Thursday, 16 April 2015

RE: Corus gains Canadian rights to Disney Channel content
I just heard that DHX Media and Disney are calling it quits, which means the Family Channel will never have to air Disney Channel's tweenage crap again! However, Corus Entertainment now owns the rights to Disney Channel and Disney XD's programming and plan on launching, god help us all, a Canadian version of Disney Channel later this year!

The news is bittersweet for me because, as much as I like Girl Meets World, Disney cartoons, and virtually everything on Disney XD (except most the sitcoms, of course), the rest of Disney Channel's programming is so godawful and the Canadian version of Disney XD has become nothing but a rerun farm of that crap. It's very exiting that the channel that was originally licensed as "Family Extreme" will get a reboot and, hopefully, better shows.

On the other hand, it's bad enough that Corus already owns Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and their Canadian counterparts, but now they get to add Disney Channel to the mix. When CTV bought TSN, the CRTC forced them to sell Sportsnet because they couldn't own two major sports networks, just like they did when they bought CHUM and were forced to sell Citytv. So excuse me if I find it farfeched that the CRTC will allow Corus to launch another kids network, when they already own four!

It get worse. If they can't get away with owning five kids networks, they might just have to incorporate Disney Channel's crap onto YTV's lineup. That's a fall from grace if I ever saw one: YTV goes from weird shows, anime & teen dramas, to low-budget kid-coms and Disney Channel crap. At least Teletoon would get the mercy of only airing Disney's cartoons; they already air Marvel Universe, and I wouldn't mind them throwing Star Wars Rebels into the mix.

But I just don't see myself getting behind this. The last thing Canadian networks need is another monopoly, especially when the pick-and-pay revolution is right around the corner.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The Problem With Youth Networks

I've been wanting to get this off my chest. Forget YTV for a second, let's talk about MTV2 Canada again, because, quite frankly, you know how I feel about that channel. Whatever YTV has done to deserve it's heat (ie alienated older audiences, produced crappy Spongebob-knockoffs, etc), MTV2 deserves just as much.

Razer had everything that I could ever want in a speciality service, it had diverse programming: comedies, teen dramas, anime, music shows, extreme sports, and some really good movies. They carried over most of that stuff to its rebrand as MTV2, but then slowly devolved into the crappy waste of space that they are now. I guess it's because MTV2 targets a more older demographic than Razer did, but I'd rather not give those scumbags at Bell Media any sort of sympathy; that belongs to G4.

You got to understand, shows about technology and gaming are every bit a money pit as shows related to music. It's not like you just create a channel that shows nothing but game trailers and expect people to watch; music videos, maybe. That's why G4 did what it did, and that's why G4techTV, to distinguish it from the American version, also did what it did, but better. By incorporating X-Play and Attack of the Show with the shows produced by The Electric Playground, G4techTV was able to build an audience of teens and young adults and capitalize on it without violating their licence.

They had adult animated series, anime, and comedies, all of which were related to technology or gaming. If it sounds too good to be true, that's because it was. You see, the problem with G4techTV was that it was way too faithful to it's American counterpart. They got rid of Anime Current and replaced with ADd, then threw in a bunch of shit that also didn't have anything to do with technology. It's got so bad that the CRTC had to intervene; what you see on G4 nowadays is the aftermath, and it ain't pretty.

I don't need to say anything about YTV that anyone my age hasn't already said. Teletoon is better, it just is. Sure, with The Haunting Hour, My Babysitter's a Vampire, and now the original drama, Open Heart (from the makers of Degrassi), they're in a slightly better place then they were before. But even if they bring back Bionix, which they REALLY need to do, it won't change the fact that the only good shows on YTV come from Nickelodeon. You might as well watch the Canadian version of Nick, hell, you might as well watch BBC Kids: now that's a network I'd let my kids watch.

At this point, it seems MTV would be a better network to watch, which I find very depressing. Is it any wonder why no one watches TV anymore? This shit ain't worth it, not when I can watch better stuff on Netflix.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Another Pointless MuchMusic Rant...

I have no problem with MuchMusic's current direction. Compared to the crap the American networks did, I find it a nice change of pace. I certainly didn't complain when they got rid of The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars and I complained less when they aired The Cleveland Show instead. I like what they're doing; what I don't like is why. Ratings.

Let's talk original programs. For the record, The Wedge was hands down the best show on Much; Video on Trial hasn't been good since CHUM was bought out. Also, if I want to watch an awards show that panders to tweens, I'd watch the Teen Choice Awards, not the MMVAs. It doesn't matter now anyways. Thanks to cutbacks, Much will never produce another show again. You know you've hit rock bottom when you can't even afford to produce one of the cheapest shows ever made.

