Global News Okanagan celebrated its 60th anniversary on Sept. 21 with a special live broadcast from Stuart Park in Kelowna, joined by about 200 viewers. On Sept. 21, 1957, the station went on-air as CHBC-TV, after Okanagan radio stations CKOV Kelowna, CKOK Penticton and CJIB Vernon came together to build and operate the station as a CBC affiliate. Three engineers built the original 45’ x 55’ studio in the converted Smith Garage on Leon Street. CHBC-TV went to air with an effective radiated power of 3,700 watts, with repeaters in Vernon and Penticton due to the mountainous terrain. At the time, there were only 500 television sets in the Okanagan and the station could only broadcast live, in black and white, until 1967.
CTV Vancouver celebrated its 20th anniversary on the air on Sept. 22. As part of the festivities, CTV Morning Live Vancouver hosted a 20th anniversary special featuring a live studio audience for the first time. The broadcast featured a series of special guests from the station’s past and present, including CTV News at Six co-anchors Mike Killeen and Tamara Taggart. Initially known as Vancouver Television, the station officially hit the airwaves on Sept. 22, 1997. It became a CTV station in 2001 and has been known as CTV Vancouver since 2012.
Rick Mercer has announced that the 15th season of The Mercer Report will be its last. The mix of political satire, ranting, sketch comedy and fun segments, debuted on CBC-TV in 2004 as Rick Mercer’s Monday Report. In 14 seasons, the show has garnered 16 Gemini and Canadian Screen Awards. The final season concludes on Apr. 10.
Culture Club alumnus Boy George, Canadian singer/songwriter Alessia Cara; founding Mötley Crüe member Nikki Sixx; singer/songwriter Julia Michaels; and Sugarland co-founder Jennifer Nettles are the latest artists to join CTV original music series The Launch. They join Shania Twain, Fergie, and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder as mentors on the inaugural season. Joining previously announced producers are busbee, Dann Huff, Ian Kirkpatrick and Stephan Moccio. The first season of the Canadian version of the program is currently shooting in Toronto, before the format is rolled-out internationally later this year.
MAtv Montreal has debuted Montrealers, an eight-week series featuring intimate conversations with multicultural Montrealers. The show is co-produced by Christos Sourligas and Leah Balass, who also hosts and directs.
CraveTV has partnered with Just For Laughs on three original specials. The partnership marks CraveTV’s first commission of original stand-up comedy, which will stream on the service in 2018 and anchor its Stand-Up Comedy Collection. Showcasing Canadian talents Debra DiGiovanni, Darcy Michael and Graham Chittenden, the specials were taped at Toronto’s Berkeley Church during the JFL42 Festival.
Bell Media is making Comedy Central series and specials available to Canadians on iTunes. Including more than 100 offerings, the Comedy Central Room features all 21 seasons of Much’s South Park, Nathan For You, Inside Amy Schumer, Comedy Central Roasts, Comedy Central Presents and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.
The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Opening Ceremony delivered a peak audience of 1.3 million viewers, according to preliminary Numeris data. The Opening Ceremony was the most-watched program of the day, and the #1 primetime broadcast in the A18-49 and A25-54 demos. In total, 3.1 million Canadians tuned in to some part of the broadcast. Coverage of the games culminates with CTV’s broadcast of the Closing Ceremony, headlined by Bruce Springsteen, alongside Bachman & Turner, Bryan Adams, Coeur de Pirate, and Kelly Clarkson on Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. ET.
Portfolio Entertainment has signed its first-ever deal with China’s iQiYi Kids video-on-demand platform. 86 half hours of the Toronto-based producer/distributor’s animated preschool series CITH and DOKI, will run on the service in Mandarin, subtitled in English. The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That! (60 x 30’) and DOKI (26 x 30’) both air throughout Asia.
The Bell Fund is launching the first of four pilot programs, created in response to the CRTC’s update of the Policy Framework for Certified Independent Production Funds. The Fund’s first deadline will be Nov. 13 for its Short-Form Digital Series for non-fiction which covers factual, lifestyle and documentary programming with a maximum length of 15 minutes per episode and a minimum of six episodes. To be eligible, a producer now has more platform options, including hybrid VOD services and digital platforms accessible to Canadians. The next deadlines are Feb. 1 for the Development Programs (Slate/Webdocs) and May 7 for the second deadline of the Short-Form Digital Series, fiction (comedy, drama). Details at bellfund.ca.
The CRTC says the presence of RT (Russia Today) on Canadian cable is not under review, despite being labelled a propaganda tool of the Russian government by U.S. intelligence. RT was approved for Canadian distribution in 2009.
The CRTC has approved Canadian distribution of Greek-language general interest and news channel Star International. Odyssey Television Network Inc. was behind the application.
François Girard’s Hochelaga, Land of Souls (Hochelaga, Terre des Âmes) will represent Canada in the race for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards on Mar. 4. The film, due for release this fall, looks at several centuries of Montreal history through an archeological dig after a sinkhole opens up under Percival-Molson Stadium in Montreal.
Three Canadian productions have received International Emmy Award nominations. In the Arts Programming category, Hip-Hop Evolution – The Foundation, from Banger Films; The Amazing Gayl Pile, LaRue Entertainment for Short Form Series; and 30 Vies – Isabelle Cousineau, Aetios Productions, nominated in the Telenovela category. The awards will be handed out Nov. 20 in New York.
Boat Rocker Media has acquired Toronto production and distribution company Proper Television and Proper Rights. Proper will continue to operate as an independent business unit, while the rights and distribution business is being consolidated into Boat Rocker Rights, the company’s global distribution arm, adding over 2,200 half hours of content to its catalogue. Reporting to Michel Pratte, CRO of Boat Rocker Media, Lesia Capone and Cathie James take over as co-presidents of Proper, providing day-to-day executive leadership and production oversight. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) says cell phone video footage of a school stabbing in Abbotsford, BC should not have aired on Global BC and CTV Vancouver newscasts on Nov. 1, 2016. The CBSC has concluded that use of the video was an unnecessary depiction of violence under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Violence Code and offended the dignity of the victims contrary to the RTDNA Code of Journalistic Ethics. The CBSC received numerous complaints from viewers of both stations. It also concluded that Global violated the code provision requiring broadcasters to warn viewers in advance of showing scenes of graphic violence.
Bell Media has officially killed MuchFact and BravoFact, leaving a gap in how Canadian music videos are funded. Both programs had faced an uncertain future since May when the CRTC dropped the requirement for Bell to fund them. MuchFact had handed out more than $100 million since 1984, funding about 9,000 projects, while BravoFact funded short-form scripted projects. Bell Media president Randy Lennox suggests with most music videos now viewed online, streaming services could pay to fund them.