Bell Media decides Daily Planet and InnerSpace aren’t worth the cost anymore

We’re getting into upfront season in Canadian television — the time of year when the networks set their fall schedules and present teasers to advertisers to try to drum up excitement for the coming season.

It’s also the time when we find out what’s not coming back. This week, Bell Media told staff that it’s pulling the plug on on daily news magazine shows on two of its most popular specialty channels: Daily Planet on Discovery Channel and InnerSpace on Space.

Daily Planet was born @discovery.ca in 1995, and has been with Discovery since its launch. It was hosted for the longest time by Jay Ingram, and now by Dan Riskin and Ziya Tong. The hour-long daily series includes several documentary segments visiting factories, builders and scientists doing cool stuff. Its final show is June 5.

InnerSpace, hosted by Ajay Fry, Teddy Wilson and Morgan Hoffman, originally started as HypaSpace in 2002, though that was itself the natural progression of short-form videos about sci-fi news that had been on the channel in various forms through the years. Even as InnerSpace, the show was a bit of a hype machine for sci-fi shows that aired on Space or other Bell Media channels. (They were also responsible for the Orphan Black after shows.) But there were segments on comic books, interviews with authors and a lot of other segments that showed a staff that cared about what they were doing. Its final show was May 23.

Why cancel them? Bell Media’s official word is that increasing costs and declining revenue mean they’re no longer profitable. And they didn’t elaborate on that when asked by The Canadian Press.

According to financial information filed with the CRTC, in the broadcast year 2015-16 (the last year with public data), Discovery channel made $34 million in profit, and Space made $23 million. Both had healthy profit margins.

But that doesn’t mean these daily news magazines were profitable. They probably weren’t. And they’re not vital to building an audience for their channels.

Both Discovery and Space are part of a larger Bell Media group that is allowed to share Canadian content expenditures. So the money that isn’t being used to produce these shows will have to be used elsewhere. Bell might decide to repurpose them for scripted programming that might attract a larger audience and have more replay value. Both channels are also required to ensure at least 35% of their schedule is Canadian content, so it will have to rearrange the schedule as well. We may get some idea what their plans are when Bell Media does its upfront presentation in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, 17 people have lost their jobs, and a bunch of nerds are going to look for something different to watch at 7pm weekdays.

18 thoughts on “Bell Media decides Daily Planet and InnerSpace aren’t worth the cost anymore

  1. Mediaman

    Nothing surprising ,another example of fine shows being pulled the plug on at the expense of loyal viewers and to line up somehow shareholders pockets , all this from a telephone company ..
    More employees fired /laid off, who’ll get stressed out ,but no more group insurance..

    So yes Bell Let’s Talk.

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  2. Brsm Eisenthal

    Bell Media is the scourge of the electronic media biz. Since they took over they hsve done more harm than good and are killing everything good about being a fan of anything within their purvue. Bell get lost will ya?

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  3. Andy Reid

    I don’t watch much TV but I did watch InnnerSpace. Nice. Could Bell at least made it a weekly show rather than just kill it?!

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  4. dilbert

    This is another case of Bell saving a few dollars, but costing themselves in the long run.

    Daily Planet is one of those shows that defines a channel. It was an hour long every day, and often produced other specials as well. It often set the tone for the week (Shark week) making the channel something more than a dumping ground for second rate programming.

    Perhaps Bell can take something from their radio operations, and do a Daily Bell, and run it on every channel they have every day. It would likely count as Canadian content on each channel, and would clearly be bottom line profitable that way.

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  5. Anon

    More disappointing news coming from the BM sphincter. What’s the point of differentiation with these services? Although the spin will be in full force in a couple of weeks time, with less “original” content on the schedule I suspect audiences will be less inclined to watch much less subscribe.

    Good luck to the the 17 (+?) folks now out of work. Hope the Senior Execs who made this decision enjoy their annual bonuses next Spring.

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  6. Michael Black

    @Discovery.ca was a big part of the channel’s launch, right at the point where internet access was taking off. The wanted feedback, via email, and as I recall, thy posted a daily listing of what would be on to Usenet.

    I thought Jay Ingram had a co-host from the start, but Wikipedia says that Gill Deacon arrived in 1996. I think that was her first job after leaving Montreal, starting at CJAD in the summer around 1990 I think, doing a segment of all the summer activity. And then wasn’t she on local CBC? Either on the news, or doing “Citybeat” back when CBC did local programming. But did she do the weather on CFCF for a while? I can’t remember.

    And Patty Kim was a host for a while, she too coming from local CBC.

    There was a period when CTV ran the show daily, or maybe it was a truncated version, in that period when they were filling up the schedule with a lot of programming from their cable affiliates.

    Ironically I only watched the Discovery Channel for two years, giving up cable in 1997 to use the money for internet access.

    Michael

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  7. Brsm Eisenthal

    Bell i commented yesterday but after resding comments from others i demand that you extricate yourself from the entertainment business Your involvement helps noone but your stakeholders ..

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  8. D

    The only two intelligent shows that catered to a prominently male demographic gone! How can Inner Space & Daily Planet be off the air yet Your Morning & The Social remain?

    I bet the person who cancelled Canada AM is the person who made this decision.

    Time to cut my cable.

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  9. Anonymous

    Both these shows are under CTV’s ‘production’ arm. That group oversees The Social, Marilyn, etalk, extinguished Canada AM and replaced it with Your Morning, and now cites production costs and declining revenue as the reason to cut Daily Planet and InnerSpace. The reason they cut these shows is because they ‘could’ be cut. High production cost shows on the main CTV net are tougher to replace, despite ratings.. and some are retained because they need the ‘content’.

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  10. Alain

    Any Canadian programming broadcast before 5pm is at risk for cancellation. And if they escape the cuts this time around, it is just a matter of time before their number comes up in this new reality.

    Dwindling audiences, new CRTC requirements, plus the fact that cable providers could not care less about what we watch is at the root of all the vacancies on the dial.

    Bell , Videotron, Rogers and Corus only care that we are consuming data – they do not care how.

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  11. Martin Lachapelle

    What a horrible decision!!! Daily Planet was a window into scientific news, a great way to get people interested in day to day developments in the various scientific fields! With the Trump anti-science administration, this show was crucial in maintaining the people advised about what science can donfor them. A huge loss, without anything else to fill the void…

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  12. billy G

    Bell sucks in general, but Innerspace sucked worse…. it was nothing but pure glitzy brainless hype. I prefer watching more entertaining and smarter Star Trek reruns in its place.

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  13. Steve Males

    Life’s just not the same without my daily planet fix. And that’s from a 73-year old! All the best to a great group of hosts and crew!

    Reply

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