Much would much rather air Comedy Central's shows then produce their own. The problem with that is, it just makes you want to watch Comedy Central instead. With the exception of Tosh.0, @midnight, and maybe South Park, all those shows should be on The Comedy Network. I don't like all three of these shows but, given this is a "pop culture" network we're talking about, at least THAT makes sense.

Look, Much, you already got The Tonight Show, Conan, The Simpsons, Community, and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air in regular airings. All you needed to do was make better use of them. You didn't need to air Jimmy Kimmel Live reruns, TBS sitcoms, or no-name game shows to get more viewers. If you REALLY need something for late night, or some extra ratings in non-peak hours, why don't you "play some more damn videos?!"

...How is it that TSN isn't this bad?

10 Things You Should Know About

1. I know it sounds strange for someone who enjoys watching Spartacus: Blood and Sand to worry about what's on Teletoon. After all, it's no Cartoon Network. But, between Nerd Corps new series, Endangered Species, and the new version of Inspector Gadget, I'd say these are Teletoon's best shows in a LONG time.

2. Vice and Bloomberg are launching new networks later this year. More importantly, G98.7 FM (CKFG) is launching a new television network later this year.

3. MuchMusic is launching a new multi-channel network on YouTube. Great, another reason to hate MuchMusic AND YouTube.

4. Pick-and-Pay will be a thing. Yay!

5. Fuse is rebranding as a pop culture/entertainment/lifestyle network. Been there, Done that, Fuck that.

6. Toonami has launched a new channel in India. Yet, the main block on Adult Swim is getting shorter. I know I shouldn't worry but, one word: Bionix.

7. Hulu is now available in Canada ...and April Fool's was five days ago.

8. Showcase got a makeover to celebrate their 20th Anniversary. They also replaced the old voice announcer with the guy from MysteryTV.

9. G4 Canada was launched in HD. In other news, people still watch G4.

10. I got nothing

Friday, 3 April 2015

Have I Mentioned That Canadian Networks Suck?

...If I hadn't, then I was too busy slamming Bell Media. They truly are the catalyst for everything wrong with Canadian television today. From the moment they bought out CHUM, everything went down the shitter, and when they destroyed Astral Media, everything went to hell. Of course, the reasons why Canadian networks suck are more of a joint effort. Let's back up a bit, shall we?

In the beginning, it wasn't a monopoly, there were a plethora of companies with their own speciality services. YTV pitted their Nickelodeon-inspired weirdness against the predominately unreal Teletoon. MTV was launched in Canada to steal MuchMusic's thunder. TSN and Sportsnet traded blows, and owners, even when they shared the same building. Then, the fun really started when The Score came on to the scene, with WWE programming in tow.

Canadian programming was in the spotlight. Whether it was the indie films on Showcase, the innovative series on The Comedy Network, or the unique animated shows that graced Teletoon from dawn till dusk. It wasn't just about American imports, it was also about international programming. Going back to Teletoon, some of their best shows were made by/with studios from around the world. Going back to YTV, if you weren't into 15/Love, you were too busy watching Naruto.

Fast forward to today. With all the money broadcast networks gained in simulcasting American dramas, you'd think they spend some on developing new Canadian shows. Instead, they spend it on more American shows, and I mean American shows. Though, in recent years, it would seem as though Rogers and Shaw have tried to reverse this trend. But I can tell you this much, locking away your content on a cable-exclusive steaming service won't help anyone.

Exclusivity deals turned speciality channels into cheap knock-offs of American brands; literally, in the case of the current MTV Canada. YTV canned many of their interesting shows and alienated older audiences to become an even crappier version of Nickelodeon, in spite of a local version already on the air. Cartoon Network has recovered from an infamous period of network decay, and has actually helped elevate the animation genre in the process; Teletoon continues to produce cheap fodder for kindergärtners and man-children.

This is because Corus owns both networks and they mainly produce programs for women & children, leaving more mature programming to other broadcasters. On the other hand, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network are owned by separate companies, with separate goals, and separate budgets. You see the problem here? If Teletoon was owned by someone other than Corus, they wouldn't follow in YTV's footsteps, they would try something different.

