Here's where the 2022 dramatic series from the creator of "Vikings" is available in Canada.
Welcome to the April 11, 2022, 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.
We have a packed edition with items like an Olympics rights renewal, news from the MIPTV market, CTV finally arriving on Roku, more Canadian home reno and food shows arriving in the U.S., a packed Mailbag, and more. But first, news about a prominent live reality series moving exclusively to streaming.
Strictly coming to Disney
Disney threw a bit of a curveball to the TV industry this past Friday, announcing that Dancing with the Stars – the U.S. adaptation of BBC Studios' Strictly Come Dancing format – would be moving solely to Disney+ beginning with its 31st season this fall as the platform's first live-to-stream series.
It looks like the rationale for the move, or at least one of them, is a handful of Monday Night Football games scheduled to air on ABC going forward. But the announcement explictly states that the reality dancing competition will be available on Disney+ in both the U.S. and Canada – meaning it will no longer air on Citytv either.
While Bell Media / TSN currently has MNF rights in Canada, it's possible that Citytv could pick up whatever ABC will be airing on Monday nights in other weeks. Still, it's the loss of one of the Rogers network's top-rated shows (at least some weeks), and it's a marked change from an era not that long ago when City could hold onto shows like The Mindy Project when they moved from U.S. broadcast to streaming.
Between DWTS and shows like SEAL Team and Evil (which moved from CBS / Global to Paramount+), it seems likely this trend will continue. And Canadian networks that have lived by the simsub may have to be prepared to, well, live without it.
- The CBC will remain the Canadian home of the Olympic Games through the 2032 summer games in Brisbane, under a deal with the IOC announced this past week, extending rights that were previously set to expire after the 2024 games. This package includes the 2030 Winter Olympics, which could potentially be awarded to Vancouver, though the timeline for that selection isn't yet clear. If so, it would mark the first Canadian Olympics since 1976 where the CBC would serve as primary domestic broadcaster (CTV was the host broadcaster in 1988, and led the Bell/Rogers consortium that aired the 2010 games).
The public broadcaster maintains the right to sublicence coverage to other media outlets, but nothing has been announced at this point. Regardless, there will still be a minimum of 100 hours of coverage on over-the-air TV for each edition. Future rights to the Paralympic Games will have to be negotiated separately with the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
- In deals coming out of the MIPTV market in Cannes: Bell Media has acquired Canadian rights to Syfy-ordered series The Ark, American-Filipino co-production Almost Paradise, and the second season of Leverage: Redemption (the first season having aired last year on CTV Drama), all from Electric Entertainment.
Meanwhile, the CBC has acquired rights to British drama Irvine Welsh's Crime (the first season is already available in Canada on BritBox) from Cineflix, as well as Austrian-set period drama Sisi from RTL.
- The eleventh season of Death in Paradise is scheduled to arrive on BritBox in Canada on May 3, a couple of months after it finished airing in the UK.
- While we already knew that HBO Max co-production Tokyo Vice would be available in Canada on Crave – and it is indeed branded there as an HBO Max Original – we thought it worthy of note Bell had to buy the Canadian rights separately from distributor Endeavor Content. In Australia, the series actually ended up with Paramount+, not Foxtel / Binge, HBO Max's current output partner there.
- Inconvenient Indian, the documentary based on Thomas King's 2012 book directed by Michelle Latimer, was well-received at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival and was originally expected to have a theatrical release through the National Film Board, with later availability on Crave. Instead, after a CBC News report raised questions about Latimer's claims to Indigenous roots, these distribution plans were cancelled. A subsequent defamation suit against the public broadcaster was dropped by Latimer in late 2021.
Only now, after discussions involving the film's other producers and Indigenous participants, has an "accountable path forward" emerged for the documentary, involving a broadcast on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network this past Friday night (it's not clear whether it might re-air on linear TV at a later date), streaming availability on APTN's paid streaming service Lumi, and community and educational distribution in the months to come.
- Are you, or someone you know, looking for original programs from HGTV Canada or Food Network Canada, like Rock Solid Builds, Wall of Bakers, and the forthcoming Pamela [Anderson]'s Garden of Eden... in the United States? Apparently, these and many other programs from Corus networks will be streaming stateside on Hulu, under an output deal announced this past week with the Canadian broadcaster's distribution arm Corus Studios. American premiere dates have not yet been announced.
- Amazon has changed its pricing for Prime subscriptions in Canada to $9.99 per month or $99.00 per year (plus tax), after nine years at the price of $7.99/month or $79.00/year, and just a couple of months after the price increased in the United States. The company says the increase is justified based on additional items being available for one-day shipping in Canada, as well as investments in content like the upcoming Lord of the Rings prequel series on Prime Video.
- The spinoff/merger of AT&T's WarnerMedia with Discovery was completed on Friday. As expected, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and several of the executives he brought in have departed, though the content heads of HBO and the Warner Bros. TV and movie studios will remain as part of the Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) leadership team.
- CTV has finally launched a Roku app, long after other networks like Global, CBC, and even sibling service Crave had launched their own apps on the platform. Roku is well-known for driving hard bargains in order to get a cut of the revenue of ads shown on its device, whereas other platforms (like Apple and Google) mainly focus on getting a cut of the subscriptions sold through that platform.
