Canadian TV biz feels cash pinch


Falling ad revenue and shrinking programming budgets continue to take a toll on the Canadian TV industry.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said late Tuesday that it is pulling the plug on "Fashion File," its long-running fashion industry newsmagazine, and putting the daytime lifestyle talker "Steven & Chris" on hiatus next season.

The cuts, prompted by a growing ad revenue shortfall at the pubcaster, will cost six permanent and 28 contract positions.

The CBC also will consider deeper job and programming cuts at a board meeting next week in the wake of federal heritage minister James Moore confirming that Ottawa will not bail the broadcaster out of its current budgetary shortfall.

Rival CTV also continued its cost-cutting ways this week, firing 24 local TV station employees who feed news segments to "Canada AM," the network's flagship morning news show.

CTV also is canceling "First News," the 6-6:30 a.m. show produced out of Montreal. Three jobs will be lost, and a fourth vacant position will go unfilled.

Uncertainty at Canwest Global Communications, which is shedding assets to service a growing debt load, has led indie producers to halt production on their shows until the broadcaster signs season-renewal contracts. (partialdiff)