Digital channels struggling at start of third year on cable and satellite TV
TORONTO (CP) - Year No. 3 for the digital TV channels and it's still slow going, while the older, analogue specialty services continue to survive by taking up the slack with popular shows imported from the U.S. and unavailable on conventional networks.
Depending on who you talk to, the so-called diginets - everything from Animal Planet to PrideVision - are barely surviving or doing better than expected.
The digital tier lost one channel in recent months - Corus's heavy-metal-music Edge TV - but at least two more are promised this fall, Global's jazz channel Cool TV and Craig Media's all-western Stampede. Meanwhile, the older specialties are still the place to go to get the good stuff that can't be picked up over the air, at least not legally.
Bravo debuts the new season of Sex & the City on Sept. 19 (it's already under way on HBO in the U.S.). Showcase is starting from the beginning with HBO's three-year-old hit Six Feet Under. The premium channels the Movie Network and Movie Central will offer HBO's new chiller mini-series Carnivale, Showtime's Dead Like Me and Paul Gross's Shakespearean-theatre satire Slings & Arrows.
Meanwhile, Michael Burns, program director for the Documentary Channel, says it's not doing badly at all in terms of audience. In fact, he says, the digital channel is ahead of the seven-year projections when it started that fateful month of September 2001, when it was forecast that the digital tier offerings would lose money for at least five years. Burns says the channel is among the top 10 of diginets.
"We're very close to break-even and doing better than we thought we would," he says without providing specific numbers. "We are losing less money now."
Burns predicts that when personal digital recorders, like the TiVo set-top box, catch on, that will really drive viewers to the tier.
Conceding that the nostalgia channels, the ones carrying old movies and TV series, are still among the most popular on the tier, he says that cannot last and broadcasters are going to have to realize that to stay in business for the long term they have to learn to create their own programming.
"We must develop skills where we can entertain our audience and we don't have to depend on acquisitions. Who knows whether the price of exclusive rights of those things is going to go through the roof?
"Advertising is relatively flat but the cost of buying really exciting programs is tripling. You can't presume that what you need to entertain your audience is always going to be available. You must make it yourself."
CTV president Rick Brace says his network's string of diginets is a bit behind what was expected in terms of audience size.
"I'm not as satisfied," he says. "I think advertising continues to be a concern."
The country's cable and satellite carriers - never particularly fond of having to make space for the scores of channels that launched digitally in 2001 - also stirred up a hornet's nest in June.
They filed a formal request with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to import 17 prime American channels, everything from HBO to ESPN to the Disney Channel.
The plan was two-fold: first, package the popular forbidden-fruit imports with the new diginets to help sell the package. Second, combat the nagging problem of satellite piracy by tearing down the invisible wall that seeks to keep the HBOs and Showtimes on the U.S. side of the border.
But the programmers are furious. Brace says it would be disastrous for the country's entire broadcasting system.
"The competitive programming that you're bringing in would be an affront to a lot of the Canadian broadcasters, all of them, as a matter of fact.
"Our ability to produce high-quality Canadian programming is fully dependent upon carriage of a lot of what those stations would offer, and the ability to exploit the advertising revenue."
John Riley, president of the Astral system of stations, is also vehemently opposed and hopes the CRTC will turn it down.
"In our view it would be the beginning of the dismantling of the Canadian broadcasting system."
Janet Yale, president of the Canadian Cable Television Association, says the dispute represents competing visions of the future and that the whole issue deserves a public airing.
"What's going to make the system strong is if you start with what's going to keep consumers happy and loyal and on the Canadian system."
Yale admits to being taken aback by the vehement reaction of the broadcasters just as she was by the trend among viewers these days - especially younger ones - to use new consumer-friendly digital technology to get what they want, when they want it, guilt-free.
"Maybe they've missed the point of what we're trying to do here," says Yale about the broadcasters' hostility. "Certainly for some of them this is going to be helpful. It will provide a lift to the services that are in the packages."
Riley scoffs at suggestions that the import of the U.S. premium channels would succeed as an anti-piracy measure.
"Take a look at the States. The States has those services and there's piracy in the United States, an estimated one to three million people are stealing satellite signals. The bottom line is if people want to steal they do it to get something for free more than anything else."
Yale agrees there still must be enforcement against TV piracy and says it is being ramped up, but that customers should not be told that the only way to get the services they want is to leave the Canadian system and become a pirate.
"What these people are missing is that if customers leave the system altogether, there ARE no revenues that can be devoted to Cancon."
