Everything of note we know of that's coming in October, including the returns of "Loki", "The Gilded Age", "Big Mouth", "Upload", and more.
Hello, and welcome to the May 8, 2023, edition of Watching This Week, the weekly newsletter from Where Can I Watch – covering the latest news on where TV shows and movies will be available in Canada.
Read on for our thoughts on the updated deal announced this past week between Bell Media and Warner Bros. Discovery, which means WBD's Max will not launch in Canada for another while yet. That is, of course, after this week's listings.
What's new this week – May 8–14
Compiled from our monthly listings and/or any subsequent updates we've come across. We strive for accuracy but schedules may change without notice. Some series/seasons may have weekly rollouts; we won't list new episodes every week (though we may note significant episodes such as series finales). *An asterisk denotes programming added in past weeks that we've learned about (or has been rescheduled) since our last newsletter.
- Netflix: Spirit Rangers (season 2 – Monday); Hannah Gadsby: Something Special (comedy special – Tuesday); Missing: Dead or Alive? (docuseries – Wednesday); Royalteen: Princess Margrethe (film sequel – Thursday); Ultraman (season 3 – Thursday); Black Knight (Korean series – Friday); The Mother (action film – Friday); Mulligan (adult animated series – Friday); Queer Eye (season 7 – Friday)
- Disney+: Class of '09 (FX on Hulu series – Wednesdays); Dois Tempos (Brazilian series – Wednesday); Homeland (season 8 – Wednesday); Impuros (season 3 – Wednesday); Lambert contre Lambert (French docuseries – Wednesday); The Muppets Mayhem (comedy musical series – Wednesday); Race (Korean series – Wednesdays); Secrets of the Zoo: Tampa (season 4 – Wednesday); Crater (family sci-fi film – Friday)
- Crave: Digman! (season 1 – Friday); The Father (2020 British-French film – Friday); Rogue Agent (2022 British film – Friday); RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars (season 8 – Fridays); The Spencer Sisters (CTV series season 1 – Friday)
- Prime Video: Poker Face (2022 action film starring Russell Crowe, not the Natasha Lyonne series – Friday, May 5*); Hello Kitty: Super Style! (season 3 – Wednesday); La Vida Despues del Reality (Colombian series – Wednesday); Moonage Daydream (2022 David Bowie doc – Wednesday); Dahaad (Indian series – Thursday); De viaje con los Derbez (season 3 – Friday); The Enforcer (2022 action film – Friday); The Legend & Butterfly (2023 Japanese film – Friday); The Men's Club New Chapter (Nigerian series continuation – Friday); Igor Guimarães comedy special (Saturday)
- CBC Gem: Love, Leymo (short film – Wednesday); Animal Control (season 1 of the Fox sitcom – Friday)
- Paramount+ (also available as a channel on Prime Video and Apple TV): The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019 film – Tuesday); Spontaneous (2020 film – Tuesday); The Upside (2019 film – Tuesday); Fool Me (special – Thursday); The Sheikh (German series – Thursday); The 12th Victim (Showtime docuseries – Friday); 2nd Chance (Showtime doc – Friday); Nothing Lasts Forever (Showtime doc – Friday)
- Apple TV+: City on Fire (drama series – Fridays); Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (doc – Friday);
- BritBox (also available as a channel on Prime Video and Apple TV): The Ghost of Richard Harris (doc – Tuesday); Peter O'Toole – Along the Sky Road to Aqaba (doc – Tuesday); various past films/series starring Harris or O'Toole (Tuesday)
- CTV2: Jeopardy! Masters (most weeknights starting Monday through May 24)
- Citytv (also on Citytv+): Bachelor in Paradise Canada (season 2 – Mondays)
- W Network (also on StackTV): Funny Woman (British comedy series – Thursdays)
- CTV Life: Listing Large (reality series – Thursdays)
- Discovery: Race to Survive Alaska (Mondays); Deadliest Catch (season 19 – Mondays)
- AMC (available on AMC+ on Prime Video and Apple TV): Fear the Walking Dead (season 8, part 1 – Thursdays on AMC+, Sundays on AMC cable channel)
- YouTube: Eurovision Song Contest 2023 (semi-final 1 Tuesday, semi-final 2 Thursday, final Saturday, starting at 3:00 p.m. ET all three days)
No Max for you
Bell Media's announcement this past Tuesday about its renewed and expanded deal for Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) programming included words like "sweeping", "landmark", and "unprecedented".
The details in the announcement suggest the actual changes in Bell's programming rights, compared to what it already had or would have had under a straight renewal, may be fairly minor.
But one thing seems certain: WBD will not be launching its own full-strength Max streaming service (soon to be rebranded from HBO Max) in Canada for several more years, at least. Certainly, that timeframe would now extend beyond the end-of-2024 date we had previously seen reported by some outlets following the previous agreement announced in 2019.
WBD does not even seem to be allowing itself in Canada the future flexibility it has recently negotiated in other markets like Australia.
In the meantime, Bell's Crave platform will remain the designated exclusive home in Canada for HBO mainline programming, the majority of Max Original programs, the first pay/streaming window for Warner Bros. films, and (perhaps non-exclusively) a wide variety of library content from WBD and divisions like DC. Presumably the programs remaining on Discovery+, and Corus' WBD-licensed channels like HGTV, Adult Swim, and the recently-relaunched Cartoon Network, will remain exempt from that.
Bell / Crave already had – or presumably would have had – rights to most of the programs listed in the announcement, though, with just an extension to the overall timeframe and a few updates on the edges. For example, Crave already had English-language streaming rights to Friends; now, it'll also have French-language rights, while episodes will also be available to stream with ads on the CTV app.
The only thing announced that may be slightly new is "new Warner Bros. Discovery network and cable series" for CTV and Bell's specialty channels – though it may depend in part on how it's applied.
Bell's broadcast and cable channels have long carried Warner Bros. TV and Turner programming, such as (currently) Young Sheldon on CTV, The Winchesters on CTV Sci-Fi, or Miracle Workers on CTV Comedy. But some other series have gone to different channels – like Pennyworth and Gotham Knights on Corus' Showcase.
Whereas such programs would have been negotiated separately or in smaller packages in the past, it now sounds like those programs will now consistently go straight to Bell under an output arrangement. (Interestingly, programs from Discovery Channel and related networks were not mentioned at all in the announcement, so they may still be subject to separate arrangements, as is presumably the case with Corus and the likes of HGTV and Food Network.)
So what does WBD get out of this? Well, one major consideration is that it'll be getting continued guaranteed revenue, at a time when the recently-merged company is still cutting costs and dealing with a heavy debt load.
WBD also doesn't have to deal with the challenges of building a new subscriber base for HBO programming from scratch in Canada, particularly as Crave still has many subscribers through linear cable accounts. At least some of those are rural subscribers that can't be easily accommodated if WBD made Max a pure direct-to-consumer streaming platform in Canada.
The new Bell deal also means that WBD doesn't have to jump through hoops making a Canadian version of Max compliant with the new Online Streaming Act. Regardless of Bell's enthusiasm for Canadian content, it has access to Cancon it can (and has) readily put on Crave – WBD does not.
And, at least for now, it still has some skin in the game in Canada through Discovery+ (which does get some Canadian content through Corus), though the fact that the company isn't going to try to leverage that consumer base – as we first assumed many months ago – may be telling in terms of the long-term future of that service even in non-Max markets.
But it also means that WBD is, in effect, continuing to rely on Bell to maintain a product that Canadians will want to use. And, as we've noted in the past, and with all due respect to whoever is responsible for Crave's technology stack, Bell can't justify the same kind of spending on tech for a single-country service that the likes of Netflix, Amazon, Disney, or even WBD make (and, really, have to make) for their own global services.
Even though the number of Crave subscribers continues to see modest growth, our anecdotal sense is that many of them would prefer to subscribe directly to Max, and only use Crave grudgingly. They probably won't be thrilled with this week's news.
But such is the nature of the Canadian TV industry right now.
- Global has announced some of its summer programming, including the pickup of CBS reality series Superfan (Fridays starting June 9), as well as the premieres of new seasons of Canadian series Family Law (Mondays starting May 22) and Departure (Mondays starting August 7), and new Canadian series Robyn Hood (scheduling TBA).
- The announcement that one of Super Channel's multiplex feeds will be starting to air movies shouldn't really be news, but it is when it's Ginx Esports TV, which since 2017 has focused solely on esports and gaming content. For the next nine weeks starting tonight, the channel will air gaming-adjacent movies on Monday nights.
- The Writers Guild of America went on strike this past week, resulting in the immediate cancellation of new editions of various U.S. talk and variety shows like Saturday Night Live and Last Week Tonight.
Most other programs will not be affected at this point – the broadcast network season is wrapping up, and most scripted episodes premiering on streaming services or otherwise in the next few months would already have scripts written, if not already fully produced. However, if this strike goes anything like the last one in 2007–08 – which lasted about one hundred days – there's a stronger chance of fall primetime programming being affected.
Here's some of the reader questions we've received recently by email (email@example.com). We welcome questions of general interest, and publish a few of them (and our answers) from time to time; messages may be edited for brevity and clarity.
Carol: Are certain shows restricted in Canada on Disney / National Geographic? I have been trying to find two shows – [nature docuseries] Secrets of the Elephants and [Holocaust drama series] A Small Light – and had no luck finding them.
WCIW: Both of those shows have been airing on the Canadian version of the National Geographic Channel, which is run by Corus Entertainment. If you have a cable subscription that includes that channel, you should be able to find these shows on-demand, or on the Global TV app / website.
Alternatively, both Secrets of the Elephants and A Small Light are currently available on Corus’ StackTV streaming add-on on platforms like Prime Video. On both the Global app and StackTV, these two shows will likely only be available for the next month or so.
If you have been looking for these shows on the Disney+ streaming service – because of Corus’ first-run rights to these shows, the two shows will not be available immediately on Disney+ in Canada, even though they’re available there now in the U.S. We expect they will likely be available on Disney+ Canada at a later date, very possibly this summer – though we don’t know for sure exactly when yet.
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