The Corrie Effect


[T]he suppertime news program would move forward to 5:00 p.m., and suddenly grow to 90 minutes....[L]ocal news is being parked at an earlier hour so that Coronation Street can air at 6:30 p.m., and then, in the 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. hour, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune will run....

It’s not about the news. It’s about scheduling. Those game shows get lots of viewers. If most stick around to watch CBC dramas and comedies at 8:00 p.m., then the ratings go up, up, up. CBC is not doing you a favour by offering 90 minutes of local news starting at 5:00 p.m. – it’s doing itself a favour by getting the boring news stuff out of the way earlier.

How do you “get something out of the way” by making it bigger? If what matters is the 7:00-to-8:00 slot, who really cares what aired before then? Really, would his argument change if the two game shows were moved but The Simpsons stayed put and the news stuck to an hour?

Those game shows have something for everybody who hates or loves the CBC. (United for the first time!) The shows are expensive (allegedly – I’ve read no published figures). They pull in ad revenue (allegedly – I see a lot of promos). They’re American, a cardinal sin. They’re the wrong kind of vulgar.

Whereas The Simpsons, soon to be cancelled, is the right kind of vulgar, so we can overlook the fact it’s also American. And Coronation Street? The national governing broadcaster obviously makes more sense as the permanent home of this ITV staple than, say, BBC Canada does. Corrie has the good sense to avoid being American – or vulgar in a way Canadians actually notice. (How is this show really worse than The Tudors?)

An all-Canadian CBC Television is unattainable, is it not? Hasn’t CBC Television run American and British shows for decades? Should it really matter where the foreign programming comes from? Or do we just want to rid CBC of American influence, all the way down to its newscasters?