Burns says the proposal to the CRTC was so extraordinary, no one was prepared for it but that clearly networks like CTV and Global would be made nervous by it.
"When somebody throws a bomb into the school, you don't really know what's going to happen," he says.
Riley also disagrees that Canadian viewers have been at a disadvantage by being required to wait for Canadian services to replay high-profile and critically acclaimed HBO fare like The Sopranos, Sex & the City and Six Feet Under, instead of getting them as simulcasts.
"We're looking into it now, given that this has been raised as an issue," he says.
"But you don't hear people complaining about a lot of different shows. There's really only one show (The Sopranos) that is the lightning rod. We think we can overcome that."
Highlights of the 2003-2004 season on the country's specialty and digital-tier channels:
Country Canada: Debuting Sept. 2, Food Chain looks at Canadian food from the farm gate to the kitchen plate. Other shows include the flagship Countrywide, a Winnipeg-based weekday newscast; Planet in Focus, a showcase for environment-based documentaries, plus Wings Over Canada, The New Fly Fisher and CBC Country Canada Centre Stage.
Newsworld: Beginning in January, a new nightly signature interview program will showcase provocative people. Also promised, an increase in the CBC News Inquiries specials that combine the news and current affairs resources of CBC TV and radio and the Web site cbc.ca.
Comedy Network: Absolutely Fabulous returns with all-new episodes. Comedy, Inc. is a new sketch series with Roman Danylo that also airs on the main CTV network. Just for Laughs: The Lost Tapes offers performances from the famed Montreal festival. And a second season of Puppets Who Kill plus the return of South Park, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Primetime Glick and Crank Yankers.
Discovery: Monster House, hosted by comic Steve Watson, is a home improvement show based on the Monster Garage radical renovation premise. Warrior Women with Lucy Lawless investigates iconic heroines through history. American Choppers looks at the real-life antics of some California easy riders. The Ultimate looks at man's love affair with the extreme. Of course, there'll be another Shark Week and Daily Planet, the flagship science series.
Discovery Civilization: In Their Own Words offers a new series of classic David Frost interviews. Classic Albums is a new documentary series that looks at great pop musical achievements. Specials include Roots of 9/11 (premiering Sept. 11) and The New Face of Late Night with Bill Carter.
Animal Planet: In the Wild is a new 10-part Canadian series that showcases the lives of everything from bears to turtles to belugas. In Beverly Hills Vet, therapist and vet Katrina Warren treats the peculiar pets of L.A. Animal Precinct follows animal enforcement officers investigating crimes against animals. In The Jeff Corwin Experience, host Corwin dishes out wacky animal adventures. Back again will be Pet Awards and Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.
CTV Travel: The Canadian premiere of Road Trip, with hosts like John Ritter, Kevin Pollack and Jamie-Lynn Sigler. The Jim Rose Twisted Tour captures life on the road with an unusual troupe of performers. It will be paired for an Extreme Sundays package with Travel Sick, a 15-part series that takes viewers on weird and dangerous global trips. Valerie Pringle Has Left the Building returns for a second season, whisking viewers to such locations as Morocco and Australia.
Talktv: The new Sharon Osbourne Show joins current talkfests including Vicky Gabereau, Pamela Wallin, Celebrity Pets and Ebert and Roeper at the Movies. The Chatroom remains the channel's centrepiece block of interactive talk.
TSN: SportsCentre is back with hosts Rod Smith, Darren Dutchyshen, Blake Price, Jennifer Hedger and Jay Onrait. Off the Record returns with Michael Landsberg. Also about 100 NHL, 50 CFL and 15 NBA games, the PGA and LPGA tours, curling's Continental Cup, the WWE's Raw, tennis, NASCAR, Formula One and Indy races. And the remainder of a 25-game Blue Jays schedule. Plus, ESPN's Friday Night Fights.
WTSN: Women's sporting achievements including 23 season games of WUSA (Women's United Soccer Association) as well as the third annual WUSA Founders Cup Championship. More than 30 games of the 2003 WNBA season and the All-Star Game, WNBA Playoffs and Conference Finals. Six LPGA tournaments during the season and three hockey championships: The Esso Women's National, CIS Women's and the National Women's Hockey League.
NHL Network: NHL on the Fly with Dan Pollard and Todd Lewis, the network's signature show, returns. Also Molson's That's Hockey and That's Hockey 2. And more international and amateur hockey, player profiles, interview shows and youth-oriented programs.
