Posted November 28, 2022 • Last updated November 29, 2022

Watching This Week #90

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.

What's new this week – November 28–December 4

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.

  • Netflix: Romesh Ranganathan: The Cynic (stand-up special – Tuesday); Vikings (season 5 [originally aired 2017] – Tuesday); The Lost Patient (French mystery film – Wednesday); Archer (season 13 – Thursday); JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean (final episodes – Thursday); The United States vs. Billie Holiday (2021 film – Thursday); The Masked Scammer (doc – Friday); Firefly Lane (season 2, part 1 – Friday); Lady Chatterley's Lover (film – Friday); My Unorthodox Life (season 2 – Friday); Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (film – Friday); Sr. (doc about Robert Downey Sr. – Friday)
  • Disney+: Criminal Minds: Evolution (Fridays starting Nov. 25*); Willow (fantasy film continuation series – Wednesdays); El club de los graves (Colombian series – Wednesdays); For Life (2020–21 ABC series – Wednesday); Darby and the Dead (supernatural teen comedy film – Thursday or Friday [conflicting info]); Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (animated film – Friday); Mickey Saves Christmas (recent ABC special – Friday); Pentatonix: Around the World for the Holidays (music special – Friday)
  • Crave: The Bob's Burgers Movie (animated film, also on Disney+ – Friday, Nov. 25**); Meet Me in the Bathroom (Showtime music doc – Tuesday); My So-Called High School Rank (HBO doc – Tuesday); Branson (HBO docuseries – Thursdays); Gossip Girl (season 2 of 2021 reboot – Thursdays); A Hollywood Christmas (HBO Max film – Thursday); Cocaine, Prison & Likes: Isabelle's True Story (docuseries – Friday); Matt Rogers: Have You Heard of Christmas? (Showtime special – Friday); George & Tammy (Showtime series – premieres Sunday; Fridays thereafter)
  • Prime Video: Your Christmas or Mine? (original film – Friday); Riches (British series – Friday); Three Pines (drama series – Fridays)
  • CBC Gem: Happiest Season (2020 comedy film – Monday); The Great Christmas Baking Show (2021 special – Tuesday); Cup of Cheer (2020 satire film – Wednesday); Ralph & Katie (British drama series – Thursday); Question Team (British panel show – Friday); Sisi (2021 drama series – Friday); W1A (2014–17 BBC series – Sunday)
  • Apple TV+: Slow Horses (season 2 – Fridays)
  • BritBox (also available as a channel on Prime Video and Apple TV): Hope Street (season 2 – Monday); Wild Bill (2019 series – Friday)

This week in deals

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.

  • Black Friday weekend deals we previously told you about, that are still ongoing through at least the end of today (Monday, November 28): Crave Total, TSN or RDS for one year for $119.90; select Prime Video Channels for $1.99 per month for two months; and Paramount+ (direct subscription only) for one month at $4.99 or for one year at $49.99.
  • Additional Black Friday weekend deals that we only found about this past week (likely also ending today): BritBox (direct subscription) for $1.99 per month for two months; Discovery+ (ad-supported plan) for 99¢ per month for three months.
  • Finally, a non-Black Friday offer for two free months of Apple TV+ for new and some returning customers also remains active until December 2.

The final Showtime nears on Crave

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.

Programming news

  • As noted above, Crave has released program listings for December; beyond what we discussed above re: Showtime, two points of interest to us were the arrival of Universal's Marry Me with Jennifer Lopez (which was released on Peacock in the U.S. simultaneously with its North American theatrical run earlier this year) on December 9, and confirmation that the service would carry HBO Max's Lizzo: Live in Concert (which is not part of Crave's overall output deal) on December 31.
    Other streaming services have been releasing December programming listings as well; we are working on collating the data for our monthly guide, which you should see in your inbox (or on the site) in the next few days.
  • Separately, WildBrain has announced holiday programming airing in December on its channels. Most of it appears to have aired previously elsewhere, except for Caillou's Perfect Christmas, which premieres December 9 on Family Jr.

Recent updates on WCIW

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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