OLN makes appeal for scripted programs

Canadian lifestyle/sports channel in bid to stay competitive

TORONTO -- Outdoor Life Network is the latest Canadian broadcaster to ask the country's TV regulator to allow it to air more U.S. scripted fare.

OLN parent Rogers Communications, in an application to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, proposed a broadcast license amendment to enable the lifestyle/sports cable channel to air more so-called category 7 programming, which includes scripted dramas, comedies, telefilms and theatrical features.

"In today's television environment, viewers expect more variety in the types of programs they get from their television services," Rogers said in its application.

OLN, which airs such marquee sporting events as professional rodeo and the Tour de France cycling race, also wants to begin airing more so-called "stick and/or ball sports," including hockey, baseball, football, basketball and tennis, on as much as 15% of its schedule.

In 2004, the CRTC last renewed the license for OLN, and at the time allowed the cable channel to air category 7 programming in only 5% of its lineup, and further stipulated that it be exclusively Canadian programming.

Last week, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. also signaled it might have to introduce more U.S. programming to offset falling TV ad revenue.