ESPN Classic Canada: More of the world's all-time greatest sports stories. Highlights include NFL Kickoff, 1993 Blue Jays Revisited, Classic Grey Cup Week, Classic World Junior Week, Super Bowl Week, Heartbreak Weekend, Classic Masters Week, Indy 500 Weekend and CFL Kickoff Week.
Outdoor Life Network: Creepy Canada is a new series that looks at paranormal locales around the country. Scooter Trash follows two women on their cross-country motorcycle journey. Red Light Districts explores the naughty underbelly of various world cities. And Rescue X follows a firefighter competition in Ottawa.
Newsnet: Newsnet Prime with anchor Dan Matheson begins on weeknights Sept. 9, a live, one-hour prime-time package of the day's news.
ROBTv: Squeeze Play expands to one hour beginning Sept. 2, with interviews and insights from Bay Street to Parliament Hill. Anchored by Amanda Lang with former Newfoundland politician Brian Tobin and investor Kevin O'Leary. Bridget King, the computer-generated cyber reporter who debuted earlier this year, has not been renewed.
Access: Donny Osmond hosts a reincarnation of the classic Quiz show Pyramid. Help/tv returns with advice on home, career and health. And Speaker's Corner Alberta offers opinions from the booths.
Bravo: The final season of HBO's Sex & the City begins Sept. 19. The channel has also acquired the entire 100-plus HBO movie catalogue, with an original movie every Friday night. Strip Search follows men auditioning and training for a male dance troupe. Antique Ghost Show looks at haunted artifacts. Andrea Bocelli stars in the Canadian TV premiere of Madame Butterfly, filmed in Monte Carlo. And that U.S. hit, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy makeover series, debuts Oct. 4.
CourtTV Canada: Trial coverage remains the cornerstone of the channel's daytime programming. But there are also series like The Practice and Profiler, and movies like Crime of the Century and Gotti. New shows include The Fear Fighters and Forensic Evidence.
Drive-In Classics: The channel is adding TV series to its fall lineup, including Witchblade, Black Scorpion, The Immortal, Tremors the series and Tarzan: The Epic Adventures. There's also the dusk-to-dawn Friday Night Horror Marathon, Steamy Windshields on Saturday nights and Salem's Lot Sunday nights. And the traditional Halloween screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Space: The Imagination Station: Battlestar Galactica is back. The 1970s series has been reprieved in the new digital F/X age and filmed in Vancouver. Also new to Space will be Stargate SG-1, PSI Factor, Firefly, Dark Angel, The Chronicle, Tekwar and V. Returning shows include Enterprise, Angel, The Dead Zone, Alienated and Starhunter. Hypaspace Weekly, the weekly infotainment program hosted by John Llyr is back as is SpaceNews, ShelfSpace, ReelSpace and E-Space.
Canadian Learning Television: Theme nights this season include Justice Fridays (The Practice, Monk), Crime Thursdays (The New Detectives, Profiler), Science and Nature Tuesdays, History Mondays (What If?) and Book Sundays (Book-based movies and Alfred Hitchcock Presents). September is Shark Month with the Shark Files. New shows include Fit for the Wild (African documentaries), Keepers of the Forest (people who protect endangered animals) and Diagnosis Unknown (medical detectives).
MuchMusic: Much in Your Space (invading VJs make over fans' homes) and MuchTakeOver (fans get to play VJ) join established favourites MuchOnDemand, Exposed, Live(at)Much and MuchDoes.
MuchMoreMusic: Uncovered is the new celebrity expose show to join The Story Of... and the by-the-numbers star ranker, Listed. The MuchMoreMusic Marquee offers in-depth celeb interviews.
SexTV: On Sex Roundtable producers tell their stories. Carnal Knowledge is a magazine show that uses animation, short films, mini-documentaries and music. Other original productions include Losing It: The Myth of Virginity, Hidden Desires: Sex and Disability, Slap 'N Tickle: Worldwide Erotic Short-Film Showcase and SexTV's Memoirs.
Star: Action is a new show profiling top film directors. The High Price of Fame is a seven-part series that looks at the darker side of celebrity life. And It's Good to Be is a crash course in the lifestyles of the filthy rich and famous. Returning shows include Access Hollywood, E! True Hollywood Story, Wild On and Because I Said So with Maggie Cassella.
BookTelevision: All 19 of Samuel Beckett's plays in the Beckett on Film series. The U.S. National Scripps-Howard Spelling Bees. New episodes of Daniel Richler's literary TV magazine Richler, Ink. Plus re-runs of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Newsroom.
