I'll be on CHCH's Live @ 5:30 today (at, yes, 5:30) with Mark Hebscher and Donna Skelly to address the whole HBO into Canada debate currently wasting air up in Ottawa. The CRTC has been asked by the Canadian cable and satellite providers to allow them to offer HBO, Showtime, ESPN, Nickelodeon and other "forbidden fruit" from across the border into Canada. This just as even Americans don't want HBO anymore. The premium cable service has been in a creative slump lately. Long gone are "must see" gems like The Sopranos, Sex and the City and even flawed but fascinating expensive flops like Rome. Those follow up Deadwood movies--never gonna F***in' happen. Even Entourage has become boring and there will be no new episodes of it or Flight of the Conchords and Big Love until the fall.
The writers strike has also delayed the premiere of HBO's next big hope, True Blood, a vampire drama (like we need another one of those) from Six Feet Under's Alan Ball. For more on HBO's programming woes, check out this current article in Mediaweek here.
Just the other week, HBO pulled the plug on 12 Miles Of Bad Road, a new drama starring Lily Tomlin. This after six episodes were already produced. In even more chilling news, the network has just re-signed a creative deal with Robert Wuhl, the supremely unfunny dude behind Arli$$. What the heck is going on over at HBO?
Things have been no better in the boardrooms of the cable giant. The thug in charge of the network beat up his girlfriend in a parking lot last year and got the heave. The long time No. 2 has packed it in and moved on.
Canadians can get anything they still might want on HBO just as fast by subscribing to The Movie Network and Movie Central, where they also get to see goodies from surging Showtime, including Weeds (back with new episodes in June) as well as Dexter and The Tudors. The latter two are also available free on CTV and CBC.
Still, last week's poll at TV Feeds Ny Family showed that HBO was still the No. 1 draw among channels we still can't get. The grass is always greener on the other side of the border, I guess. Friends of Canadian Broadcasting's Ian Morrison will take the hysterical "Canadian culture will be forever doomed if this happens" stance today on 'CH.