Canadian Television Programming Made for the United States Market

A History with Production and Broadcast Data


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About the Book

At the 1939 World’s Fair and the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), RCA introduced and promoted a novelty known as television. Two decades later, this technology was well on its way to permeating virtually every home in America and Canada as well, spawning a growing, thriving industry in the process. Canada’s two official languages (English and French), easy transborder reception of U.S. broadcast television stations, and an overall television market approximately one tenth the size of the United States historically impeded the growth of Canada’s television production sector. This situation led Canadian producers, directors, writers, performers, and other creative and technical personnel to increasingly turn their eyes—and their talent—to the international market. Canadians who had played a significant role in America’s entertainment industry since the silent era, turned to their southern neighbor as the most natural market for their creative endeavors. With a mix of practicality, adaptability and entertainment ingenuity, Canadians became responsible for an ever-increasing percentage of American television productions.
This volume traces the history of Canadian involvement in America’s television production industry and looks at the genres, time slots and viewing areas of the first Canadian television productions to appear on U.S. airwaves as well as the challenges that producers had to overcome to take their programming into American prime time. The book also discusses the reasons Canadian television producers have turned to a foreign market over their domestic one. The main focus, however, is the factors which led to an independent television production sector in Toronto, Ontario, and the Ontario–based companies that have successfully competed in the U.S. marketplace. Alliance Atlantis Communications is given particular attention as one of Ontario’s most successful production companies. Economic and political influences as well as current and future prospects of independent production companies are discussed. Appendices provide a chronology of Canadian television production from 1926 to 2004 and a list of Canadian–produced programs sold to the U.S. market. A list of acronyms and abbreviations and an index are also included.

About the Author(s)

Marsha Ann Tate is a librarian and lecturer at the Pennsylvania State University. She lives in Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Marsha Ann Tate
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 448
Bibliographic Info: chronlogy, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2745-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2181-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

Introduction      3

Acronyms and Abbreviations      9


1. An Overview of the Canadian Television Landscape      11

2. The Early Years of Television Production in Ontario      21

3. Great Expectations: Culture, Commerce, and Canadian Television Production (1960s–1970s)      32

4. Canada Takes a Televisual Turn (1980s)      45

5. Selling Canadian Television Productions to the World      57

6. Miniseries, Movies of the Week, and Premium Cable (Mid–1980s to Mid–1990s)      68

7 Atlantis Films and Alliance Communications: Running with the Big Dogs      76

8. Of Mounties, Moguls and U.S. Network Prime Time      90

9. Reality Bites (Late 1990s–Early 2000s)      100

10 Conclusion      106


Television Series, Miniseries, Made-for-Television Movies, and Specials Produced, Co-produced or Filmed in Canada and Aired in the United States      113

Appendix: Chronology of Canadian Television Production, 1926–2004      337

Chapter Notes      343

Bibliography      363

Index      417

Book Reviews & Awards

“I can’t think of any other source that would pull this information together in one place as this one does”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly; “shows the development of essential members of the Canadian television markets”—New Books in the Communications Library.