U.S. series to the rescue for CBC

Looks to offset production costs, drop in ad revenue

TORONTO -- The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. looks set to buy more U.S. network series for its primetime schedule to offset dropping TV ad revenue.

CBC/Radio Canada president and CEO Hubert T. Lacroix on Thursday told the Empire Club in Toronto that his network has to "look at every option to increase our revenues," including introducing more American fare to its schedule.

The CBC was a major buyer of U.S. programming until the late 1990s when it Canadianized its primetime schedule to distinguish itself from private-sector rivals like CTV and Global Television.

But the public broadcaster in recent years has slowly added American programming such as "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" to its schedule to offset the cost of producing expensive Canadian fare.

Other options on the table include selling off TV and radio assets, increasing the CBC's commercial air-time, and "shrinking our geographical coverage" by consolidating local TV stations, Lacroix said during his address.

His remarks follow the federal government on Wednesday telling the CBC that it will not bail the public broadcaster out of a projected $65 million revenue shortfall for its current fiscal year.
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