Tuesday, January 29, 2008

CTV and CBS in Border Busting Flashpoint Deal

A story in today's Variety raises huge questions about the future of Canadian broadcasting, strike breaking and cross-border production.
CTV's aptly named Flashpoint--one of two dramas the network recently announced--is going to air concurrently on both CBS and CTV, beginning sometime this summer. The police drama will feature Toronto-native Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars) and other Canadian-born stars, and--most significant of all--is being written by Canadian writers.
This would seem to put those writers in an awkward, to say the least, position. The Canadian Guild settled their contract a year ago but their U.S. brethren are locked into a bitter, 13-weeks and counting dispute. Isn't CBS reaching across the border for a scripted solution? And how can the Canadian Guild look the other way?
Variety's Josef Adalian writes that "Flashpoint is believed to be the first scripted project developed and ordered to series by a broadcast network since the WGA walkout in November.
Final deal points between (CBS Paramount) and CTV were being finalized Monday, and a deal could be announced as soon as today." The series is expected to start shooting in Toronto in April.
More on this later, but check here for the full story in today's Variety.
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