Nowadays, and I just realized this now, it's not a competition any more; it's a turf war; with everyone and everything caught in the crossfire. Since all of Canadian television boils down to just three companies, and they all own about twenty television services; they don't have the money to produce their own shit, so they just buy more shows from the U.S. Canadian shows take a back seat to American shows, to the point were, in the case of YTV, they become so low quality, the American shows are the only ones worth watching.

Hence, the popularity of the internet, streaming services, and the trend of cord-cutting. Because why complain about YTV not airing anime, when I can watch that shit anytime, anywhere? Why complain about Much's ignorance towards music, when I can fire up VevoTV? Why bother watching crappy Canadian networks, when online services are providing a platform for shows by people who don't want to play it safe? That's all the motivation I need.

In a decade or two, the broadcasters will realize they can't have their cake and eat it too, the CRTC will realize how broken telecommunications have become and, with a little help from consumers, things will get better. Until then, here's to the new Daredevil series on Netflix.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

How to Create a Modern Music Channel

Music videos don't bring in ratings. Music-related shows are boring to watch. So what do you do? You bring in a bunch of shows that people like to watch yet, at the same time, have nothing to do with music. That's the general strategy of so-called music networks nowadays. You see, anyone who isn't a metalhead will know that the days of MTV being a music network have LONG gone. Nowadays, it's the definitive youth entertainment network airing a broad range of documentaries, dramas & comedies, lifestyle series...and shitty reality shows. 

The same can be said for every other network north and south of the boarder. MTV2 is a young male version of MTV, VH1 is a pop culture network for adults, Much is a pop culture network for youth, and M3 is an entertainment network. Fuse, after years of fighting off decay, looks like it will give up after it merges with NuvoTV. At least they have the excuse of nobody watching the channel; proving my point that music networks are as obsolete as video game and technology networks. It's too niche a genre to make a profit. That's the ultimate paradox: music networks have to broaden their programming scope, but they take it too far!

Fast forward to today, Revolt is emerging as, true to it's tagline, "The New #1 Name in Music". That's because Revolt is playing it safe. When it comes to non-music programming, they focus on topics that are of actual relevance to their audience. Hell, long before Revolt, I considered CMT to be what Fuse should have been like. Take a close look, notice how some of the shows CMT has aired, if not related to country music, relate to the country lifestyle. Dukes of Hazard, Reba, The Broken Skull Challenge? Don't tell me you didn't notice the pattern? For crying out, they even play more music videos than VH1!

Of course, I have to bring up Aux and Bpm:tv, because, not counting the Much spin-offs, they are the last real music networks in our country; the rest are essentially entertainment networks that also play music videos. However, Aux and Bpm are undoubtedly supported by our broken television landscape, where networks that, for all accounts, should be yanked off the air (MTV2 Canada) persist thanks to cable packages. Once pick-and-pay becomes a reality, these channels may have to change things up, perhaps become no better than Much or M3, otherwise their days will be numbered.

So, taking all of this into account, how do you create a music channel without transforming it into another MTV or Much knock-off? Do you rely on music videos? Do create music-related shows that resonate with your audience? Maybe you should mix things up; find an equilibrium between music and entertainment, with music on the dominant end.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

RE:Zayn Malik quits One Direction, but boy band to continue with 4 members
Normally, I would be indifferent to crap like this, except for when I can talk shit about metalheads, hipsters, and tweens, but I just gotta speak my piece. Modern boy bands, unlike the singing groups of old, are artificial celebrities created for the sole purpose of selling shitty music to their equally shitty fans. As such, they are role models and have an image to uphold. All it takes is one moment, one scandal, one tiny controversy for it to fall apart; and that moment has finally arrived. Zayn Malik has just screwed the OneDirectoners.

I can't say I blame him. After all, if I was accused of cheating on my fiancĂ©e and caught on video doing drugs, the "stress" would get to me before I got in the limo. I wish I could say things are about to look up for him. After all, he is quitting a boy band. The only wiser decision would be to not join one in the first place! In all seriousness though, his idiot fans will forget about him faster than you can say Ark Music Factory, but it's gonna be years before the rest of the world forgets.

He might have a shot at a normal life if he stays off the grid. No social media, no talk show appearances, no nothing! Otherwise, he'll be lucky enough to end up like Zac Effron. You know, the guy who will never get any respect because he did High School Musical? Let this be a lesson to you wannabe music stars out there. Popularity is garbage and fans are morons. It doesn't matter if it's pop or rock, word of mouth is the only piece of hype you need. In other words, "Keep Your Hopes Up High and Your Head Down Low"

....Best Song Ever was One Direction's best song ever because it was their only good song...ever.
Come. At. Me.