Posted June 11, 2021 • Last updated May 22, 2022

What's Next in WCIW #2

A few early thoughts after the Canadian TV networks' 2021-22 schedule announcements.

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This post was temporarily made available to all readers on May 22, 2022 in advance of our projections for the 2022–23 season.

Welcome to the June 11, 2021 edition What's Next in WCIW, the subscribers-only analysis newsletter from Where Can I Watch. (For non-subscribers coming across this post preview on the website, please see our memberships page for more about subscriptions.)

The Canadian networks have now announced their fall schedules for the coming 2021–22 season – you can read the announcements for CBC, CTV, Global, and Citytv on their respective press websites, or you can see our full grid just below.

So, how did we do with our projections? And what does it all mean?

A television schedule for the 2021–22 season, displaying the announced schedules of the U.S. and Canadian broadcast networks. Due to the nature of the content we are currently unable to provide a screen-readable version.

For CTV, we think we got about 25 hours correct out of the 28 weekly hours between 7:00 and 11:00 p.m. The main differences from what we projected: no CSI: Vegas (that went to Global, and CTV will air Alter Ego post-Fox in its timeslot instead); no Transplant until mid-season; the unexpected pickup of Celebrity Wheel of Fortune; and The Wonder Years airing early on Wednesdays. Also, it looks like CTV will try to alternate between La Brea and Our Kind of People on Tuesdays at 9:00 – we'll see how long that lasts.

Nothing was announced for CTV2, which was consistent with what happened at Bell's upfront last year. So we can't say how we did for that yet, except it looks like it may be left with even fewer first-run series than we'd anticipated.

Global's schedule ended up being slightly less predictable, though we were quite close on programming apart from CSI: Vegas. The other major schedule difference was opting to keep New Amsterdam in simulcast and instead airing FBI: Most Wanted earlier in the evening; we'll have to assume they'll adjust if there are any single-night crossovers for all three series. But beyond that, it's mostly minor differences with how their Canadian shows and programs like 48 Hours are scheduled.

We got most things right for Citytv except for Sunday nights, where they've apparently decided to abandon the Fox "Animation Domination" lineup in favour of Bachelor in Paradise Canada – which we'll dive into a bit more now.

There is some logic to Citytv's decision to drop Animation Domination (outside of being able to apply some of its required Cancon hours to a franchise that's a known audience draw): American Idol, which City also carries, will be returning in January, and the Fox sitcoms have been regularly shifted into other timeslots over the past couple of years when Idol is in season.

But it's been a strange if slow Canadian decline for a lineup of programs that, up until only a few years ago, was a lynchpin of Global's Sunday night schedule, before slowly moving to City. The Simpsons, which apparently aired on stations like CHCH initially but moved to Global by the mid-1990s, was the last holdout, only moving to Citytv just three years ago in 2018.

To be clear, if no other Canadian channel picks them up, they'll still be available on Fox affiliates. But if so, it might – might – lead to a situation where Disney, which now controls the underlying rights to most of the Fox animated sitcoms after its acquisition of 20th Television, elects to keep the Canadian first-run rights on Disney+ / Star, which already has second-run streaming rights to most of these shows. If nothing else, it'd be consistent with Disney's ongoing moves away from linear TV in international markets.

And those are not the only series Citytv has dropped – it's also apparently declining to pick up the next season of the ABC Signature (i.e., Disney)-produced series A Million Little Things. Citytv wouldn't have been able to simulcast it on Wednesdays anyways due to the Chicago series, but it would rather air an extra hour of Mom reruns at 10:00 on Tuesday rather than air AMLT then. (Edit (June 12): we initially missed that Corus / W Network has announced it would pick up the next season of AMLT.)

All of which makes us wonder about the state of relations between Rogers and Disney – the latter of which has been picky about its Canadian partners in the past. The deal for FX Canada remains in place for now, but perhaps that's just because of the length of the deal, and Disney could be looking towards the end of that as well.

A few thoughts about some of the other announcements made this week:

  • While Crave remains ad-free and therefore was not directly mentioned during Bell's upfront, Bell did announce a number of new commissions for Crave – like limited drama series Little Bird, and Thunder Bay, a docuseries based on the Canadaland podcast series – that suggest it is starting to make a bigger priority out of original premium TV production in the HBO or Showtime vein. (Yes, there've been Letterkenny and Canada's Drag Race, but beyond that there've mostly been one-off documentaries, and a couple of shows like Healthy is Hot that seemed to basically disappear as soon as they arrived.)
    It seems kinda obvious to us, but more quality original content will be key if Bell / Crave wants to maintain its leverage when it comes time to try to renew its deals with HBO and Showtime – and to retain customers if one or both eventually decide to go purely direct-to-consumer in Canada.
  • Corus has made abundantly clear that it will be the home of Peacock originals in Canada for the foreseeable future, not to mention a number of other franchises that are going to be marketed on streaming in the U.S. like HBO Max's Jellystone and that Paramount+ Rugrats reboot.
    Subscribers to Corus channels are now split between Corus' StackTV offering on Prime Video (the combined subscriber count for StackTV and Nick+ is now over 500,000), and those subscribing through a TV provider who are probably still getting used to the idea of Corus being a pseudo-streaming service via the Global TV app.
    For Corus' family programming especially, we suspect the path to access is still not very clear for many people. Yes, there's VOD, but it's increasingly out of sight as people use smart devices and apps instead. After shutting down its individual "Go" apps for YTV and the like a few years back, could it now try to create something like the Global app for its family programming? Or even migrate this content into the Global app proper?
  • Finally, we wanted to touch on the CBC's ambitious slate for the fall. There's a lot of content already on the CBC's Gem platform, and clearly there's a lot more on the way, but our sense is that for various reasons, if all else is equal, many Canadians still only bother to watch shows like Schitt's Creek or Kim's Convenience when they show up on Netflix, rather than watching them as they premiere on Gem.
    Is there something new this year that can break through and get more people on the Canadian platform? Can the summer Olympics – if they actually go ahead – give Gem a big enough promotional boost? Only time will tell.

Thanks for reading What's Next in WCIW, and for your support of Where Can I Watch. We'll see you for our next This Week newsletter on Monday.

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