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CRTC clears U.S. Super Bowl ads in Canada; Bell Media “extremely disappointed”

- January 29th, 2015

Canada_and_USA_Flag

Oh say, can you see the U.S. Super Bowl ads?

As of 2017, Canadians can answer, “Yes.”

That’s the year Canadians will be able to watch the American slate of Super Bowl commercials, live on their televisions during the game, rather than having to seek them out online.

So what will Canadians whine about now?

Kidding aside, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) issued the following release on Thursday:

“Ads during the Super Bowl get a lot of hype. They are an important part of the overall spectacle … For Canadian viewers this has been a problem. They don’t see the same ads as those seen in the U.S. because they are replaced with Canadian ads … The CRTC has taken action to resolve the issue. Beginning at the end of the 2016 NFL season (i.e., the Super Bowl in 2017), simultaneous substitution will no longer be allowed during the Super Bowl. Canadian viewers will see the same ads as American viewers. Until then, you can watch the American ads broadcast during the Super Bowl on YouTube’s AdBlitz channel.”

I have to admit, I got sick of Canadians complaining about this through the years, and ultimately it sounds as if the CRTC did, too.

Hey, I always would have preferred to watch the U.S. commercials as well. It’s the repetition that drives me crazy with the Canadian ads during the Super Bowl, seeing the same irritating spots over and over and over again.

But having watched numerous Super Bowls in the States, Canadians shouldn’t be fooled into thinking every American ad that airs during the game is a gem. For some Canadians, after years of pining for the U.S. ads, come 2017 the reaction may be, “Hmmm … that was much ado about nothing.”

Be that as it may, this obviously impacts Bell Media, which is the Canadian rights-holder for the NFL.

“We are extremely disappointed of course,” Bell Media vice-president of communications Scott Henderson said in a statement. “The government is damaging the future of local television in Canada while rewarding U.S. corporations over home-grown companies.

“Sure viewers will get to watch Wells Fargo ads in the Super Bowl instead of RBC, or Target and Wal-Mart instead of Canadian Tire. But those advertising dollars will go directly to American companies instead of Canadian content creators and broadcasters.

“Canadian companies will also have a diminished opportunity to market their products to Canadians watching U.S. ads for products they probably can’t buy. It’s a troubling approach for a Canadian regulator to take.”

AS FOR THIS YEAR …

With the game airing Sunday, Feb. 1 on NBC and CTV, it’s true that not many other networks offer new episodes of anything, in the knowledge that the Super Bowl is a ratings vampire, sucking the life out of innocent bystanders.

Full speed ahead to PBS, though, which is airing a new (well, new to North America, anyway) episode of Downton Abbey on Sunday night. Let’s just say there could be a fight involved that might rival anything going on between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.

But if you’re not into Downton Abbey or football, there’s really only one logical thing to do.

Endure those around you screaming at the TV and wait for the halftime show, which this year features Katy Perry (pictured below). I can’t remember where I read this – probably it was on Twitter – but some clever person pointed out that with Frozen star Idina Menzel singing the national anthem and then with Perry at halftime, this is the first Super Bowl directed specifically at seven-year-old girls.

Then you endure more screaming as people get more drunk, and wait for the primo post-Super Bowl shows: The Blacklist on NBC (as well as Global); and the season-two debut of MasterChef Canada on CTV. MasterChef Canada was pushed up a week after CTV had to yank the sitcom Spun Out from the coveted post-Super Bowl slot, in response to the voyeurism charge against one of the actors, J.P. Manoux.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv​

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MasterChef Canada replaces Spun Out post-Super Bowl on CTV, due to voyeurism charge against actor

- January 28th, 2015

Capture MCC

Dinner simply will have to be ready a week earlier than planned.

CTV has announced that the second season of hit reality competition series MasterChef Canada will air immediately following the network’s coverage of Super Bowl XLIX, Sunday, Feb. 1.

