Thursday, August 14, 2008

TV Blues

The firing of the Breakfast Television team at CityTV is not a national tragedy, but it is discouraging.

Not only for the very decent and capable people who will be hard-pressed to find work in this moribund market, but for all of us as lively and involved citizens.

It is a text book case of everything that is wrong with broadcasting in this country.

The CRTC grants licences to every manner of well-heeled hooligan, who dutifully promises to spend millions on local programming.

The reality, of course, is that people want to kick back and watch American Idol or the NFL.

What would local programming have to be to attract a significant audience? Sex and snuff movies?

So, from the very beginning of television in Canada, we have been soaking up the Ed Sullivan Show and Donny and Marie and Oprah and Charlie Rose.

The original Global station in Toronto became incredibly rich on two strands - one, great buying of new American product at the annual Las Vegas fair, and two, repeater stations granted to Global throughout rural Ontario. Literally, a license to print money.

Except for local newscasts - which CITY abandoned a few years ago - very few local or even Canadian programming ever sees the light of day. CTV and CBC love to gush over themselves when they crank out cheezy, imitative police dramas.

Yawn, goodnight.

CBC, never having the courage of its own alleged convictions, plays CanCult one minute and Sean Penn movies the next.

Australia has the advantage of being very, very far away, adrift in a remote sea. Thus, they have created a booming and unique film industry and their own TV stars.

But, as we huddle together here on the 49th parallel, in the shadow of the really, really Big Show, we continue to be a B-movie that can't even sustain a morning show with 6-minute guests.



Anonymous said...

Sad fact David is, Canadian TV is down right dreadful and I'm watching less. I cut back (withdrawal) on my cable options and next year may cancel all together and get a US satellite dish and hopefully operate without the Stalinist CRTC/Shaw/Rogers secret police finding out.

Where I live, one neighbour is feeding 6 homes with a very black-market satellite dish. He may go to jail for a year if caught or forced to watch the CBC for one month straight.

Anonymous said...

Okay, this is more of a comment about cable content, but I have to share this story about the time I got cable hooked up at my first apartment.

It was the late '90's, I had lived without cable for over a year. I got bored in the evenings (it was just me and the cat then - no hubby or kids). I had huge piles of books - fiction, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers.

Anyway, I thought I might like to watch a bit of TV as the weather was getting rainy and I wanted to watch CSI. The cable guy and I are chatting while he is hooking up everything - I mention my reading pile. He pauses and sincerely asks me if I really want to go through with getting television since reading is so much healthier than watching most of the drivel on TV. I am sure that the cable company would be thrilled that he's trying to talk a customer out of getting cable and, essentially, dissing their product.

Anyways, I still read lots, CSI is starting to jump the shark and I usually find a lot of pleasure watching the History Channel and documentaries (from any national origin) with my dear hubby.

Take Care

Linda Yuill

David in North Burnaby BC said...

"He may go to jail for a year if caught or forced to watch the CBC for one month straight."

If it were me I'd have to opt for "going away" for a year, thanks. A whole month of "Wind Up My Kilt" and such and my next stop would be the non-existent mental health care system.