Watching This Week #112
Listings for May 29 to June 4, 2023; Corus channels appear set to leave Eastlink.
Items from early August 2022: our analysis of the Warner Discovery news, plus newly-announced arrivals on Paramount+ and more.
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Welcome to the August 8, 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.
This week, we have updates about Days of Our Lives, Candy, and a bunch of new (and returning) arrivals to Paramount+. But first...
(This first section this week is mostly about studio news and some analysis about the distant future of a few specific streaming services. Feel free to skip ahead if you're just interested in programming news.)
You may have heard that Warner Bros. Discovery had some news this past week. Basically, as David Zaslav and the new management team (mostly from the legacy Discovery Inc. side) takes charge, they've dispensed just about everything about the previous management strategy of WarnerMedia and Jason Kilar.
Out: Batgirl, early streaming availability, and the HBO Max tech stack (much-maligned but significantly improved since launch).
In: ten-year plans, "genredoms", disappearing content, and the 90 Day Fiancé Universe (which, in fairness, is quite large, and highly-watched).
While we're not as concerned as some seem to be about the future of the HBO brand – WBD still seems to be feeling positively about the team in charge there – otherwise, there seems to be a serious case of "not invented here" syndrome. Which, honestly, is not a huge surprise considering everything that had been reported previously about the differences between Kilar and Zaslav.
From a business standpoint, many of the changes announced still make a certain amount of logical sense, if your primary consideration is the bottom line (as Zaslav's seems to be). But it absolutely seems like a raw deal for those involved in producing movies and TV shows that will never be seen – and more that were released but have now been permanently pulled from distribution – in order for the parent company to claim a tax writeoff.
So ultimately, the big news on the streaming front is that HBO Max and Discovery+ will eventually go away, and an as-yet-unnamed combined service will replace it starting next summer (2023) in the U.S., and other existing HBO Max / HBO Go Asia markets (and maybe a couple more parts of Europe) by late 2024. In the meantime, HBO Max will add some Magnolia Network content, while Discovery+ will soon "domestically" (i.e., in the U.S. only) add a CNN Originals section.
On the investor call where a lot of this was discussed, the closest WBD executives got to discussing how this might ultimately affect Canada was in response to a question about the future of HBO's relationship with Sky, which has a deal for HBO programming in countries including the UK, Germany, and Italy similar to what Bell / Crave has in Canada (and which has similarly blocked the launch of HBO Max there).
Streaming head JB Perrette described Sky as an "important" partner, noted that the Sky territories were not covered by the roadmap they'd just announced, and said "we don't have to deal with that question at this point". We can only assume he'd have said something similar if he'd been asked about Bell.
All told, it sounds like Crave and Discovery+ will be status quo in Canada until at least 2025 – which we basically already knew – but given the speed bumps in international rollout associated with launching the new service elsewhere, it might well be longer.
Here's some of the reader questions we've received recently by email (email@example.com) 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.
Ryan: Do you know if Orphan: First Kill will be released on Paramount+ in Canada on the same day as the U.S. (August 19)? I would also love to know when YTV is set to air Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Ghost Island since they don't have it scheduled for the same time as the U.S. (last weekend).
Response: We haven’t heard anything specific about Orphan: First Kill, the psychological horror film starring Julia Stiles, in Canada yet, but Paramount+’s press release about the movie only mentions the U.S., it was not mentioned in the Canadian highlights we received, and one of the producers is Entertainment One which has its own movie distribution arm in Canada. So it wouldn’t surprise us if it was made available for digital rental to start, or maybe on a different streaming service in Canada that’s partnered with eOne, like Prime Video or Crave.
As for Ghost Island, the latest season of the revival of 1990s Canadian horror anthology series Are You Afraid of the Dark?, there's no indication yet, but we wouldn’t be surprised if YTV waits until the fall to air the series, which (as you may know by now) is fairly typical for Corus-owned channels. Honestly, with last weekend having been a long weekend in most of the country, it wouldn’t have been a great weekend to premiere any new TV show in Canada.
Jim: Is Dark Winds set to come to a Canadian streamer?
Response: Dark Winds, the 1970s-set psychological thriller series about two Navajo police officers which counts George R.R. Martin among its executive producers, premiered on the AMC TV channel in June. It's already available on AMC+, which is available as an extra-charge streaming channel on both the Apple TV app and on Prime Video. At this point, we don't expect it to come to any other Canadian streaming service in the near future.
In addition to new posts about the aforementioned Days of Our Lives and Candy, we've updated our post about The Last Movie Stars to reflect the increased possibility that it could end up on Discovery+ in Canada, and added a new post about the Premier League, which kicked off its 2022–23 season this past weekend.
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