This is a big night for the CBC. We get to see how they telecast a CFL game without their usual people. They might do what the NHL did in Quebec on French TV a few years back: go with no announcers. I watched those games on Radio-Canada and actually a lot of folks loved it, thought it was great they were all on strike and that they could watch sports with no announcers.
It takes just one labour disruption for the critics of the CBC to come out of the woodwork. Even the National Citizen's Coalition got into the act calling for its privatization, and the Montreal Gazette took the channel to task for its programming and bloated resources. It's all politics with these people. They're all going overboard and going on a tear, even talking about how irrelevant all the entertainment programming is, even though it's just the Canadian Media Guild, not ACTRA, that's on the picket line.
I personally think they're going a little overboard right now. But the relevance of the CBC and its connection to the public is a serious issue right now. Look at the TV ratings all year and you'll see what I mean; CTV has been totally cleaning up. You want relevance? Here in Toronto people line up across the street from the CBC, at the Toronto Convention Centre, to get in to see Canadian Idol live. Now that's a show that people care about here. My question is: why isn't CBC carrying this show? Or a show like it? Maybe they've gotten out of the business of showing hit programming.
Lots of Canadians truly don't care anymore about the programming on the CBC these days. They used to have great programming, but not anymore. The only CBC TV entertainment series that people get excited about are the British imports like Coronation Street and Doctor Who. Really, apart from Rick Mercer, what else do they have? Jimmy Macdonald? Red Green? The fact is that the most relevant shows that CBC has right now are The National, Hockey Night in Canada, and the CFL. And that's what is getting hit at the moment. Nobody really cares about the rest of the programming because they're too busy watching CTV, Global, Citytv, MuchMusic and TSN.
(Personally, I think that Hockey Night in Canada will go on even if the lockout lasts until hockey season. They'll just pick up the American NHL broadcasts and show those feeds from Fox Sports Net or wherever on Saturdays. Unless there's some union rule forbidding it or something. But I'm sure they'll find a way to show something.)
The question is more about what will happen to the CBC now that their most relevant programs are gone. Will anyone care? The scary thing is that these viewers may not care that they are missing the CBC news. And people are going on a rant against the news, now, too. This editorial writer at the Brandon Sun is daring to call the CBC "arrogant". He berates the old-fashioned CBC approach to newsgathering. Read for yourself a pretty interesting article/indictment of the CBC.
You know, I have to admit, he's got a point. But I won't say that everyone at the CBC is arrogant- I've met their sports people and they actually seem down to earth. When they're actually working.
(Which is rarely, it seems. Would help matters a lot if the sports they covered actually held games.)