CBS and NBC Buy Canadian TV Programs.
CBS and NBC, looking to reduce prime-time programming costs as advertising shrinks, are turning to Canadian television producers for new shows.
CBS, which introduced the Canadian drama “Flashpoint” last year, is adding “The Bridge,” a police series also filmed in Toronto. NBC nabbed “The Listener,” about a telepathic paramedic in the same city.
U.S. networks have made shows in Canada for years to gain tax benefits. Now they are buying dramas written and produced for Canadian TV and set north of the border. CTV, the nations largest private broadcaster, is sharing costs and will air shows at the same time. The results are licensing fees for new dramas that are about half the typical $1.6 million per episode.
“We may, in five years, look back upon all this and its a blip, but I dont think so,” said Peter Sussman, partner at Toronto-based Aver Media LP, which financed “Flashpoint.” “The economics of Canadian and U.S. co-production create a model that cant be ignored.”
“Flashpoint,” about an elite tactical squad, was the most- watched original new drama last summer, providing a boost to CBS after a strike by TV and film writers shut down production on most series.
In addition to “Flashpoint,” CBS in February ordered 13 episodes of “The Bridge.” NBC will broadcast 13 episodes of “The Listener” after May, the company said.
The pickup of Canadian shows by U.S. networks validates the past 25 years of growth in the countrys TV industry, said Sussman, former chief executive officer of Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc.s entertainment division, maker of CBSs “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” series.
“These shows didnt get on the air only because of the business deal,” Sussman said. “They made it onto the air because they are quality productions.”
* Text above from: Andy Fixmer (Bloomberg.net)