FashionTelevision: The Review highlights a different topic from the fashion world each week. Jeanne Beker's This Week in Fashion features segments on interior and industrial design, designer profiles and fashion trends. Naked in the House goes behind the scenes to look at photographers. And The Essence of Haute Couture, shot in high definition.
Showcase: The channel's big news for fall is its acquisition of HBO's Six Feet Under, beginning with season 1. Also from HBO, season 1 of Mind of the Married Man and season 3 of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. From the BBC comes Red Cap, about an elite detective unit of the Royal Military Police. And CTV's short-lived legal drama The Associates gets a second airing.
History Television: The channel takes a walk on the raunchy side with two documentary series, The History of Mistresses and History of Burlesque. From a Place Called War is a four-parter that tells stories of the Second World War via letters and anecdotes.
Food Network Canada: Jamie Oliver (The Naked Chef) returns with Jamie's Kitchen, a reality series chronicling his training of 15 would-be chefs. The Cookworks is a 13-part series hosted by chef/restaurateur Donna Dooher as she, too, coaches a group of students in a teaching kitchen. Date Plate takes two singles, each with a $50 shopping budget and asks them to plan and cook a meal.
HGTV: In Trash to Treasure, six people on two teams have 20 hours to buy trash, turn it into treasure and sell it for the most money. From the folks behind Debbie Travis' Facelift comes Buy Me, a look at real estate from the perspective of the house. Travis, too, will be back with a new one-hour format.
Life Network: Crisis Zone is a 13-part series that travels to third-world countries with Doctors Without Borders. Returning shows include Matchmaker with Andrew Anthony, Out in the City, Trading Places, Weird Wedding and Who's on Top.
BBC Canada: Servants is a contemporary drama in period costume, revealing the secret lives of servants in an 1850s English country house. Swiss Toni is a super-suave car salesman - at least he thinks he is. On Life Laundry, Dawna Walter helps the hopeless take control of their lives by tackling clutter, junk and time management.
BBC Kids: Basil is a cheeky fox on The Basil Brush Show sitcom. In My Parents Are Aliens, three kids find out their parents really are just masquerading as humans. Part game show, part drama, The Raven is one of those last-man-standing premises.
Discovery Health Canada: Medical Secrets looks at famous people like Hitler, Mozart and Marilyn Monroe from a forensics standpoint. Adoption Stories introduces viewers to the parents and children entering this new relationship. And Genius Sperm Bank looks at the results of a 1980 experiment in which women were impregnated with semen from top scientists and geniuses.
Independent Film Channel: A Decade Under the Influence is a three-part documentary series that examines the 1970s as a turning point in American cinema. Dinner for Five returns. Originally conceived by Jon Favreau, the premise seats screen legends next to a variety of personalities for a restaurant meal.
National Geographic Channel: Through the Lens tells the stories behind dramatic adventure photographs. Inside Mecca follows three pilgrims on their journey to the hajj. Animal Nightmares looks at the world's most feared animals.
Showcase Action: More tough-guy movies including Mel Gibson's Lethal Weapon series. Is Harry on the Boat? follows a holiday rep to Ibiza. And Chuck Norris's Walker, Texas Ranger returns.
Showcase Diva: Kath and Kim introduces audiences to an opinionated Aussie mom and daughter. Returning series include the U.K. prison drama Bad Girls and Footballers' Wives, set in south London.
Prime: MoneyWise, the daily financial show that also airs on the main Global network, returns. New fall shows include Room to Grow (gardening), Antique Hunter, Great Taste/No Money. Mag Ruffman joins Prime with Anything I Can Do, a comedic look at the do-it-yourself trend.
Deja View: Jack Webb's Adam-12 begins from the beginning on Sept. 4.
Lonestar: Beginning Sept. 6, Lonestar Cinema features classic western movies every Saturday and Sunday.
MenTV: John Oakley hosts Out of Bounds, the sports panel talk show. Ultimate Destination is a travel show with a hedonistic side, hosted by comic Wade McElwain.
Mystery Channel: Beginning Sept. 1, last year's debut season of the new Dragnet with Ed O'Neill. Also Danger Man with Patrick McGoohan, The Big Easy with Tony Walters and Spy Games.
Xtreme Sports: In Slamball, beginning Sept. 28, two teams take basketball to a whole new level by combining it with hockey, football, lacrosse and gymnastics. Drop In is an adventure documentary series showcasing mountain bikers. Beginning Sept. 20, Gravity Games 2003 from Cleveland.
