Canwest Global press release (not) – hold to 1, April:
Fooled by the size of the company's debt many analysts have expected the Global television network to retrench and to become even more of a bastion of American network shows than it already is, in spite of CRTC regulations. The opposite seems to be the case as Canwest today announced that starting next season the network will only broadcast Canadian programming.
The new policy was announced by the new director of media relations for Global TV, Avril Poisson:
"Global Television is just pleased as punch to announce our new programming plan which will be effective immediately. The slogan for our network's new policy is 'Because we're Canadian and we can.' This new slogan recognises the differences between Canadian broadcasting regulations and what goes on in the United States. This new policy presents a comprehensive redirection for the network and encompasses drama, reality-competition, and something called comedy which I'm not really familiar with.
"In the field of drama we recognise that our current business model is broken. In the past we have been focussed on the first run syndication market as a way to create Canadian content without actually spending our own money. Even if we were able to sell a piece of crap show for two years it represented Canadian content and we were able to run it for years after production wrapped up. However the first run syndication market is no longer what it was thanks to things like The CW and MyNetwork TV taking our market away. So we've decided to switch our focus to co-productions with American cable networks such as FX, Showtime, MTV, TNT, Spike and so on. In fact we'll be aiming our sales at just about every network that has ever been criticized by the Parents Television Council. The shows we are producing will be gritty and real and will of course include strong language and nudity. They should produce strong ratings as they are shows that American broadcast networks can't show but aren't a problem here because we're Canadian and we can!
"This part of our drama plan won't be available to the network for between six months and a year depending on the contracts we sign with the American nets which want to present all of the episodes before they go free to air, particularly in areas such as Windsor-Detroit and Vancouver-Seattle where our stations can be picked up with an antenna by poor people who don't have cable or satellite dishes. As a stopgap measure we will reaching back into the history of the network. Back when Canwest-Global was just CKND in Winnipeg we won many many Gemini Awards, and Nellies before that with small dramas that worked as an anthology show. Sure, they only aired during the summer when no one was actually watching TV but they were cheaper than dirt to make and earned us a lot of prestige while not actually having anyone in them you'd know. We're going to make a new series of these shows and may even be able to find a market for them in places where American culture isn't really available, like Cuba. because we're Canadian and we can.
"Producing reality-competition shows are a new area for us, but from what we've observed this is an amazing growth area and we're really surprised that no Canadian producer has done anything with it. We will be licensing a couple of ideas from several producers including a Canadian Big Brother, which will be more free-wheeling, profane and sexy (that means swearing and nudity won't be censored), and a Canadian Last Comic Standing which will feature jokes that can't be used on an American show, because we're Canadian and we can. Still most of our reality-competition shows will be original to our network. We've observed that many American reality-competitions are thinly imitations of other shows that are just different enough that no one can sue. So we will be making The Great Canadian Race – a show where competitors go across Canada, from Ottawa to Lake Nipigon and from Point Pellee to Kirkland Lake (what do you mean there's more to Canada than that – that's crazy talk); The Intern in which competitors live in a Toronto loft and have internships with Global Toronto with the winner getting a job at one of our stations away from Toronto – we'll see them at work and at play. Since people like dancing shows we have Anyone Can Dance in which ordinary people instead of celebrities compete with professional partners. There's Strip Poker After Dark which is pretty much self-explanatory. And there are many more that we're not ready to talk about, but they'll be smart (well smart for reality-competition shows – these things are relative) and sexy (meaning lots of naked flesh) which is allowed because we're Canadian and we can.
"In terms of comedy, well umm, well uh, well to be honest with you we've never really done much comedy. We've got Howie Do It of course which we do because we can sell it to NBC and maybe they'll let us do Deal Or No Deal Canada again. I sincerely apologize to my American friends but that's what happens when you make a deal with the devil...or Jeff Zucker and Ben Silverman which is much the same thing. As for sitcoms, well I suppose we can steal some ideas from somewhere, but I don't suppose they'll be successful, because we're Canadian and we can't. Well at least not the people Global can afford to hire.
"So there you have Global's master plan for restoring financial viability to the network. If this doesn't work we have a few other ideas. We're looking at CRTC regulations and there may be a loophole that will allow us to fill the line-up with British and French shows because they're considered Canadian. If that doesn't work we can always sell our entire network to some sucker entrepreneur while we keep the profitable specialty cable services, because we're Canadian and we can!
"One thing is sure: this isn't not a joke."