Canadian actors to protest U.S. TV purchases

Group to rally, urge b'casters to buy more homegrown shows

TORONTO -- Canwest Global Communications Corp. is to draw top Canadian TV stars to its fall 2010 schedule rollout on Tuesday, not to praise the domestic broadcaster, but to protest its recent Los Angeles Screenings purchases.
ACTRA Toronto, the local branch of Canada's actors union, on Monday issued a call to its members to rally outside the Hazelton Hotel in Yorkville as top Canwest Global execs unveil their latest American TV buys to the national media.

Leading Canadian actors Eric Peterson, Gordon Pinsent, Leah Pinsent and Colin Mochrie will be in attendance to urge Canwest Global and other Canadian broadcasters to buy Canadian shows as they pitch domestic advertisers on their recent American buys this week in Toronto.

Canwest Global came away from the L.A. Screenings with a slate of CBS Studios product, including the remake of "Hawaii Five-O" for Mondays at 10 p.m., and another package from 20th Century Fox led by the buzz-worthy "Ride-Along."

ACTRA national president Ferne Downey last week criticized domestic broadcasters for stuffing their upcoming fall schedules with rookie U.S. shows as they push local Canadian shows to the fringes of their primetime schedules.

"They've been packing their schedules tight with U.S. programming and ready-to-go promotion packages while enjoying the benefit of protection from foreign competition. Let's hope they surprise us with lots of Canadian programs at their upfronts," Downey said.

Canwest Global and rival Rogers Media will make their glitzy pitches to domestic advertisers Wednesday, followed by market-topper CTV holding its upfront presentation Thursday.