Friday, 22 January 2016

The Chopping Block: Honorable Mentions

Having already covered the major broadcasters, now we get to the bottom of the barrel.

FXX Canada
This network should have never been created, not north of the border nor south, but at least the American version has carved out a hole for itself. FXX followed the template set by the likes of TNT and USA Network; people came for acquired fare, but stayed for originals like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and The League. However, what REALLY drew in viewers was its blockbuster acquisition of The Simpsons and the legendary marathon that followed. Those who stuck around after that were rewarded with the likes of You're the Worst and the new Animation Domination block.

The Canadian version did not have the same success story. Before the American channel could even find its footing, Rogers launched its half-assed, medicore, domestic knockoff with barebone offerings on April 1, 2014. How's that for a joke? The handful of shows Rogers owned the rights to were constantly cycled around between FXX and FX Canada in a desperate attempt to find ratings; they even aired original shows meant for FX! And no, FXX doesn't air any of the ADHD shows. Rogers only has rights to new shows produced by Fox-owned studios that premiered after the launch of FX Canada. That means no Justified, no Archer, and thankfully, no Anger Management. As for movies, unlike Showcase, FXX Canada only had about twelve films, yet they aired them constantly to fill air time. 

FXX also had to rely on reruns of Murdoch Mysteries and other original fare to fulfill its CanCon quota. Rogers should be thankful they didn't completely ditch the show after it moved from Citytv to CBC Television, because neither Seed nor Package Deal ever made it past 26 episodes, meaning you'll be seeing the same shit over and over and over again. Even now the channel has to bury these shows in graveyard slots. 

Why couldn't all this shit air on FX Canada instead? Maybe its because of the weird scheduling pattern both networks uses, where the daytime lineup airs in blocks that repeat later in the day, but that would be giving Rogers too much credit. After all, this is the company that aired OLN shows and unrelated comedies on G4. Speaking of which...

G4 Canada
Even in its final years, the American version was a way better channel. From the beginning, G4 Canada blindly did whatever its southern counterpart did: from anime to shows that had nothing to do with video games or technology. On its death bed, the American version scaled back to archival fare, including the Marvel Anime series. But when the CRTC forced the Canadian network to go back to technology-themed programming, they brought in Rude Tube and some tangibly-related shows. Naturally, none of this translated well rating-wise. 

You'd think by now they would have pulled the plug on this channel, ending on a higher note than the American version did. But no, as of writing, they brought back the unrelated crap! I guess they figured since genre-protection was phasing out, no one would mind. What's the point? No one wants to watch this piece of shit anymore, so what difference would doing this shit make? This is honestly the most disgusting thing I've ever seen a network do. Sure, VH-1 might have stopped airing music videos, and Viacom's other networks might follow, but people stopped watching that shit a long time ago. 

No people, THIS is the worst. The absolute worst. 

Everything owned by Blue Ant Media.
You thought Shaw Media and Corus had a problem with recycled shit? Blue Ant Media's suite has become the epitome of some of cable's biggest problems. Recycled programming is everywhere, the prime culprits being Travel+Escape and Cottage Life. The main cause is that most of these networks overlap with each other and, surprise, Blue Ant doesn't have the budget to film that many shows for that many networks. So, if that's the case, then why bother having that many damn networks?! 

Makeful shouldn't even exist; it should have been the empty hole where BiteTV used to be. I'm not suggesting we shut down every network that doesn't rake in thousands of viewers, but as long as you're replacing an entertainment channel with yet ANOTHER damn lifestyle network, why not take the opportunity to review your portfolio and see what other networks need retooling? Ultimately, no one is going to subscribe to all of your networks. So why not make sure half of the programming on one network wasn't recycled from another network?

Really, the only Blue Ant network people actually give a crap about is Aux, by virtue of being the only music channel in Canada that actually gives a damn about music. Even that channel has been slipping; Aux has become the network where BiteTV's programming went. That's not too bad, there are other music networks internationally that air alternative programming. However, Bite was airing Party Down South and Brickleberry, the worst offerings in the reality and adult cartoon genre since Jersey Shore and Sit Down, Shut Up! Suddenly, CMT Canada and MuchMusic look a lot better.

Without a visible flagship brand to catch people's attention, and sister networks with distinctive formats to back it up, Blue Ant Media will be in a bad place by the end of the year.

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I'm all burned out. So many networks, so many damn problems. Let's Talk TV has either forced Canadian broadcasters to shape up and make some tough choices, or pushed them to be even lazier with their offerings. Sure, consumers will be the real winners, since they no longer have to pay for any of the crappy networks I mentioned if they don't want to. 

But with the networks they do want to subscribe to at risk thanks to lazy management, will it be worth it in the end?

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