The second season of MasterChef Canada originally had been slotted for Feb. 8, with the sitcom Spun Out scheduled to air after the Super Bowl. But CTV decided to yank Spun Out after news broke about the voyeurism charge against actor J.P. Manoux.

Spun Out has a big ensemble cast, but particularly in the current climate of Jian Ghomeshi and Bill Cosby, CTV had little choice but to take action. Spun Out is on hold indefinitely.

Two women allegedly found video equipment hidden in a Toronto condo they were renting. The condo has been rented out in the past by Manoux, according to police.

As for MasterChef Canada, the premiere episode of the second season picks up after the initial rounds of the audition process. The home cook finalists enter the nerve-wracking first phase of the competition as they present their signature dishes for tasting to judges Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung and Claudio Aprile.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Building an Empire; Hit Fox drama series gets trial run on City, in addition to OMNI

- January 26th, 2015
Terrence Howard and Taraji P
Empire is moving to the City. For a night, at least.

With hit rookie drama Empire having made such an impact on network-of-origin Fox in the United States, Rogers has decided to simulcast the series on City, Wednesday, Jan. 28.

The first three episodes of Empire have aired on another Rogers channel, OMNI, but City has a bigger reach across Canada (this Wednesday’s episode will air on OMNI, too).

Whether Empire might remain on City in future weeks largely will depend on how it does this week ratings-wise, one would assume.

Empire follows Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard, above left), the legendary head of a large music company. In the early stages of a debilitating disease, Lucious is dealing with his three sons and his fresh-out-of-prison ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson, above right), all of whom are vying for his throne.

“This phenomenon that’s happening, 1,000 years ago, or 2,000 years ago, it wasn’t a phenomenon for many people of different colours to get together and enjoy their cultures,” said Howard, asked why it seems to be the right time for a drama about a black family to be a wide-scale hit.

“Right now we’re seeing people enjoy the culture of America, the culture of the world as a whole, in this show. We’re showing real life now.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv​

 

 

 

 

 

Cuthbert playing pregnant lesbian; says Phaneuf “excited” about her new role

- January 16th, 2015

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PASADENA, Calif. – So what does Elisha Cuthbert’s husband – Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf – think about this?

Cuthbert (above left), a well-known Canadian actress, is playing a lesbian in her new NBC series One Big Happy, which debuts March 17. A pregnant lesbian, no less.

“My husband was really excited,” Cuthbert said when I asked her about it. “I had taken some time off (following the cancellation of her previous sitcom Happy Endings) and we got married and I enjoyed the year with him together before taking on anything new.

“And then this (One Big Happy, executive-produced by Ellen DeGeneres) came my way. I was so excited about it, and therefore he (Phaneuf) was excited about it.

“Without his support, it would be nothing.”

Does this role present any specific challenges for Cuthbert?

“No, it’s like playing a human being,” Cuthbert said. “(The character) is a little dorky at times and has a great collection of blazers. I love the wardrobe, let me say that.”

With Cuthbert’s acting schedule and Phaneuf’s playing schedule, the couple must be the world leader in frequent-flyer miles.

“We see other actually a lot, I make sure that we do,” Cuthbert said. “I make sure that I take time off. I focus on the show but once the show is over I don’t do very much else, because it’s family time. So we do, we make a lot of time for each other.

“I’m livin’ the dream, I get to be home in Canada and be here (in Los Angeles) and have a career and it’s wonderful. But I am on a plane a lot.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

 

FX Canada is re-branding as simply FX

- January 13th, 2015

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FX Canada is getting shorter in the hopes of long-term benefits.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 14, Rogers is re-branding FX Canada, dropping the “Canada” to be known simply as “FX.”

With the bulk of the Canadian channel’s marquee programming – The Strain, The Americans (pictured above), American Horror Story, etc. – airing on the same day as FX in the United States, the change is being made for the sake of simplicity and consistency. Also to save a few characters on Twitter, perhaps.

The Canadian version of FXX, also owned by Rogers, actually never has had the word “Canada” attached to it, so that’s another consistency with the new FX.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv