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Welcome to the October 18, 2021 edition of This Week in WCIW, the weekly newsletter from Where Can I Watch – covering the latest news on where TV shows and movies will be available in Canada.
This week, we have some mailbag questions about Halloween Kills and The Graham Norton Show, and updates about shows like Shetland and What Happened, Brittany Murphy?. But first...
Yes, Canada, there is a Discovery+
After months of waiting, Discovery Inc. finally confirmed this past Tuesday that its Discovery+ streaming service would be finally launching in Canada on October 19 – in other words, tomorrow, if you're reading this as it arrives in your inbox.
While not exactly as complete as the version that launched in the U.S. earlier this year, the service will still have a wide range of originals from across Discovery's brands, including TLC, Magnolia Network, and Travel Channel – the latter of which has never been available here per se, despite the availability of similar services like T+E (the former CTV Travel / Travel + Escape), and to some extent DTour – as well as natural history content from the BBC.
And yes, they will have programs from brands available in Canada like Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, HGTV, Food Network, and more. Some of these are Discovery exclusives, and some will be a bit older. Most likely, however, current programs airing on Discovery's partner TV channels in Canada will not show up on streaming quite as quickly as they do in the United States, with those channels retaining first-run exclusivity.
Programming apparently not available on Discovery+ in Canada would include some content licensed from A+E Networks (including programs from the History channel), and of course all the sports content featured on European versions of Discovery+ (where Discovery owns Olympic rightsholder Eurosport).
Probably the most surprising aspect – if maybe not hugely shocking – was that Discovery did manage to get one of the company's two Canadian partners on board, at least to an extent. Corus Entertainment will be involved in an "integrated marketing partnership" to promote the new streaming services, certainly on its licensed versions of Discovery channels like HGTV and Food Network but also on its other platforms like radio and social media.
Discovery's other Canadian partner, Bell Media, was not mentioned; you may recall that Bell said earlier this year that there would be "no immediate changes" to its channels in relation to the launch of Discovery+. (Like Corus, Bell has a partnership with Discovery merger target WarnerMedia, so with current Discovery head David Zaslav set to lead the combined company, it will be interesting to see whether this suggests any future changes to those relationships.)
While Corus will be promoting Discovery+, it does not appear it will have a financial stake in its success. Moreover, it looks like Corus' original productions for Discovery-branded channels, like HGTV Canada's Island of Bryan (which has also aired as Renovation Island on HGTV U.S.), will remain exclusive to Corus platforms, including StackTV, for those in this country.
Once again, Discovery+ launches in Canada tomorrow, October 19, for $4.99 per month for a "light load" ad-supported service, and $6.99 per month for the ad-free version of the service (all prices are before applicable sales taxes). More information is available on the service's website. It'll be available for direct web and in-app subscriptions, but it's not yet clear whether the service will be available as a channel on Prime Video as it is stateside.
- There were two additions to the Crave lineup this past week that were not previously announced, both HBO Max originals: What Happened, Brittany Murphy?, a documentary miniseries about the actress who died at age 32 in 2009; and stand-up comedy special Phoebe Robinson: Sorry, Harriet Tubman. Both became available this past Thursday.
- CBC Gem will be premiering the first ten episodes of Overlord and the Underwoods, a Toronto-filmed family comedy co-created by Canadian writer Anthony Q. Farrell and co-commissioned by BYU TV in the U.S., on Friday, October 29.
- BBC Earth will carry Serengeti Ⅱ, a follow-up to the 2019 docuseries Serengeti about animals in the namesake Tanzanian desert, both narrated by Lupita Nyong'o, Sundays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT starting October 31. The series was co-commissioned by BBC and Discovery U.S., and became available on Discovery+ in the U.S. earlier this year.
- Updating an item that newsletter subscribers may have seen a few weeks ago: BritBox now says (via emailed press release) it will premiere season 6 of mystery series Shetland in Canada beginning on Tuesday, November 9 (and weekly thereafter), shortly after its UK premiere on October 20.
Here's some of the reader email we've received recently at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
From Rion: Any news on Halloween Kills or Ghostbusters: Afterlife being available on Premium VOD? Halloween Kills is streaming on Peacock in the US, so it makes no sense that Canadians aren't getting the same treatment with the pandemic still ongoing.
A: Halloween Kills is from Universal so, in the absence of Peacock here, we’d expect they’ll be handling it in Canada the same way they have with most of their other movies since late last year. And because it is, as of this writing, estimated to have garnered just over US$50 million in North American ticket sales in its just-conpleted first weekend, it won't be available on PVOD until at least 31 days after the release. That’s as part of the deal they’ve had with Cineplex and other North American theatre chains since late last year.
So that means the earliest it might be available on PVOD would be November 15 (and realistically, they'll probably wait until the following Friday, November 19). Obviously that’s not ideal timing for those who'd prefer to watch at home, especially when the movie has “Halloween” in the name.
All indications that we can find are that Sony will be doing a regular theatrical window (without PVOD) for the new Ghostbusters movie, in which case it won’t be available to rent at home until early 2022. If they offer a PVOD option, at best it’d be along the same timelines as Universal (i.e. sometime in December).
From Lynn: I would love to watch The Graham Norton Show. I just can’t find it streaming anywhere. I do not have cable. Do you know?
Unfortunately, it looks like the only Canadian outlet that has rights to The Graham Norton Show at the moment is BBC First, which is only available in Canada as a cable channel, with no streaming option available unless you get the channel through some sort of TV service provider.
We doubt that BBC First would want to share the rights to new episodes with another service, but we're a bit surprised that BritBox isn’t carrying past seasons in Canada since it's co-owned by ITV (which produces the show) and the BBC (which airs it in the UK). For those interested, it might be worth reaching out to them – or another streaming service that you subscribe to – to suggest they pick it up, even for past seasons.
Recent updates on WCIW
We've added a post about the recent Hulu miniseries Dopesick (coming soon to Disney+ / Star in Canada). We've also made some updates our page about Discovery+ reflecting the news above, as well as overdue updates to posts about FX, Hulu, The Great British Baking Show, American Horror Stories, and this past summer's Black Widow movie, which just became available to everyone on Disney+ at no extra charge.
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