16 August 2008

CBC TV ignores Canadian history

According to CBC TV audience relations the network has no plans to air programming relating to Canadian history in the coming months. The exact information was that there is no series planned, although there may be history items within the context of other series.

CBC, which receives substantial tax-based funding, has a mandate to provide a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains. Programming under that mandate is supposed to be predominantly and distinctively Canadian, reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, contribute to shared national consciousness and identity, and reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada.

Last year's Who Do You Think You Are? series fulfilled the mandate admirably, providing insight into the diverse origins of Canadians, and did it in an entertaining way by using Canadian personalities. Unfortunately it was a half-hearted CBC effort with poor publicity and only a half-hour program compared to the winning one hour format in the UK.

Meantime Australian and US versions of WDYTYA are in production. In the UK the return of the series last Wednesday brought in 6.85m (29.9%) to BBC One in the 9pm hour, more than 10% up on the same time slot the previous week and marginally better than for the start of the series a year ago.

Having fumbled it last year CBC TV has now completely dropped the ball on Canadian history.

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