Watching This Week #112
Listings for May 29 to June 4, 2023; Corus channels appear set to leave Eastlink.
An update on the future of Showtime programming in Canada, and other news from late November 2022.
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Hi, and happy Cyber Monday to those that observe. Welcome to the November 28, 2022, 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 a big update on the likely future of Showtime programming in Canada, after the listings for the coming week – and a few reminders of some Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals ending in the next few days.
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 since our last newsletter. Two asterisks indicates a schedule change, which may include programs we'd previously indicated as having been already released.
Listings this week may be incomplete as some services have not yet released full programming information for December; in some cases we've had to infer information from promos.
As a reminder, we may get an affiliate commission for services you sign up for through links in this newsletter, which helps support our site maintenance, at no additional cost to you. Prices are in Canadian dollars before applicable sales taxes, and may change in the future.
Late Friday afternoon, Bell Media announced the December arrivals and departures for its Crave streaming service. The end of the calendar year typically brings a slew of programming moves across the streaming services, as old contracts expire ahead of new agreements taking effect in the new year, so it's not a surprise to see a long list of departing programs throughout the month, and specifically on the last day of the year.
But among the programs leaving Crave this December are: The Comey Rule and The Good Lord Bird on Dec. 3; Episodes, House of Lies, and United States of Tara on Dec. 10; The Affair on Dec. 17; Californication on Dec. 24; and the original Dexter and Ray Donovan series on Dec. 31.
While those are only a few of the programs departing Crave this coming month, you may recognize these shows as among the notable programs in the Showtime library.
And that means the Showtime licensing arrangement that Bell Media and the former CBS Corporation announced in January 2015 may be finally – and unsurprisingly – coming to a close eight years later.
We say "unsurprisingly" because, as we've been documenting in recent months, Showtime's current parent company Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) has been bulking up the content on the Canadian version of its own streaming service, Paramount+. And as we mentioned last year, in many other countries, Showtime programming is already being integrated into Paramount+, meaning that absent some sort of drastic change of direction since then, the plan all along has been to eventually do so in Canada as well.
So what happens next? There are a couple of Showtime programs premiering in the next month on Crave, including George & Tammy, the six-episode miniseries that starts December 4. Crave's linear channels were recently still promoting Showtime's Three Women as coming soon, but the series doesn't have a finalized release date yet.
From January onwards, we would not be surprised to see new Showtime titles go to Paramount+ in Canada. We also expect, though, that existing Showtime series that are still in production – such as Billions and Yellowjackets – will continue to debut new seasons on Crave until their conclusion, consistent with how most of those series have been handled in other countries after Paramount+ began taking on Showtime programming in those markets.
Meanwhile, what will happen to shows like Dexter? Paramount+ Canada may not be saying anything yet, but suffice it to say, it seems clear that the service would be the natural new home for Showtime library programming going forward, potentially (but not necessarily) as soon as January.
Crave might keep some programs that are in progress, or have ended within the past couple of years, for a bit longer – the most recent Showtime show that's rolling off appears to be The Reagans from November 2020 – but it seems clear the rest will also move to Paramount+ eventually.
All of this could help explain Paramount+ Canada's recent 66% price hike from $5.99 to $9.99 per month, as well as the deep discounts that Crave – which, of course, still has a long-term contract for HBO programming – is offering new annual subscribers on its Crave Total plan this month.
We reached out to Bell Media and to Paramount's Canadian representatives over the weekend for clarification on the situation, but we (understandably) did not hear back from them in time for this Monday morning newsletter. If they provide any comment, we will update the web version of this newsletter.
Update: Bell Media sent this statement to WCIW Monday afternoon:
We can confirm that beginning Jan. 1, 2023, Crave will no longer carry new Showtime content. Crave continues to be the home of new and previous seasons of current Showtime series, such as Yellowjackets, Billions, Ziwe, The Circus, etc.
We've added a new post about Criminal Minds: Evolution this past week to clarify why it's ended up on Disney+, not Paramount+, in Canada.
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