CBC plans to restore some local TV news with an expanded 30-minute local news segment on CBC News Network, saying “over the course of this week and next, we will make every effort to have all of the dedicated local shows back up on the main network.” Last week, the network made the move to temporarily scale back local supper hour and late night newscasts, citing stressed resources and the need to now broadcast 35 live events a day compared to the usual eight. FRIENDS’ of Canadian Broadcasting executive director Daniel Bernhard is increasingly worried about the effect the COVID-19 pandemic will have on Canada’s journalism landscape as a whole. Read more here.
TVO is the latest newsroom to be hit by COVID-19 and resulted in sanitization of the network’s headquarters at Yonge & Eglinton in Toronto, resulting in a repeat broadcast of The Agenda with Steve Paikin on Mar. 23. Paikin has since moved to a work from home setup.
Breakfast Television has added a daily, one-hour special on Citytv stations across the country. As of Monday, Dina Pugliese, Roger Petersen and news anchor Melanie Ng are hosting a 9 a.m. ET (6 a.m. PT) show focused on conversations around COVID-19. According to a release from Rogers Sports & Media, “the focus of the daily national special is to let viewers not only act as spectators to history but participate in their own way. From calling in to sound off on how they feel, to participating in cooking and exercise demos alongside our hosts, BT is bringing fresh and entertaining content into a brand-new hour to keep the conversation going.” In Vancouver and Calgary, the new national hour airs during the local Breakfast Television morning shows, with live local news coverage continuing via an L-Bar graphic on the screen. In Toronto, it follows the original three-hour BT morning show.
CHCH-TV is expanding its news coverage during daytime hours to share live, breaking news updates from its Hamilton studio every 30 minutes between 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily. The updates are in addition to its live, local news programs, Morning Live, Inside the Story, and the Evening News at 6 & 11. CHCH is also broadcasting every live public address and press conference held by provincial and national leaders about COVID-19. Combined, CHCH’s local news coverage now totals approximately seven hours per day. In addition to cable, CHCH can be streamed live at chch.com/live. Live public addresses and press conferences are also broadcast on Facebook Live.
A COVID-19 Production Industry Task Force has been struck by the Canada Media Fund, Telefilm Canada, Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), Association of Provincial and Territorial Funding Agencies (APTFA), Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM), City of Toronto Film Office, Creative BC, Indigenous Screen Office (ISO), National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Ontario Creates, and Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC). It will collectively work together to assess the scale of the potential impact of production shutdowns on the screen-based industries, inform all levels of government, and work to ensure a strong rebound for Canada’s production sector when the pandemic subsides. It’s asking organizations to fill out a survey by Mar. 31. If you’re a television or film production company, follow this link. If you’re an interactive digital media production company, follow this link. Only one survey should be completed per organization, regardless of size. However, if your company produces both linear and interactive digital media content, complete both surveys.
The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) has announced the 2020 edition of the festival, which had been scheduled for June 14-17, won’t be going ahead. The cancellation is the first in the event’s 41-year history and follows other events either postponed or looking ahead to re-organizing in 2021, including the Cannes Film Festival, SXSW, Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB), and Canadian Music Week (CMW). All delegates currently registered will have the option to transfer their 2020 registration to next year, or receive a full refund. Organizers say the 2020 Rockie Awards International Program Competition will move forward with an international jury continuing to judge entries. How they’ll proceed hasn’t been revealed. The festival is also working on a way to continue delivering other programming, including its new fellowship program the BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media. Read more here.
Global TV and Insight Productions have ended production on Season 8 of Big Brother Canada early in light of escalating precautions around COVID-19. Scheduled to end May 21, the final episode will air Wednesday, Apr. 1 without naming a winner. The Toronto-shot reality show eliminated its live studio audience last week. Big Brother Canada sequestered its 16 contestants on Mar. 4 before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
Conan will begin airing new episodes on TBS and CTV on Mar. 30, shot remotely on an iPhone, without an audience and with guest interviews filmed via video chat. O’Brien’s production staff will remain working from home. The show has been on a pre-scheduled hiatus since Mar. 16, but amidst the pandemic, O’Brien has been filming short videos and recorded a special “Quarantine Edition” of his popular podcast Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend that was released Mar. 13. Conan airs Mon. – Thurs. at 1:30 a.m. (ET/PT) on CTV.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee returned to CTV Comedy Channel in her 10:30 p.m. ET/PT timeslot on Mar. 25 with Bee, like the rest of the country, adjusting to working from home. Executive Producer Jason Jones, Bee’s husband and quarantine roommate, is filming each 30-minute episode from a socially distant six feet away. The show has been on hiatus since Mar. 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bee has continued to entertain via her mini digital series Beeing at Home with Samantha Bee.
Corus Studios’ original series Fire Masters is returning to Food Network Canada on Apr. 16. Chef Dylan Benoit returns as host, joined by a rotating panel of expert judges and culinary personalities. Each episode will challenge three chefs to show off their grilling talents and creativity in two culinary challenges, with the last chef standing going head-to-head with one of the judges in the third and final round. This year’s competitors hail from across North America, including Toronto and Kelowna, BC.
Media Technology Monitor (MTM) has released its TV Technologies report highlighting Canadian use and ownership of ultra HD TVs, smart TVs and internet-connected TVs. Among the report highlights: Over a third of Anglophone households have Ultra HD TV sets, and report spending more time watching video content than those who don’t own one. Five in eight Anglophone households have internet-connect TVs, while the majority of Anglophone homes have smart TVs. MTM found however that a fifth of smart TV owners don’t have their set connected to the internet and just 40% use its built-in connection.
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