New arrivals in Canada in February include a new season of "Drive to Survive", FX's "Kindred", season 2 of "The Other Two", and more.
Welcome to the January 16, 2023, 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 our take on the newly-announced TSN+, plus updates on Slasher: Ripper, Gotham Knights, and more. But first, here's what's ahead on Canadian TV this week.
What's new this week – January 16–22
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 (or has been rescheduled) since our last newsletter.
- Netflix: Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins (2021 film – Tuesday), Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre (horror anime series – Thursday); That '90s Show (spin-off/continuation of That '70s Show – Thursday); Women at War (French series – Thursday); Bake Squad (season 2 – Friday); Bling Empire: New York (reality spin-off – Friday); Fauda (season 4 – Friday); Represent (French comedy series – Friday)
- Disney+: Super Junior: The Last Man Standing (docuseries – Wednesday); The Heir: The Freestyle Dynasty (LatAm reality series – Fridays); Idina Menzel: Which Way to the Stage? (doc – Friday)
- Crave: Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song (2022 doc – Monday); Ambulance (2022 film – Friday); Just for Laughs 2022: The Gala Specials – Patton Oswalt (Friday); Oldboy (2003 Korean film – Friday); Real Time with Bill Maher (season 21 – Fridays); two semi-recent Sesame Street specials (Saturday)
- Prime Video: Detective Knight: Independence (action film – Friday); The Legend of Vox Machina (season 2 – Friday)
- CBC Gem: Grand Designs New Zealand (season 7 – Monday); Jamie & Jimmy's Food Fight Club (season 8 – Wednesday); Hammer (2020 thriller film – Friday)
- Paramount+ (also available as a channel on Prime Video and Apple TV): Are You The One? (season 8: "Global Edition" – Wednesdays) [additional listings have been posted by MobileSyrup but we cannot independently verify them]
- Apple TV+: Truth Be Told (season 3 – Fridays)
- BritBox (also available as a channel on Prime Video and Apple TV): Stonehouse (miniseries – Tuesday)
- CTV: Night Court (revival of the 1980s series – Sundays [also Tuesdays on NBC starting this week])
- Global (also on StackTV): Accused (crime anthology – premieres Sunday, then Wednesdays thereafter)
- Citytv (also on Citytv+): Wong & Winchester (Canadian crime drama – Tuesdays)
- Showcase (also on StackTV): The Calling (police drama – Mondays)
- W Network (also on StackTV): One of Us is Lying (season 2 – Thursdays); The Way Home (Hallmark Channel drama series – Sundays)
- Starz (also available as an add-on/channel on Crave, Prime Video, and Apple TV): The King's Daughter (2022 film – Friday)
- Season premiere of Miracle Workers: End Times (CTV Comedy) delayed by TBS from Monday, Jan. 16 to future date yet to be announced
- Season 4 premiere of 9-1-1: Lone Star (CTV) delayed by Fox from Tuesday, Jan. 17 to Jan. 24
- Note that a handful of series on CTV – particularly those that regularly air on Sunday and Monday nights – will be shifted to special nights over the next couple of weeks due to NFL playoff coverage. This week's episode of Alert will air on Thursday on CTV instead of Monday (where it will still air on Fox), while the new episode of East New York that aired last night on CBS will be shifted to next Wednesday, January 25 on CTV.
Yet another plus
For the past few years, ESPN in the United States and its part-owned-but-not-quite equivalent in Canada, TSN, have been pursuing different paths for the direct-to-consumer market. This past week, they began to converge – at least a bit.
In the U.S., the Disney-owned ESPN launched its over-the-top service, ESPN+, in early 2018, which absorbed events previously available to cable subscribers through the ESPN3 (né ESPN360) platform and added a few others like exclusive UFC events, but specifically does not include access to the ESPN linear cable channels, and has very little event overlap. That's because this would put ESPN's lucrative cable carriage fees at risk.
Disney executives have mused that a full ESPN streaming option will eventually come in the U.S., but it doesn't seem to be imminent – and even that most recent quote was from an executive who no longer works at Disney.
Meanwhile, in Canada, the Bell Media-controlled TSN launched its TSN Direct service (the "Direct" part has now been dropped from marketing) in June 2018. This has never been anything more or less than the ability to stream the same TSN channels and online content available to cable subscribers, without a traditional TV service subscription, for $19.99 per month. Presumably, that high cost (combined with the service's ownership) negates any concern from TV service providers.
Over time, more and more sports content has been added to TSN's online platforms that has not been available on the service's linear channels – like Spain's top soccer league La Liga, PHF women's hockey, Formula One companion feeds, and the fledgling All Elite Wrestling promotion's Friday night show Rampage.