CBC still offers only a stripped-down app on Roku – without on-demand Gem programming – presumably due to this requirement, but it looks like the CTV app is fully-featured, at least in terms of access to all of the specialty channels available in the app on other platforms.
- As first noted by iPhone in Canada last month, a recent update to the Crave app on Apple platforms finally added, among other things, support for described video for the visually impaired on some content. Most programming on Crave's linear cable channels has included DV tracks since late 2019 under CRTC rules that came into effect at that time, but only now are these tracks being added to the on-demand versions of these programs. (Even then, support hasn't rolled out to all devices, like Android TV, and it does not appear to be available on the CTV app, which uses much of the same platform.)
Here's some of the reader questions we've received recently by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@wherewatchtv). 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.
Shane: If I had to make an educated guess, I'd say that HBO will renew their agreement with Bell/Crave beyond 2025 and does not have any intention of operating HBO Max in Canada in the long term. I am of the belief Warner perceives Canada as a third-class market that is not of any significant value to them, and that Bell/Crave will do everything in their power to tighten their iron grip on HBO content for decades to come. What are your thoughts?
We've gone back and forth a few times over the past few weeks in our thinking about what may happen in Canada with Crave, HBO Max and Discovery+ come 2025. Ultimately we would not be shocked, if perhaps a little surprised, if there ends up being a scenario where Warner Bros. Discovery, which is assuming a lot of AT&T debt as part of the merger, crunches the numbers and decides it's still better off licensing out HBO content in Canada to Bell.
That said, while Canada is a less important market for Warner than, say, the U.S. or the UK, we don't agree with the premise that Canada is near the bottom of the priority list for HBO Max (or whatever becomes of it), or at least that it would be much further down than some of the smaller markets where it's already launched (or about to) like Norway, Greece, or the Caribbean.
Obviously HBO's previous presence in those countries was much different than it is in Canada, which affects how (and when) they can go about launching Max, but we don't think that's the same thing as treating Canada as a lower-tier market.
Inge (sent on March 21): I started to watch Life & Beth on Disney+. There are 3 episodes. From everywhere I looked online, I saw that all 10 episode were released on March 18 in Canada. But I do not see the remaining episodes, and there's no indication of when they will be available in Canada.
As it happens, this situation was resolved fairly quickly – all ten episodes of Life & Beth are now available on Disney+ Canada – but it seems to be part of an ongoing pattern with Hulu original shows. Even in cases like these where the entire season has already been released elsewhere, Disney+ has gone with weekly releases in Canada and some other countries.
We think there are two possible reasons for this. One is Disney trying different things in different countries to see if it helps with customer retention (i.e., keeping people subscribed for longer). The other is that they may have simply been waiting on international translations (like French) to be available first, since Disney+ operates in a bunch of countries while Hulu is U.S.-only.
Sean: I saw that CNN had in late March introduced its new streaming app CNN+. At the time, the info said that it’s only available in the US. Are there any plans for it to eventually be made available in Canada?
As far as we can tell, CNN hasn’t said anything official yet about when CNN+ might be available in Canada or anywhere else outside the US, though a few articles have hinted that international expansion is part of their eventual plans. And we don’t believe there are any contracts that would cause significant issues with CNN’s programming rights.
That said, in light of the then-pending WBD merger and other issues at CNN, the team there may have been asked to wait until that merger is completed, and CNN's new boss takes charge, before they start looking at further expansions.
The new management there could, for example, decide they’d prefer to roll CNN+ content into Discovery+ internationally rather than launching CNN+ as a separate service in countries like Canada or the UK. To be clear though, that’s just an educated guess of one possibility.
Our guess is that the programming will be available in Canada in some form within the next few months, but we don't know for sure how yet.
Jim: Will Canada ever get access to Turner Classic Movies without resorting to a VPN? It’s almost impossible to find classic Hollywood films; even The Criterion Channel has very few of them. Do you know of any services out there that has a decent classic films (‘30-‘60s) selection?
To clarify, the TCM cable channel is available in Canada through most major providers like Rogers, but its WatchTCM on-demand offerings are not available through any Canadian provider, nor it is not available on any kind of over-the-top (streaming) basis. And there is not a direct equivalent to the TCM section on HBO Max U.S. on any Canadian service like Crave.
While the 1198 films made in the 1960s and earlier listed on Criterion Channel's Canadian website seems like a lot to us, if you're looking for other options, it's possible you may find something of interest on Kanopy or Hoopla, both of which are available through many public libraries (including the one in Toronto).
Perhaps, if and when HBO Max eventually comes to Canada, a bigger selection of classic films will be available there, but we've given up hope that U.S. cable channels will expend much more effort to expand distribution of authenticated "TV Everywhere" services like WatchTCM or AMC.com in Canada – they'll just focus on their standalone streaming services instead.
Recent updates on WCIW
No significant updates since we sent out the April guide last week, but we're planning on investing some time this week in updating our movie streaming rights database for paid subscribers.
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