Global TV announced its fall schedule on Tuesday, announcing to via press release that “TV is getting ready for more – more new series, more returning favourites, more hours of simulcast, and more star power!” What it seems to have less of, however, is original Canadian programming.
In fact, there are relatively few homegrown shows in amongst a slate that includes U.S. fare like “The Blacklist,” “Dracula,” and “Almost Human.” Of course, that’s no surprise, seeing as how TV south of the border is experiencing something of a golden age. But wouldn’t it be nice to see something that started life a little closer to home?
It’s not that there’s nothing out there to put on. After all, Global does occasionally air homegrown hits, such as "Rookie Blue" and "Bomb Girls." However, "Rookie Blue" usually airs in the summer months, when U.S. programming is on hiatus, and it's also partially funded by U.S. network ABC, which certainly helps keep the show in production. And "Bomb Girls" was cancelled earlier this year after two seasons. But other networks have also put out solid original series. CTV, for example, is responsible for hits like “Motive,” CBC is the home of “Heartland” and City is responsible for the new comedy “Seed.” Even Space is getting in on the action with the critically-acclaimed “Orphan Black,” a show that might be one of our best TV exports in years.
While no one’s going to argue that our domestic programs can compete with America’s big budget productions, perhaps networks might be better served backing Canadian productions rather than licensing American series. This, after all, is the start of something of a golden age of our own, with shows like “Orphan Black” (which was a surprise hit down south on BBC America) proving that Canadian TV can stand alongside the world’s best purveyors of small screen programming. We’re also at the forefront of next big things like digital TV series, where the Canadian-produced online episodic “Guidestones” was named best in show at this year’s Digital International Emmys.
Sadly, however, money talks, and it’s clear that Canadian broadcasters are listening. Networks like Global, CBC and CTV simply don’t have same money as they do in the U.S., where shows’ budgets are generally three times more per episode than enjoyed by our own creative teams. It seems there’s also not an appetite amongst audiences to watch Canadian programming, either. Out of the 10 most watched television shows of 2012, just one was homegrown, and that was "Hockey Night in Canada" (shocker!). The rest was a smorgasbord of American hits that ranged from “The Big Bang Theory” to “Elementary.”
The answer, it seems, might be a case of the chicken and the egg. After all, audiences would no doubt tune in to great Canadian TV shows if they were offered them. But until we’ve weaned ourselves off of their American counterparts, then Canadian networks will be unlikely to stump up the cash to produce quality original programming of our own.
What do you think of Canadian TV? Do you think that enough is being done to showcase domestic shows, or do you think that homegrown productions simply aren’t good enough? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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