music from around the world. These could be viewed as extraneous when the collection is dismantled. It also has a large number of 78-rpm records and Edisons (early 78s recorded without amplifiers or microphones).

“I can think of one or two collectors in Vancouver who would love to have them and preserve them,” MacMillan said. “Some records are in such poor shape that they may have to be thrown out. But [with] much of it, we would endeavour to try to save it as best we could and to make sure it went into a collector’s hands or [to] a university.”

He added that “it is a time-consuming process to go through, to make sure that we’re not tossing something away that doesn’t exist in a modern format … The thing about this that is most rankling to me is that, sure, we knew that this had to happen. But it is happening way too fast.”


Congratulations, one and all!!

CBC Saskatchewan wins television news award
The supper hour newscast of CBC television in Saskatchewan has won a Gemini award for presenting the best local news program in Canada for smaller markets.
The honour was presented to production leaders at a ceremony in Toronto.
“It’s kind of like the Emmy awards of Canada,” co-anchor Costa Maragos said in describing the prestige associated with the award. “I’ve been at this [event] four times. And my fourth time I’ve been nominated for a Gemini. But to be part of this great television team at CBC in Saskatchewan is just such an honour.”
“This award belongs to everyone at CBC News Saskatchewan,” Paul Dederick, the executive producer of CBC News in Saskatchewan, said in accepting the award. “Including our news team, our hosting team, our communications team, our support team. Everybody owns a little biddy piece of this award. Thanks.”
CBC Saskatchewan submitted a sampling of programs for the award.
“The newscasts we’ve submitted feature live reports on the troubles of a former politician, a taxi dispute in Saskatoon and a story about students and plagiarism,” a synopsis on the Gemini Awards website noted. “Throw in the best local weather and sports and there’s still room for fun.”
The presentations Tuesday are part of three Gemini Awards galas. The annual celebration will be capped by a televised bash on September 7th, hosted by comic Russell Peters.

Promoting the Mother Corp!!!

Gross guest stars on Republic of Doyle
Paul Gross is headed Due East – as opposed to Due South – for the second-season finale of CBCís Newfoundland-set series Republic of Doyle.
The episode, titled Family Business, airs Wednesday, April 6. Gross, of course, has been a staple on the entertainment scene since his breakout role on Due South in the early 1990s.
On Republic of Doyle, Gross guest-stars as the unstable John Crocker, a former police partner of Jake Doyle (Allan Hawco) from their days together on the force.
Crocker has returned to St. Johnís to get some help from his old buddy Jake. But it quickly becomes apparent that Crocker is more than capable of backing up the awful things he threatens, which puts the entire Doyle family in jeopardy.
Gee, but Grossí character on Due South, Constable Benton Fraser, was such a nice guy. Talk about losing your direction.


Promoting the Mother Corp!!!

Cherry staying with HNIC through 2011-12 season
Don Cherry’s not going anywhere, at least not for another season of Hockey Night in Canada.
The outspoken commentator renewed his contract with HNIC through the 2011-2012 season, CBC announced on Saturday.
“Don has been a part of the CBC Hockey Night in Canada family since 1980, generating passion and debate among hockey fans everywhere,” said Kirstine Stewart, executive vice-president of CBC English Services.
“Hockey Night in Canada, with Don at the desk for its 59th season, will continue to bring the very best of hockey programming on all of its platforms to Canadians everywhere.”
Cherry will continue to co-host his hugely popular first intermission Coach’s Corner segment with Ron MacLean every Saturday night and through the duration of the Stanley Cup playoffs next season.
“We join millions of fans in congratulating Don on his new contract and wishing him continued success as the declarative voice of CBC’s definitive hockey broadcast,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
“Don’s knowledge of the sport is exceeded only by his love for it and we are proud of his enduring connection with the game and the National Hockey League. He truly is one of a kind, and it is an honour to consider him a friend.”
The 77-year-old Canadian icon joined Hockey Night in Canada in 1980 after a successful coaching career with the Boston Bruins and Colorado Rockies from 1974-80, winning the Jack Adams coach of the year award in 1976 during his time with Boston.


Congrats to them all!!

CBC wins 5 Canadian journalism awards
CBC took home the most prizes in this year’s competition for the Canadian Association of Journalists awards for the country’s best journalism, grabbing five of the 15 honours awarded.
Canada’s national professional organization for reporters, editors, producers and photographers announced the winners on Saturday at its annual conference in Montreal.
Gordon Hoekstra of the Prince George Citizen took the CAJ’s top prize, the Don McGillivray Award for Investigative Journalism, for his story, Downtown Fix, in the Prince George Citizen.
He also won in the community newspaper category for the article.
The CBC’s winners were:
– Faith and Spirituality: Maureen Brosnahan, The Least of These, CBC Radio.
– Open Radio/News Current Affairs: Tina Pittaway and Neil Sandell, Risky Business, CBC Radio One.
– Open Television (less than five minutes): Lynn Burgess and Laurie Graham, eHealth Ontario scandal, The National.
– Regional Television: Chris O’Neill-Yates, Who’s Minding the Kids, CBC News, Newfoundland.
– Scoop: Alison Crawford, Bishop Lahey, CBC Radio.
Others who brought home journalism honours were Michael Friscolanti in the magazine category for After the Detention, a Betrayal (Maclean’s).
Matthieu Aikins won in the print feature category for Unembedded in Afghanistan (The Coast).
And Louie Palu took the photojournalism prize for The Front Line (Zuma Press).
The CAJ has about 900 members across Canada.