So, I spent last week covering the American Network Upfronts, but in reality that was all a warmup for the epic event that is: the Canadian Upfronts. Man, what a week this is going to…oh, you mean they already selected all their shows? And they just announced them in a press conference? Really? That’s, uh…wow, I wasn’t really prepared, I expected to have all sorts of time to write previews and…wow. Okay, so I guess I should run down some of the new that came over the past few days? I’m all out of sorts here.
Who are the Players?
Global (CanWest) and CTV are really the only major players involved now that CTV bought out CityTV and the rest of CHUM. There’s Sun TV out of central Canada, but they’re not a huge player. It’s really down to the big two for the big shows.
What should we know about Canada’s simulcasting system?
Well, first off, do the math: the shows airing on five different American networks don’t easily fit onto two Canadian networks, not all of them anyways. This has left some fairly substantial hits south of the border (America’s Next Top Model, Ugly Betty) off of these main networks and onto networks like CityTV or Sun TV.
Canadian networks struggle most with the fact that many of their shows overlap. For instance, they own the rights to both CSI and Grey’s Anatomy: as a result, the network is forced to air Grey’s an hour earlier than it is in the U.S. It’s all a give and take like this, which makes for some interesting Canadian scheduling. Another example was just last night, when CTV had the rights to both the Lost and American Idol finales, and actually split Lost into two parts in Central Canada to make it work.
Which network is better at simulcasting?
Definitely CTV. Global is a complete and total mess: its HD is extremely limited, its commercials are far worse, and all in all the production values just aren’t the same. I really wish they’d revamp everything to be less ugly, too. They really need to work on that. CityTV and the others aren’t terrible, but they don’t have the same level of nationwide coverage, which is a problem for families without digital cable or the joys of timeshifting that some of us enjoy.
So what’s happened so far?
Well, CTV has not officially announced any of its pickups thus far, but there have been some leaks ahead of their early June Upfront Presentation in Toronto. Meanwhile, Global has spilled the beans on which shows they’ve picked up. For all the information, you can follow to The Hollywood Reporter. For a complete summary and analysis, keep reading.