Fox Sports World Canada: Live soccer and rugby.
Cool TV: While the digital tier lost a music channel - Corus's heavy-metal Edge TV went black recently - it is gaining this jazz-themed one from the CanWest folks. Launch date is Sept. 4, with movies (St. Louis Blues, The Fabulous Baker Boys) and concerts. Ross Porter is programming vice-president.
Craig Broadcast Systems:
A Channels: The Alberta-Manitoba-based system will be sharing a lot of programming with Craig's new Toronto 1 channel, launching in September. This includes the new talk shows of Ellen DeGeneres, Wayne Brady and Sharon Osbourne, not to mention exclusive Canadian coverage of Monday Night Football and Major League Baseball.
TV Land: The nostalgia channels remain the hottest on the digital tier. New this fall will be favourites MacGuyver and Family Ties, joining Happy Days, The Brady Bunch and I Love Lucy.
MTV Canada: Although its relationship to the U.S. MTV system isn't exclusive (CHUM's MuchMusic still gets to carry some fare), there will be Ashton Kutcher's Punk'd, the rapper parody Snoop Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, Who's Got Game with Magic Johnson and the 13th season of The Real World. Also The Wade Robson Project debuts Sept. 15. Over 30 episodes, the choreographer will seek dancers to compete for prize money.
MTV 2: Dedicated to an all-music-video format. But there will be Breakout, a live prime-time variety series featuring the hippest Canadian breakout artists.
Stampede: Giving Global's Lonestar a run for its money, this new western-themed digital channel launching in September promises classic western series like Gunsmoke, Rawhide and Bonanza plus "modern" western shows like Dallas and The Beverly Hillbillies. Access to the old Republic library also means movies by John Wayne and Roy Rogers. Western music videos, too, by Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and Faith Hill.
YTV: Mordecai Richler's Jacob Two-Two arrives in a Nelvana-animated series. Also a new Spider-Man animated series from Sony and Canada's Mainframe Entertainment. Mental Block is a live-action teen comedy showing what goes on inside an adolescent's head. Martin Mystery follows a pair of teens investigating paranormal activity. And from Nickelodeon in the U.S. comes Rugrats: All Grown Up in which the ankle-biters are now teens.
Treehouse TV: Added to Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues will be the new Rubbadubbers, from the makers of Bob the Builder. Other preschooler favourites still around include The Wiggles and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Discovery Kids: Six new kids' series will launch, including Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls and, moving over from YTV, Wilson Coneybeare's Timeblazers. Prehistoric Planet is based on the award-winning Walking With Dinosaurs, narrated by Ben Stiller. Also, Adventure Camp, Endurance and Operation Junkyard.
W Network: Comic Brigitte Gall offers tool tips in Me, My House & I. Completely Hammered also has design and repair tips. Jonathan Torrens and Ramona Milano provide a roadmap to love in Living Romance, while the documentary series Tell It Like It Is, offers personal women's stories. The Ex Factor has people tracking down old flames. Coming after the new year, The Shields Stories, a series of new dramas based on the short stories of Carol Shields.
CMT: Country Music Television: Apart from red-carpet coverage of country-music events, new fare includes Undiscovered Country, a cross-Canada journey to meet artists both known and unknown. The 13-part Country Couples profiles music duets, while Ultimate Country Home has country music stars swapping their microphones for paintbrushes. Also the behind-the-scenes series CMT Got Me in With the Band and celebrity interviews on MWL (Most Wanted Live) Star. And Monday through Friday CMT Central reports on the latest entertainment and celebrity news.
Documentary Channel: Season highlights include Stupidity, a Hot Docs film festival favourite, Private Parties (an exploration of the often-surprising lives of so-called ordinary Canadians), Frederick Wiseman's Domestic Violence, plus Rivers and Tides and Oscar nominee Daughter From Danang. There will be exclusive airings of Spellbound and Etre et avoir. Edgy programming will air after midnight, including HBO's Taxicab Confessions.
Scream: The all-horror channel will have Thriller Thursdays, a showcase of great movie thrillers. In September, director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever) gets to introduce his favourite horror flicks. October will have a Halloween-heavy schedule. Classic series Millennium and Twin Peaks will also be back. And 100 new episodes of The Screaming Room.
Movie Central: Western Canada's premium service will be importing such highly touted HBO fare as Carnivale and Antonio Banderas's And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself. Also from Showtime will be Dead Like Me and Mia Kirshner in The L Word (L for lesbian). Showtime's Jeremiah returns for season 2. Canadian content includes Paul Gross's Slings and Arrows and John Hannah in I Accuse.
