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 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 ParcAvenueTonight.com.