(You might assume that TSN's expansion to five channels in 2014 would have given them plenty of room for all this content, but because four of them are the default TSN channels in different parts of the country, there are still regular simulcasts of major events across multiple channels.)
Now, having just acquired Canadian rights to PGA Tour Live following the shutdown of Warner Bros. Discovery's niche GolfTV service, TSN is rolling that property, as well as the Canadian rights to the relaunching XFL (held globally by ESPN) and the IndyCar Series (previously held by Sportsnet), plus most of that other streaming-only coverage (you may notice some parallels here with ESPN3 above), into a new service called TSN+.
As of now, we don't know much about how TSN Plus will be sold beyond the fact that it will be a direct-to-consumer service separate from TSN itself. So, if you want this content, you'll eventually have to pay extra for it – but we don't know how much yet. Calling it a "direct-to-consumer" service implies it will primarily be sold through the TSN website and app (through the same infrastructure used for TSN Direct), though it wouldn't surprise us if a bundled option is available on Bell Fibe TV and/or other providers.
For now, though, the content is available for free to everyone – including those without a TSN subscription, though in some cases subject to providing an email address for future marketing.
Other questions that come to mind that will probably be answered in time:
- Who is going to sign up for this? There's enough exclusive content that might justify the cost of the service to hard-core fans of a few different sports – soccer, golf, auto racing, junior-league hockey – but it's hard to gauge this ourselves. For casual sports fans, the interest is probably quite a bit less. Some of the moves seem odd to us – we think it's doubtful that pro wrestling fans are going to sign up for TSN+ solely for one hour of content each week from AEW's secondary program (unless they're interested in any other content), but it seems to be within TSN's prerogative to try it.
- What about the access to NFL RedZone currently available through the TSN app to TSN subscribers? Conveniently, this announcement comes just after the end of the NFL regular season – RedZone isn't active during the playoffs – so TSN doesn't have to answer that question right now. The NFL is known for being fairly strict on what is or isn't included in its broadcasting contracts, though – it may not allow a move of this type.
We are more curious what'll happen to the Canadian rights to Sunday Ticket / Game Pass, since the league and Bell are still very tight. TSN+ may be a better fit for the premium nature of the package than TSN itself was, and more comparable to current Canadian rightsholder DAZN. (DAZN did not clarify how long its most recent agreement runs, and it's possible it was only a one-season renewal; YouTube's new Sunday Ticket deal that starts in the 2023 season is for the U.S. only.)
- Will other ESPN+ programs like Peyton's Places be available? A few ESPN+ series, including Tom Brady docuseries Man in the Arena, have been available on TSN as well as Disney+, and it seems like going forward they'll be bundled into TSN+ as well. It's not immediately clear that what the holdup has been with the various Places series co-produced by NFL Films and Peyton Manning's Omaha Productions (soon to include a hockey version hosted by P.K. Subban), but it doesn't seem like the launch of TSN+ will directly change much in that regard.
- The fifth season of horror anthology series Slasher, subtitled Ripper and starring Eric McCormack, will premiere in Canada on Hollywood Suite starting Thursday, April 6, the same day as its U.S. premiere on Shudder, with episodes rolling out weekly.
The U.S. premiere date for Slasher: Ripper was just one of many announced by AMC Networks during its session this past week at the Television Critics Association press tour. Many of the other dates and channels should be consistent between Canada and the U.S., but at least one other – Canadian-Irish series Sisters, which premieres in May on IFC U.S. – will have a different home in Canada, having been previously announced as a co-production with Crave.
- Industry publication WorldScreen indicated that Showcase would premiere new DC series Gotham Knights on March 14, the same day as its U.S. premiere on The CW. We would take that with a significant grain of salt given that we couldn't verify this elsewhere, not to mention Corus' occasional tendancy to reschedule programming.
- Starz has taken over the commissioning rights to Lionsgate-produced comedy series Minx, which was recently cancelled by HBO Max after one season despite its second season being already produced. There's no indication yet of whether the series will move here from Crave to Starz Canada, but Bell Media could easily handle it as it did with early Starz series where the first season remains available on Crave and future seasons are available solely on Starz.
Here's some of the reader questions we've received recently by email (email@example.com). 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.
Christine: I'm trying to find the Boys in Blue football documentary series in Canada. Any ideas where it could be?
WCIW: The series in question originates from Showtime. Given that Crave’s deal with Showtime expired at the end of last year, we would expect it will eventually show up on Paramount+ in Canada, though nothing to that end has been announced yet.
Shane: I was wondering why the show Coyote starring Michael Chiklis, which debuted when Paramount+ was still called CBS All Access, has never been made available on Paramount+ Canada?
WCIW: It looks like Coyote was a Sony-produced series, so Paramount may not have been necessarily free and clear to stream the series globally, though it’s surprising neither they nor any other service has picked it up here yet.
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