CTVglobemedia, which owns Discovery Channel Canada, has applied to the CRTC for a change in its license to allow for game shows as part of its lineup, up to 15% (or 25 hours a week).
CTV argues that allowing for “a trivia-based show intended to enrich viewers’ base of knowledge” would make it “more attractive to its target audience” while still keeping with its mandate of programming that focuses on “the exploration of science and technology, nature and the environment and adventure.”
This is all code for the fact that Discovery wants to import Cash Cab, a highly successful game show launched in the U.S. last year that has unsuspecting cab riders being offered money if they correctly answer trivia questions. It has versions all around the world, including on the U.S. Discovery Channel.
But does the fact that it’s trivia automatically make it part of Discovery’s mandate? Mythbusters (which is currently aired ad nauseam) answers interesting pseudo-scientific questions. But Cash Cab asks people to name the seven dwarfs or the characters from Clue. How are these things either science, technology, nature, the environment or adventure?
In principle I think game shows should be allowed on Discovery (as they point out, other specialty channels like the History Channel already allow such programming), but Cash Cab sounds like it’s more about a cheap ratings grab than a desire to educate young viewers in an innovative way.
Deadline for comments is January 25.