A few early thoughts after the Canadian TV networks' 2021-22 schedule announcements.
The Good Fight is a critically acclaimed legal drama which began in February 2017, starring Christine Baranski, Cush Jumbo, and Delroy Lindo among others. A spinoff from the 2009–16 CBS drama The Good Wife, the series airs on Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) in the United States, with the fifth season scheduled to premiere on June 24, 2021.
In Canada, W Network controls the broadcast rights to new episodes in Canada. According to its website, W is scheduled to air the new season beginning on Thursday, July 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT, one week after the U.S. premiere. However, as W has noted in the past, any TV schedule is potentially subject to change without notice.
W Network is available through most Canadian cable, satellite, and IP-based TV providers, as well as two over-the-top options: Corus' StackTV package for Prime Video ($12.99 per month on top of a subscription to Amazon Prime, which is $7.99/month or $79/year), and VMedia's RiverTV service ($16.99/month). Note that for cable subscribers, episodes are available on demand through TV provider authentication, but they may only be available through W for a few weeks after broadcast.
While the series was commissioned (ordered) by Paramount+ in the U.S., new episodes will not be available on the Canadian version of Paramount+ before they air on W. For the first three seasons, episodes were typically added a few weeks after airing on W, however we recently double-checked and it appears season 4 is still not available on Paramount+, for reasons that are unclear.
Read on for further explanation.
The first season of The Good Fight debuted in February 2017 and was commissioned by CBS All Access, the American network's streaming service.
As CBSAA was not available at the time in Canada, CBS (whose studio division produces the show directly) sold the Canadian premiere broadcast rights to Corus Entertainment, whose broadcast network Global aired The Good Wife (of which The Good Fight is a spin-off). For the first three seasons, Corus usually aired new episodes the same day of their U.S. release on its W Network linear cable channel, and has also aired episodes from time to time on Global (simulcasting occasional broadcasts on CBS).
Complications were introduced for season 4. W Network was originally planning a similar day-and-date release pattern for the fourth season, having scheduled the season premiere for Thursday, April 9, 2020, the same date as its American release. That April 9 broadcast was subsequently pulled by W Network, and replaced with a broadcast of one of the Hunger Games films. (To be clear, the American release date for the premiere did not change.)
We reached out to Corus / W Network for comment and were provided with this statement (emphasis ours):
W Network has postponed The Good Fight season 4 premiere which was originally scheduled for April 9, to a later date this year. Current events have led to programming shifts and adjustments to our schedule and we aim to broadcast the new episodes consecutively once a new date is confirmed. For up-to-date schedule information, visit our schedule page. Please remember that all schedules are subject to change without notice.
The reference to a desire to air episodes "consecutively" is likely alluding to some of the disruption caused by production shutdowns with The Good Fight (and many, many other programs) due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.
Whereas previous seasons had new episodes released over consecutive weeks, CBS All Access announced that episode 2 would be released on April 16 but episode 3 would not be available until two weeks after that, April 30. Subsequent episodes were released weekly, but the season ended early with episode 7 on May 28, with the rest of the current storyline deferred to a newly-ordered fifth season.
It appears that W Network was waiting until CBS's release plans for the rest of the season were firmed up before scheduling a new Canadian premiere date for season 4, such that the season can air over consecutive weeks rather than having gaps between episodes.
Corus subsequently announced on June 23 that it will air the season as part of W Network's fall 2020 schedule. It then announced on July 29 that the season will air Thursday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT starting September 3.
If you have further questions or other feedback about this, you may wish to contact W Network directly.
If "The Good Fight" is a Paramount+ original, why can't I watch new episodes there at the same time as in the U.S.?
As noted above, Corus Entertainment / W Network acquired the Canadian broadcast rights to The Good Fight prior to the Canadian launch of CBS All Access, which was later renamed Paramount+ as part of a broader streaming push by parent company ViacomCBS. Despite that launch (and re-launch), Canadian TV channels, and in some cases rival streaming services, have continued to buy first-run rights to several Paramount+ series, like The Twilight Zone (Citytv) and The Stand (Prime Video Canada).
We are aware that there are some sources that have suggested that Paramount+ – which now offers past seasons of The Good Fight (see next section) – would offer the new season in Canada immediately.
However, in past years it only posted episodes after they had first aired on W, consistent with other CBS programming carried by Corus channels like Survivor or NCIS. CBSAA's Twitter help account had replied to a few inquiries from Canadians indicating that it would not be releasing season 4 in Canada "at the moment":
At this point we are not able to predict when season 5 (or for that matter season 4) will be available on Paramount+ in Canada.
Where can I catch up on seasons 1-4?
If you haven't yet seen The Good Fight yet or want to rewatch past seasons, the first three seasons are now available for streaming on Prime Video Canada (available with Amazon Prime, which is $7.99 per month with one-month free trial in most provinces), and on the Canadian version of Paramount+ ($5.99 per month with one-month free trial). Note that these seasons are no longer available on-demand through W Network for its TV provider subscribers.
- June 1, 2021 – Added information about season 5 broadcast plans in Canada.
- September 10, 2020 – Updated links including link to DVD pre-order page for season 4.
- July 29, 2020 – Noting Corus' announcement of a revised airdate.
- June 23, 2020 – Noting Corus' announcement that W Network will air season 4 in fall 2020.
- May 14, 2020 – Updates related to CBSAA announcement that season 4 will end after the seventh episode.
- April 18, 2020 – Further clarification re CBSAA in Canada.
- April 9-10, 2020 – Added clearer summary at the top of the article. Noted tweets from CBSAA to Canadian viewers saying that it will not be immediately adding season 4.