Canada's History snags 'American Pickers'
Will produce local version of junkyard scavenger seriesHere's a first: Canada's History Television cable channel has acquired the "American Pickers" format from Canuck producer Cineflix Productions to produce a local version of the junkyard scavenger series.
After the success of "American Pickers" on History stateside, the Canadian cable channel is to produce 13 one-hour episodes of "Canadian Pickers," based on a format from Montreal-based Cineflex.
The Canadianized version of the American series will debut in Spring 2011, and follow local pickers Sheldon Smithens and Scott Cozens as they search Canadian backyards and basements for unlikely gems and forgotten national treasures.
The History Television format deal is the latest indication Canadian producers like Cineflex are foregoing the traditional path of snagging a Canuck license fee before selling a series into the U.S. market.
Elsewhere, indie producer White Pines Pictures, which last month secured a blind script development deal with CBS for an ensemble cop drama, is close to inking a deal for a Canadian network as a co-producer.
Canuck producers traditionally first secure a commitment from a Canadian TV network for a homegrown drama before flying to Los Angeles to possibly bring a U.S. broadcaster on board to complete their project financing.
But that has changed as Canadian broadcasters retrenched during a deep ad industry downturn in 2009, and began to commission fewer series with lower license fees from Canuck producers.
That in turn forced Canadian TV producers to look beyond their home market for broadcasters willing to acquire their series.