Thursday, June 6, 2019

CTV Looking To The Future

That was quite a performance CTV put Thursday afternoon to an over flood crowd of potential buyers as Canada's largest private network strutted itself.
It was the Annual Fall TV Preview and was as star studded as any I have covered.
The venue was Sony Centre an d there were dozens of stars running around and great gimmicks throughout.
We learned that friendly Mike Holmes and his son and daughter are defecting to CTV.
On a sadder note CTV's fine homegrown drama series Cardinal comes to an end after 14 more episodes.
The biggest challenge for Bell Media which runs CTV and a gaggle of other cable networks is how to balance the requirements of Canadian content requirements with the pricey but very popular U.S. imports.
I remember asking CTV former president Murray Chercover at my first CTV launch in 1970 why it was held at the CTV board room and with only 10 TV critics present.
"My big Canadian shows are Littlest Hobo and Stars on Ice," he said. "You want me to promote those?"
These days CTV can tub thump its ratings achievements and then some.
But 19 cities? Forget that. Most newspapers have dumped their TV coverage altogether and gone for wire copy.
I still say CTV's nightly news at 11 with Lisa LaFlamme is vastly superior to CBC's meandering newscast which often has no focus.
I'm not a fan, however, of the silly morning show. which replaced Canada AM.
Cancelling Canada AM was a huge mistake --here was one of the best known CTV shows around and it was dumped unceremoniously.
It was Canadian TV's first national morning show and one of the identifying markers for CTV. And I know a lot of viewers were unhappy --at 7 a..m. they wanted news and information --not Ben Mulroney chirping around.
But back in 1970 CTV had one channel on the air and that was that.
As TV Critic for The Hamilton Spectator I had 10 channels to cover.
These days the count is well over 100.
CTV is in the middle of rebranding many of its cable companies.
SPACE is becoming CTV SciFi.
The Comedy network becomes CTVComedy Channel.
Gusto becomes CTV Life Channel--guess CTV has forgotten Global once had a Life channel before it was rebranded.
What I really miss from CTV are the superb TV movies it used to make --but TV movies are missing from most networks these days. I'm told they can't be rerun because viewers tape everything these days.
However, CTV has signed a deal with Harlequin to manufacture20 TV movies and that sounds promising.
Up on the Sony Center stage dazzling array of imported stars and Canadian names strutted their stuff. The presentation was magnificent and and showed how positive Bell Media is about its future.
CTV after all gets first crack at the U.S. shows it needs to import and simulcast with the U.S. networks for huge ratings. The shows it turns down turn up on Global or Citytv.
I listened in to the chatter of the ad buyers as they muted on booze and dainties in the lobby and they were impressed. As was I.

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