Friday, January 3, 2020

CBC's Future Is Murky

CBC-TV got a lot of deserved flack for mounting a ''new'' game show titled Family Feud Canada.
Remember please --here is a pubically funded network that you the tax payers fork out almost $1 billion annually and yet the choices on CBC are becoming ever narrower.
Gone from CBC are TV movies , miniseries, any sort of arts programs, Straford plays, culture; offerings..
This means no more thrilling dramatical  historical lessons like The Last Spike, no TV movies Alice Munro's  Of Girls And Women.
The last time I spoke to Emmy winning director Norman Campbell he was in cubby-hole of an office at CBC doing absolutely nothing.
True, he could look across the hall at the huge Norman Campbell Concert hall where he had never staged single production because of budgetary concerns.
When Emmy winning documentarian Harry Rasky looked for one of his "Raskymentaries" in the video store he actually found one in a boxed set of BBC titles
CBC had sold the rights to the BBC  for Rasky's masterful study of George Bernard Shaw and somehow forgot to tell Rasky about it.
Rasly's incredibly rich studies of the lives of Chris Plummer, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams lie moldering in the CBC TV archives in Mississauga.
CBC says it hasn't the money to produce boxed sets --which would sell like hot cakes --but a prominent CBC-TV veteran says "nuts" to that idea.
"CBC is afraid of opening the vaults because it would show what wonderful network it used to be," Mr. X recent;y told me.
Indeed, there was a time in the 1970s when CBC-TV hit a similar budgeting impasse and devised a series of pure reruns titled "Rearview Mirror" which ran on Sunday afternoons garnering a very respectable audience.
One of the lost and found treasures was a 1962 taped version of Macbeth done in the old Front Page Challenge setup Yonge st. and starring Sean Connery and Zoe Caldwell.
Dennys Arcand directed it and when I contacted him at his Malibu home he said "I'm so very glad it still exists. After that Sean said he was going to the Caribbean to start filming his first James Bond opus."
Let's face it the future of the CBC is not altogether clear.
I'm suggesting g the main network should abandon all commercials and become a PBS of the North.
CBC still has hits like Heartland and Murdoch Mysteries but these shows are aging fasten and newer series just haven't made it,
The revamped The National is a ratings disaster and none of the several hosts boasts the gravitas of a Peter Mansbridge or a Knowlton Nash.
CBC needs a drastic shake up or there are fears it may no longer be able to justify its swollen budget.
One last point--CBC is running its game show against perennially popular Jeopardy.
If you are a game show addict Jeopardy remains must viewing.
Go watch Family Feud Canada if you like but this weird import is not going to save Canada's struggling public network.

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