First came the news that CBC TV is investing heavily in the advertiser-friendly game show Family Feud Canada and bringing back the reality show Battle of the Blades. That’s bedrock commercial TV stuff, a craven move to get ratings and ad dollars. It’s fine, as long as the fluff is balanced by a plan to air substantial material. What CBC executives like to call “cerebral” content.
Was Canada pining for the return of Battle of the Blades? Were there torch-lit processions in towns and cities that I didn’t hear about? Nope. The show was done before and can be done again. That’s what commercial TV executives do when they’re desperate for ideas.
The desperate search for ideas recently became a very public issue when The Globe and Mail revealed that the bosses of the fifth estate had proposed a series of programs on the crimes committed by Paul Bernardo. Negative reaction from inside and outside the CBC was swift. And in its corporate reaction, CBC TV has been oddly defensive.
The very notion of a series focusing on Bernardo gave this country the creeps and understandably so. It’s a repulsive idea.