Sick of New Shows? Blame Canada!

Here┬┤s what the prolonged writers┬┤strike has led to: a Canadian invasion of U.S. primetime. According to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC is finalizing a deal to pick up 13 episodes of CTV’s upcoming drama series “The Listener.” The distributors of another Canadian drama, CBC’s “The Border,” are in discussions with several U.S. networks, including CBS and ABC. And ABC Family is in talks to pick up 13 episodes of CBC’s comedy series “Sophie.” That follows CBS’ deal this week to acquire 13 episodes of CTV’s new drama series “Flashpoint.”

The prolonged writers strike had triggered a serious look by the U.S. broadcasters into local series in the top English-language markets — Canada, the U.K. and Australia — reversing a decades-long programming flow in the other direction.

But Canada is getting all the attention these days. “Canada is the next big thing,” one U.S. agent said.

Canadian series are considered more accessible to U.S. audiences. They also provide the networks — whose pipeline had dried up because of the strike — with some much-needed original scripted series.

“This is good news for Canadian producers, writers, directors and creators that we have the opportunity to have Canadian series exported to the U.S.,” said Stephen Waddell, national executive director of ACTRA, Canada’s actors union representing about 21,000 performers. “Canada is ready for the big time. If you look at the (Canadian) programs that are being produced now, they’re interesting, they’re innovative, they bring a new perspective.”

What’s more, Canadian series acquired by U.S. broadcasters are strike-proof, as evidenced by the Writers Guild of Canada’s recent statement that “Flashpoint” is not a “struck work.”

Leave a Comment