Watching This Week #104
An abbreviated newsletter with updated listings for March 20-26, 2023.
Looking for the new Natasha Lyonne mystery series from Rian Johnson and Peacock? Here's where to find it in Canada.
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Poker Face, a "murder-of-the-week" mystery comedy-drama series created by Knives Out director Rian Johnson and starring Natasha Lyonne, Adrien Brody, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, will debut on the Peacock streaming service in the United States on January 26, 2023.
Peacock is not available in Canada, and while most Peacock original scripted programs wind up on Corus Entertainment services like Showcase, this series is an exception. Instead, as announced by Rogers in December, in Canada, Poker Face is now available on Citytv+ as of Thursday, January 26, with episodes released weekly.
Citytv Plus is currently available only as an add-on channel for Prime Video, for $4.99 per month, with a 30-day free trial available for first-time subscribers, which is on top of the $9.99 per month (or $99.00 per year) price of Amazon Prime itself.
However, if you already get Citytv through a cable, satellite, or similar TV provider such as Rogers Cable, you should be able to watch Poker Face (which is spelled with two words, not as "Pokerface") on demand through your TV service, as we explain below.
As we've explained in other articles here on WCIW, Corus Entertainment has a long-term deal in place with Peacock owner NBCUniversal that gives Corus first dibs on "marquee" Peacock original programming from co-owned studios like Universal Television.
However, this does not cover Poker Face, which is produced by MRC Television and distributed internationally by Paramount. Evidently, Peacock only paid for U.S. rights to the series, allowing the show's producers to sell local broadcast and streaming rights (via Paramount) to other media companies around the world.
We do find it a bit odd that Paramount didn't hold onto the show for the international versions of its own Paramount+ streaming service. But, given that the company wouldn't have the U.S. streaming rights, perhaps they decided it would make the most financial sense to sell off those international rights – as they ultimately did to Rogers in Canada.
Not necessarily, but it may depend on your provider.
Even though Rogers' promotional efforts for Poker Face and a few other recent programs have emphasized their exclusivity to Citytv+, in fact many of these putative Citytv+ "exclusives" have been available on-demand for cable subscribers that get the regular City TV channel in their packages.
For example, if you're a customer on Rogers' classic digital cable service (we haven't checked Ignite TV specifically), you can go to the On Demand section (channel 100) on your set-top box and browse through to the Citytv (or CitytvNow) section. There, as of this writing in January 2023, you'll find two other shows mentioned in the above-referenced press release as being Citytv+ exclusives: Peacock miniseries Paul T. Goldman, and Australian comedy series Colin from Accounts. (Another series that hasn't aired on Citytv proper, Peacock action drama Leopard Skin, should be there as well, having launched similarly in late 2022.)
Shaw Cable and Bell Fibe TV customers should also be able to find these series, based on what's listed on those providers' respective online on-demand catalogues.
If you can find these shows available to watch on demand, it's very likely you'll also be able to watch Poker Face in roughly the same place once it premieres.
There are two caveats to this. The first is that the on-demand availability of these shows will be tied to whether your provider has an agreement to carry some or all Citytv on-demand programming, which is not always guaranteed even if Citytv is included in your TV package. (For example, for several years Bell did not carry the full range of on-demand programming from Rogers-owned channels.)
The second caveat is that these shows are not available through the Citytv website and apps, even if you're signed in with your TV provider credentials. They are only (potentially) available on demand through your cable box and/or your provider's own online platforms, unless you're also separately subscribed to Citytv+ as described above. We're not sure why this is the case, except perhaps as a means to encourage viewers to sign up for Citytv+, or due to some other technical or licensing-related restriction.
If you are picking up the Citytv network's broadcast signal for free without a TV service subscription (such as through CITY-TV Toronto or CKVU Vancouver), you will likely be out of luck unless you subscribe to Citytv+. Again, there is no indication of Citytv airing the series on its linear channels, and we do not expect the main Citytv website and apps to stream Poker Face.
At best, you could monitor the network's schedule in case Poker Face airs at a later date – which has happened occasionally for other networks' online "exclusives" – but there's no guarantee of that happening.
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