The Movie Network: Eastern Canada's premium service will have HBO imports Carnivale, And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, Real Women Have Curves and Angels in America. Bill Maher's sixth HBO comedy special is Victory Begins at Home, based on his Broadway show and book. Original Canadian programming includes Paul Gross's series Slings & Arrows and the movies I Accuse and In the Dark. From Showtime: Dead Like Me, Jeremiah's second season, Out of Order with Eric Stoltz and the reality series Family Business.
Teletoon: For its seventh season, the channel offers Kapow, its new action block featuring the likes of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and MegaMan. New this season is Gene Simmons's Kiss-inspired comedy My Dad the Rock Star, and Silverwing, about a young bat named Shade and life in his silverwing colony.
Family Channel: The main Disney carrier in Canada boasts seven new imports, including the final season of now-departed Hilary Duff's Lizzie McGuire. New series include Chicago teen comic Brendan Leonard's show, the Inspector Gadget animated spinoff Gadget and the Gadgetinas, the new Lilo & Stitch and 101 Dalmatians series and Disney's '70s flashback Fillmore. King and Something Else are Canadian animated series, the first about a boy who finds a porthole to a strange kingdom under his bed, the latter about a pair of very different but inseparable friends.
Biography Channel Canada: Beginning in September, Bio for Kids. New shows in October include Connections (linking biographies such as Charlie's Angels Week, Dead Presidents or Celebrity Pitchmen). And with Bio-on-Demand, viewers can vote online (www.thebiographychannel.ca
) for the bio they would most like to see. New series include Gzowski in Conversation, The Cold Case Files and City Confidential.
TechTV: New this fall: Invent This, a look at ordinary inventors and their extraordinary gadgets, and Strange, Secret and True (focuses on revolutionaries, researchers and renegades). And back will be the popular The Screen Savers, a daily interactive show to keep the tech enthusiast up to speed on computer and software developments.
TVOntario: The provincial education broadcaster's post-secondary course-affiliated programming, a pilot project last year, now has an afternoon block. The channel's teen program strand, now named Teen TVO, returns with host Anjulie Persaud. Studio 2 will also be back for its 10th season.
APTN: Moccasin Flats is the hot new series about growing up in a native ghetto in Regina. The Friday night Bingo and a Movie will be back Oct. 10. APTN Mainstage is a half-hour musical series showcasing aboriginal musicians from across Canada and North America. Aroha is a six-part series of dramas from New Zealand in Maori with English subtitles. Artist Upfront will profile aboriginal artists in Australia. And the APTN National News has a new bureau in Montreal.
CPAC: Peter Van Dusen will continue as anchor of the political channel's flagship show Prime Time Politics while Ken Rockburn hosts a third season of the interview show Talk Politics. Also veteran broadcaster Pierre Donais joins the channel to host the prime-time Revue politique.
PrideVision: While struggling financially, the gay-lesbian-bi channel still has hopes of expanding into the U.S. Meanwhile, coming in October, 26 half-hour episodes of an as-yet unnamed dating game for gays and lesbians. Also, the documentary Man in a Dress about the supermodel running for the Canadian Alliance party. The Crystal Lite Show is a 13-episode half-hour variety-talk show taped at a Toronto gay bar. And Read Out looks at gay authors.
Leafs TV and Raptors NBA TV: Live NBA games are the cornerstone of Raptors TV, with about 100 games being aired throughout the season and playoffs. Leafs TV is dedicated to everything surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs (except games). There's pre- and post-season coverage, AHL and CCHA games and classic NHL games.
Telelatino: The big news at this ethnic broadcaster is the addition of so-called Eurolatino programming in English, including the Canadian debut of Showtime's Hispanic-American drama series Resurrection Boulevard starring Tony Plana as a widowed family patriarch. There will still be Italian Championship Soccer both live and taped, Macho Mondays and Amore Sundays. TLN begins its soccer coverage Aug. 30 with live coverage of the Serie A Italian Championships.
VisionTV: Credo returns with 26 episodes dealing with famous people and their beliefs. Wives and Daughters is a six-part adaptation of British author Elizabeth Gaskell's 19th-century romantic novel. Starting Sept. 4, Quiet Mind: Meditation for Real Life offers a guide to stress relief through meditation.
No information was provided from the I Channel, BPMtv, the Green Channel (WE TV), the Score, Moviola or MSNBC Canada.