TV/Film Headlines – CRTC increases PNI spending requirement for big TV owner groups


The CRTC has increased the programs of national interest (PNI) spending requirement for both the English and French-language large television ownership groups. The move comes in response to the federal government’s Order-in-Council, asking the CRTC to reconsider its May 2017 decision in which it cut the minimum PNI expenditure requirement to a uniform five per cent of revenue for Bell, Corus and Rogers – almost half the previous requirement of nine to 10 per cent. Unions representing Canadian screenwriters, directors and others, blasted the decision, saying the move was equivalent to slashing the broadcasters’ investment in Canadian programming by $200 million over five years. With the percentage now based on historical expenditures, Bell’s requirement will increase from five per cent to 7.5 per cent of the previous year’s revenues. Corus’ spending requirements will jump to 8.5 per cent, while requirements for Rogers will remain at five per cent. For the French-language market, the CRTC will now require each group to make significant investments in the creation of French-language programs, representing 75 per cent of its Canadian programming expenditures for original French-language programs starting in 2019/20. Read more here.

HBO Canada will present the world television premiere of You Are Here: A Come From Away Story on the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 9 p.m. ET. The new 84-minute Bell Media Original documentary tells the story of how the small community of Gander, Newfoundland welcomed more than 6,500 ‘Come From Aways’ on Sept. 11, 2001. Following its broadcast premiere, the documentary will join CraveTV’s lineup in 2019.

Bravo will give new procedural drama Gone its North American debut on Sept. 16. The 12-episode, one-hour drama takes over the Sunday night timeslot from spy drama Killing Eve, which has its finale on Sunday, Sept 9. Based on the novel One Kick from author Chelsea Cain, Gone follows “Kit Kick” Lannigan (Leven Rambin), the survivor of a highly publicized child-abduction case, and Frank Novak (Chris Noth), the FBI agent responsible for her rescue.

Bell Media is collaborating with and Gusto Worldwide Media to produce DNA Dinners. Hosted by ETalk Reporter Tyrone Edwards, each episode follows participants as they take an AncestryDNA test to discover their genetic origins. Chefs are then brought in to explore the cuisine and cooking techniques of each participant’s background. The 16-episode, half-hour series is currently in production in Toronto and Ottawa.

Citytv’s fall schedule is anchored by Candice Bergen’s return as broadcast news legend Murphy Brown (Sept. 27), while Kim Coates reprises his role in Season 2 of original series Bad Blood (Oct. 11). City is also set to air new dramas Manifest and A Million Little Things, in addition to new comedies Single Parents, starring Taran Killam (Saturday Night Live), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl); and The Cool Kids with comedy veterans David Alan Grier (In Living Color), Martin Mull (The Ranch), and Vicki Lawrence (The Carol Burnett Show) playing the colourful residents of a retirement community. City will air half-hour special Entertainment City: Citytv Fall Preview, on Monday, Sept. 10, hosted by Teri Hart and Devo Brown.

TELETOON’s fall schedule features four new original Canadian series: Bravest Warriors, Cupcake & Dino: General Services, Chop Chop Ninja, and Total Dramarama. Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, Super Dinosaur, and Transformers: Cyberverse also make their debuts, in addition to new episodes of The Amazing World of Gumball, We Bare Bears, Wishfart, and Teen Titans Go!

FX has unveiled its fall premiere dates led by new biker drama Mayans M.C., the next chapter in Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy saga. Also on the network’s fall sched is new dramedy series Mr Inbetween, created by and starring Australian newcomer Scott Ryan; and American Horror Story’s new crossover season Apocalypse. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia makes its return to FXX with a new season.

The Cartel, the L.A.-based indie management and production company, is opening an office in Winnipeg and says it plans to shoot half of its 2019 production slate, or up to 10 projects, in the city. Cartel Pictures Canada will focus on producing, financing and developing projects north of the border. The new division will be run by partners Stan Spry and Eric Woods, in addition to the company’s VP of Production Anthony Fankhauser.

Christopher Walken and Christina Ricci

Scythia Films’ production Percy, starring Christopher Walken and Christina Ricci, has started shooting in Winnipeg. Based on a true story, Walken plays a Canadian farmer crusading against genetically-modified crops, while Ricci takes on the role of an anti-GMO activist. Clark Johnson (The Wire, S.W.A.T., The Sentinel) directs. Roberta Maxwell, Adam Beach, Luke Kirby, Martin Donovan, Rick Aarons and Peter Stebbings round out the cast. The film is being produced by Daniel Bekerman, Ian Dimerman, Brendon Sawatzky, and screenwriters Hilary Pryor and Garfield L. Miller.

Telefilm Canada is partnering with Sámi Film Institute and Nunavut Film Development Corporation to develop a pilot project to fund an Indigenous co-production, with an aim of fostering collaboration between the different film communities in the Arctic Circle. The International Sámi Film Institute (ISFI) is dedicated to providing Sámi people with the skills and economic opportunities to develop, produce, and distribute films in the Sámi language. It also promotes cooperation and encourages productions with other Indigenous filmmakers and organizations internationally.

OUTtv is launching as a pop-up channel in South Africa this fall. In partnership with MultiChoice, OUTtv South Africa will broadcast on DStv channel 198 from Oct. 4 – Nov. 4. The Vancouver-based LGTBQI+ channel’s expansion into South Africa, follows a year of growth for the network that included the launch of OUTtv in New Zealand through TVNZ’s OnDemand platform and year-on-year growth of OUTtvGo subscriptions and monthly streams in Canada. The network also recently commissioned three new series, FAK YAASS from Bulldog Productions, Drag Heals from Border2Border Entertainment and Dr. Barry from Arcadia Content. The network has also ordered a fourth season of Mom vs Matchmaker from Go Button Media and second seasons of Never Apart from Never Apart TV and Popporn from Border2Border Entertainment.

HGTV star Bryan Baeumler is backing new home services app HeyBryan, connecting homeowners with home service providers like plumbers, painters and appliance repair people. All taskers are subject to background checks and payment is processed through the app, which is set to launch this fall for Android and iPhone.

Subscribe Now – Free!

Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 25 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.

The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.

Let’s get started right now.