Saturday, August 12, 2006

Hokum Night In Canada

While much of the world concerns itself with a minor spat in the Middle East, it's reassuring to see that Canadians are worrying about a genuine crisis: Hockey Night in Canada being sold to CTV!

The issue is simple, right? CTV/TSN is offering much more money for the rights than CBC could hope to pay. So naturally, Hockey Night in Canada should go with the highest bidder. Seem fair?

Not to many of the commentators on the Globe and Mail website, who regard such a simple business decision as a virtual act of treason:

Glenn Finockio from Winnipeg, writes: If there is no 'Hockey Night In Canada' on CBC, then really... there is no Canada as we knew and loved it. Say it ain't so.

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Ira Levy from Toronto, writes: Does anyone thing HNIC will be the same on TSN-CTV? While I enjoy watching our feeble leafs try thier darndest to make it to the Cup finals, there is something that all Canadians share.. and it begins with that ever soo popular ringtone..I mean theme song. While I am all for the Capital Markets, I think there needs to be a little bit of tradition left in Canada. It just makes it one more step in becoming Toronto, Ontario, USA (Substitute in your city and province). One more thought, Will Saturday evenings at the bar/home be the same watching CTV's Hockey Evening In the Great White North? (You know for sure that CBC' is going to keep the trademark). I think not.

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Bill Hansen from Vancouver, Canada writes: I guess it will likely be called 'Hockey Night in 'Canam' or some other asinine thing and become lost in the American push to take over everything that is Canadian like Canadian National Railways (hah, how many days to another derailment?), Hudson Bay, Eatons etc. Seems a shame to me that our country always appears to be for sale to the highet bidder. However, I agree that it is likely no big loss and the CBC can concentrate on it's award winning documentaries etc. Except Harper and Sons may pull the funding and then the loss of the hockey revenue will hurt big time.

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evelyn robinson from vancouver, Canada writes: Hands off; Let Hockey night in Canada remain with CBC. We do not need any more Media empires; we need to keep more independent media sources open that Cannot be bought or controlled by any political persuasion. Hockey in Canada helps to support CBC. I am very concerned with the control of our media by CanWest; The newspapers do not operate independently any editorials are controlled by the majority owners (the Asper family) Most articles now ARE written similar to editorials. They may cover the stories but the placement in the paper and follow ups control how much we hear and therefore whether it remains in the public conscience. This media empire could be bought by foreign or political interests: CBC cannot.


The self-styled intelligent, broad-minded progessives who make up CBC-TV's diehard audience have never been entirely comfortable with the fact that the audience of Hockey Night in Canada, which it regards as inferior in all respects, effectively pays the bills for their self-indulgent programming.

Many of them would welcome the loss of Hockey Night in Canada if it freed up more airtime for documentaries on lesbian feminist collectives in Afghanistan and TV movie hagiographies on dead Liberal and NDP politicians.

Yet how many of them would step up and replace the ad revenue Hockey Night in Canada brings in with their own sponsorship donations? How many of them would instead demand that the budget be raised to cover the shortfall, or that our pockets be picked instead (licence fees, anyone?)

As for those who watch CBC for nothing else except hockey, how many of them really care whether CBC or CTV is carrying it, as long as they can see the games, follow the playoffs and laugh at Coach's Corner?

The real fear of those who don't want to lose Hockey Night in Canada is that its loss might be the final nail in the coffin of CBC-TV. Yet losing it might finally allow CBC to become what its fans and programmers have really wanted it to be: a 100% Canadian highbrow cultural content broadcaster.

Yet any change is feared and resisted by the CBC crowd with the full fury of enraged reactionaries. They want the CBC as they always imagined it to be, in the days before cable and satellite TV and umpteen specialty broadcasters, the indispensable voice of Canadian broadcasting.

Well, it isn't anymore, and Hockey Night in Canada on CTV would be living proof thereof.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I hope CTV wins the competition and Hockey Night in Canada moves from CBC. CBC news has proven to be biased against any conservative thinking in this country and will do anything to portray Harper in an unfavourable light. The latest example was the Christine Lawand report on the National where they misrepresented, through selective editing, what Harper said in an attempt to portray him as uncaring and unfeeling. Outside of HNIC the rest of the CBC programming is for the birds and I never watch it. So let CTV win the competition and let CBC go to its watery grave as it richly deserves.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the politics out of it for a second, CBC's Hockey Night in Canada has become such a Toronto Maple Leafs fanwank that it isn't worth saving. The day Boom-Boom Geoffrion died, the very same night that the Montreal Canadiens retired his number 5, CBC couldn't be bothered to cut away from one damn minute of the Leafs game to show the ceremony. One of the game's all-time great players being both honoured and memorialized (and nobody does a ceremony the way the Canadiens do -- the organization remains the pinnacle of class in pro sports), and CBC refused to broadcast it because it would've taken away from the Leafs.

HNIC's been getting by for years on name power and the fools of "Leaf Nation", not quality. Their coverage of the other eastern teams is pathetic, Bob Cole & Harry Neale are way past due to be put out to pasture, and the one time every couple months Don Cherry has something interesting to say doesn't make up for the rest of the time he spends being a pompous ass. TSN's been kicking the stuffing out of CBC in quality of coverage for quite a while, and I think even NBC (!) did a better job with the last three games of the Stanley Cup Finals this year.

Let HNIC die. What it's become isn't worthy of the name.

Dave said...

Pierre McGuire instead of Don Cherry. Excellent!!! Next thing you know, we may even get to see the Habs on TV when they're NOT playing the Maple Laughs.

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know - I'm Glenn Finockio from your first quoted source up there. While I remember giving the globeandmail.com crew permission to quote me, I don't remember giving it to you. But hey, who's counting anyways?

What I meant by my comment is that hockey on the CBC is tradition, it's Canadiana, it's necessary to our culture, just like any of their shows are. TSN already airs NHL games other times during the week, and I'll watch some of them as well. But the CBC needs the hockey on Saturday nights not just for revenue, but for it's Canadian "soul".