Ivan the Terrible

Last night (technically this morning) was a historic event in Canadian Television, in a very roundabout way. Jon Stewart seemed genuinely proud that his Daily Show was now on network television, even if it was a Canadian network. And it seems to me that correspondent Samantha Bee must therefore hold the title of the most-watched Canadian comedienne currently on TV.

Unfortunately the cancellation of Open Mike with Mike Bullard, which The Daily Show replaces, marks the second strike in CTV CEO Ivan Fecan’s master plan for a Canadian late night talk show. It is an idea sound in theory but so far a disaster in practice — look no further than Friday Night! with Ralph Benmergui for further proof.

So what does Fecan do? Why, grab a hot American TV property that its Comedy Network already has broadcast rights to, of course. That way, it can crush any Canadian content that dares to compete in the same slot, including Mike Bullard himself!

Nice job, Ivan. And don’t even get me started about your wife

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Mobile phones, Linux and copyright reform. Those go together, right?
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7 Responses to Ivan the Terrible

  1. Chris says:

    Please keep in mind when I write this that I have no inside knowledge of any great Canadian plan to take over late night, nor do I have any friends that I know of that work in this area of “show biz”.

    I can’t say that I’m disappointed that Mike Bullard is not on the air; to be honest I’m not a big fan. I’m sure the show is not geared towards me either and although I occasionally liked watching some of the guest the show really wasn’t too interesting too me. I don’t think we, as Canadians are really that good at standard American format television. Every time we try it doesn’t really work. What I want to know is why do we try?

    Many of the successful shows to come out of Canada have been shows with something a little different. Keep in mind that I measure success not just by the paycheck but the quality. Why should we be sad that Mike is moving and the great late night snooze fest lives only in the US.

    I am disappointed that it was replaced by a show that I’m paying extra cable charges for already, particularly since it seems to have been done to save a buck. I wish more money came back to Canadian content TV, I go to live shows, film screenings and all kinds of events only to find that much (not all) of the content people really want to put on our TV’s is stuff that is stuck in the US mentality.

    Good entertainment is good entertainment no matter what. I have nothing against American television owning the market on late night talk shows. We should not try and compete but instead try and create, if a talk show comes out of it great, but I still remember turning off American TV to watch Kids in the Hall on CBC, and I still turn off American TV to watch This Hour.

  2. Chris, you had me ‘til This Hour… 😉

    The unfortunate fact is that Canada can’t hope to compete with the Hollywood entertainment behemoth, unless our culture has some sort of protection from our government. Anyone who disagrees with me is welcome to submit a Tonight Show-sized budget to Telefilm Canada and see how far they get!

  3. Chris says:

    I guess I’m just naive, I watch a lot of Canadian television because I enjoy it. I think I might just be frustrated with television today, I’ve tried to sit through some of the schlock on American television and it ticks me off. What makes me nervous is when Canadian Network, rather than be original, make Canadian copies of successful American shows.

    These executives should go to comedy clubs and theaters and look for not only the next star but also the next idea. But I guess your right, the minute anything here in Canada makes it big; some network in the US lays down the bucks and takes it over. I don’t really know how the government can really protect against something like that.

  4. Quite the contrary, actually… The biggest successess that I can think of in Canadian Comedy Television have had financial assistance from our friends down south—I’m talking SCTV and Kids in the Hall.

    I think there just needs to be more Canadian content is all. Global is barely doing their part—Train 48 is a repackaged Australian flop that’s doing better than the original. CBC is making a decent comedic effort, if you’re a senior. 😉

    And CTV? Two words: Canadian Idol!

  5. Chris says:

    I guess your right, I guess it’s up to the networks to play more Canadian content, but it’s also up to the viewers to watch it. It sends out a message when people watch a Canadian show instead of an American show. What I want to know is when is a show Canadian and when is it American. Kids in the Hall although made in Canada by Canadians was paid for by Americans the same with Tom Green in the later part of his career.

    So if I enjoy a Canadian show, and it becomes very successful, and American network buys it starts to produce it for HBO or something. If I continue to watch it, is it still considered Canadian content? Am I still supporting a Canadian show if Americans pay for it?

  6. Ross McKie says:

    What always troubles me is the lack of investment in talent, the–what seems to be– almost total disregard of and lack of pride for the talent that comes from our stages across this mammoth land mass. I’m thinking, of course, of The Second City, Loose Moose, endless small theatre talents (One Yellow Rabbit out west; the works of a Darren O’Donnell et al. and etc.) and wondering why I rarely see any of these faces on our network television. Why are they not courted?

    I had the pleasure of attending the screening of a new show that I was barely involved in entitled, “Slings and Arrows” for TMN. This show, which highlights the writing prowess of SC alum. Bob Martin, Kids in the Hall alum. Mark McKinney and everything alum., Soulpepper Theatre backbone Susan Coyne–this show is stupendous: it’s smart, economical in its humour quotient, wonderfully acted and a hilarious premise as it sends up the tender kookiness of Stratford and its players. If we could investigate here and discover the arc of this show’s development then we might learn something…and here’s the crux of my point, dear readers, Canadians behave as regionalists even in the same region. We are one window shutter away from becoming isolationists. In America they seem to learn from each other. They watch and learn and then cross-hybridize in the industry– talent moves about like horny electrons unconsciously bouncing off network nuclei (ouch!). And why is “Slings…” only at TMN? Is it the racey dialogue? I’ve watched explicit British fare on CBC…

    Although I was very briefly involved at SC, my path(s) have rarely crossed with any of those talented individuals, for example; and yet, we all seem to be working…somewhere…out there… The dynamics of developing community is integral to TV and Film Development. Out from your creative hovels!

    All the Best.

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