Simulcasting: It’s like coming up with your own ideas, but without actually having to do that

One ritual I look forward to every year is the triumphant return from Hollywood of the Canadian television executives, hauling across their mighty shoulders the spoils of the Comedy and Drama Hunt.

It takes a special kind of hubris to tout one’s enduring achievement in television programming when one’s enduring achievement in television programming is flying to California, pointing politely and saying, “That one, please.”

But every year, without fail, the best part of the Hunt is the breathless manner in which TV executives describe their accomplishments.

The president of “creative, content and channels” at CTV said yesterday that the network has “remained focused on creativity.” To be specific, it remains focused on American creativity – either airing it directly or copying it in format (Canadian Idol, So You Think You Can Dance Canada and – in what must surely be in development by now – a Cold Case Canada devoted to finding out where Ben Mulroney disappeared to). Trends come and go, but in Canada getting bizarrely jazzed about rebroadcasting some other country’s shows never goes out of style.

CITY-TV, meanwhile, bragged about offering an “unprecedented 16 hours of U.S. network simulcast in prime time.” What a claim to success! You know that programming that is entirely made elsewhere and easily viewed elsewhere and stars people whose grudging reluctance to film even the briefest of promos for our network is obvious from the surliness of their gaze as they stare into the camera? Well, now you can watch it on our channel as well. In fact, you have no choice. Even if you watch it on the American channel, it’ll be our feed.

You’re welcome, Canada.

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