TV and Film News In Brief – CRTC hearings told OMNI viewership low

CRTCCRTC hearings continued Wednesday on a national multi-ethnic television service and who might operate it, with the commission hearing from Telus and Shaw that viewership of the existing OMNI Regional is low. Telus submitted data indicating viewer engagement of more than an hour per month is at just 1.7 per cent. Without providing specific numbers, Shaw VP of regulatory affairs Dean Sheikh, said their data also indicates that OMNI is one of its lowest-ranked services among ethnic and third-language viewers. Ann Mainville-Neeson, vice-president, Broadcasting Policy and Regulatory Affairs at Telus, cautioned that “consumers in today’s environment want to pay for only those programming services they choose to subscribe to…adding to the already numerous programming services that Canadians are required to receive before they can exercise their freedom to choose may lead to increasing dissatisfaction with the regulated system. It is for this reason that Telus submits that the commission should not grant any mandatory distribution order as part of this proceeding.” Read the full story here. 

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) has concluded that discretionary TV service HIFI failed to meet its responsibilities of participation in the CBSC because it did not provide complete official copies of broadcasts that were the subject of a complaint. The CBSC received a complaint about the channel which identified 22 separate broadcasts, alleging that HIFI had broadcast adult-oriented coarse language, sexuality and violence during daytime hours, had incorrectly rated its programming and had failed to air adequate viewer advisories. In its response, HIFI acknowledged that the issues raised had in fact occurred, but that it had instituted measures to ensure such errors wouldn’t recur. When the CBSC requested official recordings of the content for review purposes (known as “logger files”), HIFI provided 51 three-minute clips isolating each instance, rather than the complete movies and programs. The collection of three-minute video clips was inadequate for the Panel to rule on the substance of the complaint.

TVA Sports has extended its partnership with USports until 2023, making it the exclusive French-language broadcaster of Canadian college football. TVA has been the official broadcaster since 2015. In March, it also renewed its agreement with Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec for another five years.


Blue Ant International has announced a raft of international sales for adult animation series Gary and His Demons (16×11’). New licences include ABC Comedy (ABC) for Australia; CBC in Canada for its streaming service; and Comedy Central in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Gary and His Demons is an animated comedy about a cantankerous, aging demon slayer with nothing left to lose. The series is created by Mark Little, known for his work on Picnicface, Mr. D. and the upcoming Cavendish, who also serves as head writer, co-director and the voice of Gary. Gary and His Demons is executive produced by Josh Bowen (Look Mom! Productions) and Wendy Willis and Pia Chikiamco (Mondo Media). Lou Solis serves as co-director on the series, with Solis Animation providing animation production services.

Lisa LaFlamme

CTV’s programming lineup leading into the holidays is punctuated with several specials including the Thank You Canada figure skating special (Dec. 2), The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Holiday Special (Dec. 2), and Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards (Dec. 9). The network has also announced new holiday and New Years’ specials from the comedy team at The Beaverton: The Beaverton Ruins Your Holiday Special (Dec. 20) and The Beaverton Year In Review: 2018 (Dec. 31). Also on New Year’s Eve, the network will air CTV News: 2018 Year In Review (Dec. 31), hosted by Lisa LaFlamme, a look back at the stories that shaped the year.

CTV Toronto has kicked off its 23rd annual Toy Mountain campaign in support of The Salvation Army, with a goal to surpass last year’s total of 150,000 new unwrapped toys. The greatest area of need is girls aged 7-9, and youth aged 10-17. CTV Toronto weather anchor Tom Brown is leading the Toy Mountain collection effort for the 14th consecutive year, delivering live progress updates throughout the duration of the campaign on CTV News At Six. Brown will bring the campaign to a close on Dec. 20 with a live report from the CTV Toronto studio.

Yolanda Gampp, Sara Lynn Cauchon, Cheryl Torrenueva, and Matt Basile

YouTube, Facebook and Instagram stars from lifestyle and entertainment media brand Kin will appear on Food Network Canada special How to Holiday with Jordin Sparks and Friends on Dec. 1. The one-hour special will feature Canadian digital lifestyle creators Yolanda Gampp of How to Cake It, Sara Lynn Cauchon of The Domestic Geek, Cheryl Torrenueva of Simply Cher Cher, Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro, and Lauren Toyota of hot for food, who have a collective global fan base of over 10 million social followers. Marking a first in Canadian production, each of the six digital creators featured in the special will produce, film and edit their own segments, which are executive produced and developed by Kin. The segments will also be featured on Encore presentations of How to Holiday with Jordin Sparks and Friends will air on Dec. 7 on W Network and Dec. 8 on Global.

CBC’s holiday programming includes the first-ever holiday special from Schitt’s Creek – Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose (Dec. 18); a holiday edition of Back In Time For Dinner (Dec. 6); Ross Petty’s A Christmas Carol: The Family Musical With A Scrooge Loose! (Dec. 16), which was filmed at the Elgin Theatre in front of a live audience; and a new Stars On Ice special (Dec. 20). They’ll also be seasonal episodes of Dragons’ Den (Nov. 29); When Calls The Heart (Nov. 25, Dec. 2); and This Hour Has 22 Minutes (Dec. 11). Find the complete schedule at CBC will ring in 2019 on Dec. 31 with a Royal Canadian Air Farce New Year’s Eve special, followed by cross-Canada musical performances and fireworks at the stroke of midnight on Canada’s New Year’s Eve: Countdown to 2019. On CBC Radio, hosts Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe and Rich Terfry will countdown to midnight with a list of the 100 Canadian songs that had the greatest impact in 2018, starting at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC Radio One and CBC Music. The holiday radio schedule can be found here.

Discovery Canada has commissioned an eighth season of Highway Thru Hell from Thunderbird Entertainment. The new 17-episode season will begin airing in late 2019. Highway Thru Hell is Discovery’s most-watched factual series, with Thunderbird producing more than 100 episodes, including spinoff Heavy Rescue 401. The series can be watched in over a dozen languages in more than 170 countries.

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