Actors Trash Canuck Broadcasters For Favoring American Over Local Shows In Fall 2011 Schedules

8:20 AM PST 06/03/2011 by Etan Vlessing
Michael Lavine/FOX

ACTRA, Canada's actors union, questions why local broadcasters are necessary if all they do is air the same American shows like Terra Nova and The X-Factor that Canadians can watch on cross-border U.S. TV stations.

TORONTO – All those new and returning U.S. network series on Canadian primetime TV this fall are not impressing local actors.

“Once again I have to ask why do we even have Canadian conventional broadcasters if all they’re going to show is the same stuff we can see on the U.S. networks?” Ferne Downey, national president of ACTRA, representing 22,000 performers, said after CTV, Global Television and Citytv rolled out their Fall campaigns to Canadian ad buyers this week.

The actors’ union raised the alarm on new shows like The X-Factor, Terra Nova and Pan Am pushing homegrown Canadian comedies and dramas to the margins of primetime schedules north of the border.

By ACTRA’s reckoning, Global Television has no Canadian drama in primetime on its Fall schedule. And CityTV, CTV and CTV Two each have one hour in their schedules, which are otherwise filled with new and returning U.S. shows like Glee, Desperate Housewives and Modern Family.

Canadian broadcasters traditionally fulfill regulatory obligations by airing homegrown shows in late night slots, or on the weekend, to give U.S. network shows pride of place on their primetime grids.

And new rules from the CRTC, the country’s TV watchdog, will allow broadcasters to shift even more Canadian drama to their cable channels, leaving their conventional TV schedules to air Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS shows in the same time slots they hold south of the border.

“Canadian broadcasters are nothing more than simulcasters,” Downey added, a reality that doesn’t disappoint studio suppliers with whom the Canucks recently did big business during the Los Angeles Screenings.

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