Parc Avenue Tonight: Why isn’t this on TV?

Are Montreal anglos well served by local television? There are three stations with daily local newscasts, and a fourth could be coming within months. By this time next year Montreal could have two English-language TV morning shows. But what about the rest? What about the entertainment shows, the talk shows, the music shows, the cooking shows and everything else that we used to get on local television?

We get some of these things as part of the news (or, in the case of Global’s Focus Montreal, a weekly program set in the news studio). But their very nature limits them in terms of length and format.

It was this lack of non-news programming that led to Mitch Melnick starting up an online video talk show in 2009, which didn’t last long.

Now, someone’s trying something like this again. His name is Dimitrios Koussioulas, and the show is called Parc Avenue Tonight. It’s a very-low-budget (like, $2,000 a season) weekly talk show about Mile End, with videos so far between 10 and 17 minutes long.

The Gazette’s Bill Brownstein has details about the show, and Cult MTL also has a brief writeup.

The show looks promising from the three episodes posted so far. It has a nice intro theme, and seems to be well edited. Koussioulas is an engaging host. About the only thing that I don’t like about it is all the smoking, which seems almost as if it was put in there to seem cool, like this was the opposite of an after-school special.

But could this make it on regular television? The answer depends not only on whether the advertising it could generate would offset its costs, but whether the profit it generated would be higher than whatever programming CTV or Global would put on the air instead of it.

Canada has tried commercial entertainment talk shows in the past. Remember Mike Bullard? But nowadays all that’s left in Canada is fluffy daytime programs like Cityline and Marilyn Denis, and stuff imported from the U.S. Primetime talk shows are limited to the one subsidized by the CBC and the one subsidized by its host. And none of this is local.

Sadly, with most local television owned by big national vertically-integrated companies, there’s little incentive to change. Even putting a show like this in a low-rated spot like Friday nights at midnight would be asking too much of local commercial television stations.

Which is a shame, because given modest means, something like Parc Avenue Tonight could turn into quality programming that attracts a small but loyal audience.

Thankfully there’s the Internet, where anyone can do something like this on their own, and if it’s good enough it will attract enough eyeballs to make it financially viable.

We’ll see if Parc Avenue Tonight is good enough to make it past one season.

You can watch Parc Avenue Tonight with Dimitrios Koussioulas at

14 thoughts on “Parc Avenue Tonight: Why isn’t this on TV?

  1. Alex H

    Actually, it’s funny, I looked at the video, and I sort of saw the idea, but I also saw some of the bigger failures. The theme song seems pretty good, until it starts talking about drugs. That is the first clue that these guys are not entirely trying to be mainstream. Second off is all the smoking, a serious no-no and really out of place. Third is the “Fuck Death” coffee cup. Some of the material is somewhat less than mainstream as well, but not far off the mark.

    The editing and look is actually pretty good, but the attitude, the set, and the approach seems to border a little too much on parody of the gendre, rather than being in it. I had a feeling of sort of a Gary Shandling show, where at any minute the camera would follow them off the set and we would see the real world.

    You have to remember that the cost of good cameras, good editing equipment, good lights, and so on has come down so much. It’s to the point where, once you strip away the expensive (and mostly unneeded) professional studio space, and strip away the expensive (and mostly uneeded) union workers, you can produce TV half hour show for a very reasonable cost. This type of show could be run by a handful of people (or less) and produced on a very small budget, and would add so much to local programming. Alas, Bell has no real interest in local programming (they can’t even let the switching for the station be done locally), and the CBC is to mired in it’s own unionized navel gazing to get it right. It’s sad really.

  2. Marc

    Why is this not on TV?

    Probably because none of the stations where this could air are locally owned or operated? Master control for CFCF, CBMT, CKMI are not here.

  3. Some Logic

    I appreciate what this guy is doing, I watched all three of his episodes,

    The Good:
    nice editing
    nice intro
    punchy (coffee mug, and drugs mention)

    The Bad
    okay the drugs and f*** death was funny for one episode, but doesn’t have to be there regularly.
    The convo was boring after a while. Its like he is forcing a conversation. He isn’t engaging. The shows could be a lot shorter.
    The youtube comments are disabled on all his videos.

  4. Captain Obvious

    If it’s not (nor trying to be) a mainstream type of show, why do some people seem to think its ultimate aim is to be picked-up by a local television station?

    Sure, being on TV gets you some more eyeballs, but it’s no guarantee of monetary success. What’s wrong with paying your bills by being a niche product on the web?

    There’s a little production called Epic Meal Time that appears to be doing quite well as an online-only show, with an arguably longer shelf life than if its creators had ‘just’ set their sights on being televised locally.

    If it’s quality, people will find it. If it’s complete shit, it’ll soon be a vague memory, and Mr Koussioulas will be looking for a new line of work.

    Right now, he’s new to this, and is (presumably) learning a lot about producing a show. From my standpoint, he’s doing several things right, and quite a few things wrong.

    In short, he’ll either make it, or he won’t. My point is that being on television will have little bearing on his future prosperity.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Why is French Quebec capable of producing more TV than all the other provinces put together?

      Because people watch more homegrown French TV than English TV in Canada.

    2. TK

      Because they’re protected from the English-Canadian media’s unique situation (sharing a border, and a language, with the world’s largest producer of entertainment media)?

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Thanks for the plug of a show that’s not current. But it ain’t dead. It’s just sleeping.

      Seems to be in a coma. Like some bad soap opera plot. Which means it’ll probably wake up having lost its memory.

  5. Joseph

    Who owns a TV anymore? Why do you assume they want to be on TV? They could certainly make use of a slightly bigger, or steadier, budget, but I don’t see why TV (and all the limitations you’ve already listed) should be the end game.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      Who owns a TV anymore?

      The vast majority of Canadians.

      Why do you assume they want to be on TV?

      I’m not saying this show specifically should be on TV. But it’s unfortunate that shows like it aren’t.

  6. Pingback: CBC TV to air special episode of Parc Avenue Tonight – Fagstein

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