Tag Archives: TSN

CTV’s new Hockey Theme

CTV has released its re-recording (with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra) of the Hockey Theme (i.e. the ex-Hockey Night in Canada theme), which will be used on RDS and TSN hockey telecasts starting Oct. 10 and Oct. 14, respectively.

Here it is (MP3). TSN also has a story with video about the new theme.

Perhaps I should wait until it actually goes on air, or maybe it’s just my computer, but it sounds like elevator music compared to the rough-and-tumble CBC version.

The press release, which says it “revisits the original 1968 version” also gives plenty of praise for how awesome they think it is:

We’ve taken great pride in blending the heritage of the song with the best digital technology available, creating a stunning rendition sure to resonate with hockey fans across the country.

Colour me unimpressed.

When is a channel not a channel?

Hey, remember back when I said you should expect CTV’s competitors to get mad when it decided to brand a regional split of TSN into a separate channel called TSN2?

Yeah, they got mad.

TSN says it’s respecting the letter of the law, and that only 10% of programming will differ between the channels. But Score Media wants the CRTC to clarify that this should apply to advertising as well.

Either way, TSN is selling this as an entirely separate cable channel, not as a split feed. And that, at least, seems to be going against the spirit of its license.

CRTC roundup: Cancon porn, TSN2 and the Rural Channel

Lots more fun out of the CRTC this week:

Insert “beaver” joke here

The biggest news (or at least the most titillating) is the approval of a new Canadian-based pornography channel. Called Northern Peaks (cute), it would feature 50% Canadian content (i.e. Canadian-produced porn) from various categories, including pornographic sitcoms and game shows (that actually sounds like fun, but it’s really just the company covering all bases, so to speak).

The 50% mark is actually quite unusual, and is well above what would normally be required for such a network. But apparently it was the applicant’s request, according to the National Post:

Mr. Donnelly said he was required to offer as little as 15% Canadian content to appease regulators.

But because he wants “to legitimately be Canada’s adult channel,” he started at half Canadian. He said there is a huge unfulfilled market in Canada for local porn. Beginning last year, he began getting calls from cable companies looking to license his Canadian productions.

“I’ve always found there’s a real turn-on to watching and knowing it’s people you could run into in the grocery store,” he said.

But with more than 200 titles (and presumably they can be replayed over and over again, since most viewers wouldn’t mind repeats of classic programming), he thinks he can do it.

Quoth the CRTC: “The Commission did not receive any interventions in connection with this application.” Really? Not even from the pizza guy? Or that nosy peeping-tom neighbour you’re just waiting to have sex in front of so they can masturbate to it?

Needless to say the media had a field day with this one, the National Post turning it into a front-page story (complete with photo) and an opinion piece that’s pretty tongue-in-cheeks (sorry) asking readers to comment and either denounce the channel or come up with some programming ideas for it. (A funny side-effect of the latter is offhand mentions of Sheila Copps and Avi Lewis, which means searches for these two under “related stories” brings up a comment about a porn channel they have nothing to do with.)

One comment posted to the Post:

When do the adults at the Post return from summer holiday?

Of course, it wasn’t just the Post. The Globe and Mail also had a lengthy article on it (about 12 inches), and the news was picked up by Canadian Press and Reuters and Agence France-Presse and reached news outlets all around the world (well, those two anyway). It also got a mention on an anti-abortion (but still pro-women) conservative website.

The channel is being run by Real Productions (apparently not this Real Productions nor that Real Productions, which appear lower in the Google raking and I’m guessing confused or offended at least a few potential customers), which is run by a man named Shaun Donnelly (but not this Shaun Donnelly, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East).

Due to the nature of the channel, it can’t be included in any channel packages and must be specifically requested by the subscriber. The network also promises to spend at least 25% of revenues on developing new programming.

Also of note is the 100% closed-captioning requirement, which may foreshadow a fight with Videotron concerning their demand that they not have to closed-caption on-demand video porn.

UPDATE (Aug. 18): The Globe has more on the channel, including an idea of what a broadcast day would look like. And then even more on the channel here. (They won’t let this story go, will they?)

UPDATE (Aug. 24): Farked. With suggestions on Canadian porn titles. Some of these people should write headlines for a living.

Continue reading

TSN gets 15 Habs games a season

TSN and the NHL have reached a contract extension through 2014, which provides the network with 70 regular-season games, of which 15 involve the Canadiens. That puts us second behind the Leafs (no surprise there). The remaining Canadian teams get 10 games each. (We’re assuming, of course, that there will be some overlap as the teams face each other)

The deal also opens a (slight) possibility of TSN covering a Canadian team during the playoffs. Basically if all three teams in one conference (Leafs/Sens/Habs or Oilers/Flames/Canucks) make it three teams make it to the playoffs, the CBC will pick two and TSN will get the third. If it’s four, CBC gets the fourth pick, then TSN, then CBC, then the last two go to TSN. Previously, CBC had rights to all playoff games involving Canadian teams, as well as the entire Stanley Cup final.

The Globe has details (thanks Josh)

The deal also gives TSN “broadband rights,” which might mean being able to watch some games online. But the media release doesn’t go into detail about that.

UPDATE: The NHL has also renewed its agreement with its “official beer sponsor” Bud Light, which will see crappy American beer marketed all across the league.

Is “fuck” gratuitous?

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled that a live TSN interview with junior hockey star Jonathan Toews violated the industry’s voluntary obscenity standards because he uttered the F-bomb moments after his team won the gold medal at the world junior hockey championships.

Specifically, he said (emphasis mine):

Oh, it’s unbelievable. It’s a great feeling. You know, we’ve come, uh, overcome so much and, uh, you know, tonight was a battle from start to finish and we did a fucking great job.

The decision was not unanimous. Two of the seven council members dissented, arguing that TSN should not have reasonably predicted that a hockey player would swear on live television.

TSN won’t be forced to pay any fine, but they do have to broadcast the decision in prime-time.

In general, Canadian television is expected to restrict use of obscene language between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., when children tend to be watching. But even then there’s some wiggle room. The council also distinguishes between thoughtful use of these words and gratuitous uses.

Which brings me to my question: Is “fuck” gratuitous in this context? Is there another word that would more properly convey his feelings at this point?

I’m always frustrated that professional athletes, even after they win world championships, bite their tongues in front of the cameras. They talk about how great a game their opponents played, how this was a team effort, how the coach helped a lot, how honoured they are. When they’re asked how they feel, the response tends to be a throw-away “oh it’s great”. This problem is likely only to get worse as a result of this decision, which also urges broadcasters to ask athletes to watch their language before live interviews.

Jonathan Toews’s use of the word “fucking” is a breath of fresh air. It’s not gratuitous, it’s insightful. It’s news.