Skip to comments.Death of Canada’s music-video-channel era? MuchMusic left with skeleton staff after job cuts
Posted on 07/12/2014 1:16:15 PM PDT by Squawk 8888
As a MuchMusic VJ in the channels 1980s heyday, Terry David Mulligan remembers sneaking a film crew into the very temple of the American music industry the Grammy Awards.
His boldness paid off with a shot of a moment that went down in music history Metallica storming out in a hail of curses after losing to Jethro Tull for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance. And Mr. Mulligan did it with what could charitably be called a small fib: telling the security guard he was part of the film crew there to accompany Olivia Newton John.
He said, Thats the dumbest thing Ive ever heard, Mr. Mulligan recalls. And we went in. And we did 55 interviews that day.
That was the sort of gonzo-video style that put MuchMusic on the bleeding edge of hip in the early years after its 1984 debut, making it the kind of cultural leader and tastemaker that new media groups like VICE and Gawker, occupy today. Top musicians and their fans made pilgrimages to Muchs downtown Toronto studio space, designed to be a gathering spot, as well as a broadcasting centre.
That time has all but come to an end. This past Wednesday at 10 a.m., Catherine MacLeod, senior vice president for specialty channels for Muchs owner Bell Media, called a meeting with production teams from Much, MTV Canada, M3 (formerly known as MuchMoreMusic) and the entertainment channel E!, and broke some stunning news, according to a source familiar with the matter.
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Maybe we can reform Buggles and record a song called “The Real World killed the video star.”
In its heyday, Much was a fantastic source for those who like to discover new music and new artists. I think what happened is that people tired of the “video flow” format of MTV & Much, leaving both scrambling to fill airtime. With Much the problem was compounded by the regulators ordering them to continue broadcasting content that nobody wanted to watch.
Please add me.
Welcome aboard! This list is brand spankin’ new. I’ll start an intro thread as soon as I have some time.
Are you referring to the infamous Canadian content laws? The same ones that gave us Bob and Doug McKenzie?
So often, government regulation accomplishes the opposite of what it was intended to do.
Much, and various other cable channels enjoyed having government keep competition away — until they experienced the dark side of government “protection”.
This is sad news. I very “much” remember watching this channel with my daughter in the 90s.
Canada really does great TV. SCTV is one of the greatest TV shows of all time, pure snarky brilliance that you would never find on US TV. The only US show that comes close is Carol Burnett with her soap opera and movie parodies.
They were subject to CanCon but that was not the issue here because (1) Canadian tastes are different from those of Americans, (2) there was a *lot* of excellent Canadian music being released, and (3) they needed to differentiate themselves from MTV that was available via satellite.
The real problem was that the CRTC, Canada’s broadcast regulator, is in the habit of micromanaging format and content. The biggest headache for all specialty TV channels is the capricious manner in which they regulate competition; a good example of this was their decision that three TV stations in Toronto was too much for Bell to control but it was OK for Bell to sell one of them to Rogers, which already owned two TV stations, three radio stations and the cable company here.
My favourite Canadian show was Forever Knight from the early 1990s. It was about an 800 year old vampire trying to redeem himself while working as a homicide cop in Toronto.
Favorite Canadian music video: “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats.
That was awesome. My sister briefly dated Ivan Doroschuk just before she left Canada permanently.
Thanks for inspiring a link to add to the list: http://www.menwithouthats.com/
That sounds good. Hubby really likes, oh what’s it called? “Flashpoint”? About the sort of SWAT/Hostage Rescue team?
It’s got a bunch of good actors in it, including the gal most beloved by my daughter for being one of the original Power Rangers.
It’s a wee bit “kumbaya” for me, but it is a good show and very well acted.
She had some tough competition. That blond girl in the "Safety Dance" video was the most beautiful girl in 1980s' music video.
She was finally ID'ed as Louise Court, who went on to become an editor for Cosmopolitan in England.
“Let’s revitalize programming!”
“Let’s diversify the workforce!”
“Let’s cut costs!”
“Let’s trim salaries!”
“Let’s do another audit!”
Nobody at Bell Media ever thinks:
Let’s SELL SOME TIME!
Hold a million dollars in ad sales in front of their faces and they say:
“How interesting. That stuff looks like money. Oh well. Let’s examine our programming phenomenology vis a vis transcultural phenomena. And by the way why did Bob get fired?”
If only Mtv could die a quick death too
I remember Forever Knight
Some of the worst TV in the Anglo-sphere comes because of content laws and government funds. :p
Talk about small world. Enrico Colontoni, the star of that show, was a classmate of mine in elementary school and lived just a block away. I actually envied him when a tobogganing accident kept him out of school for quite some time. His legal name was Enrico but everyone called him Henry.
Enrico has a new show on Global, Remedy, that recently completed its first season. It’s pretty good; he plays the boss of a major downtown hospital with three kids working there as well- a drug-addicted son, a daughter who’s a nurse, and a daughter who’s a Surgeon. You can probably find episodes online at globaltv.com; last time I checked they never took down episodes of shows that they owned outright.
Another good one that ran on Global for two seasons then a two-hour finale a year later was Bomb Girls, about the workers at a WWII munitions plant in Toronto. Uneven but very watchable.
Sounds about right. CTV was the best network in the country until Bell took over, now it’s the worst. Even Rogers-owned CityTV has a more appealing lineup.
He is very good in that show. LOL, I don’t know if it’s such a good idea to have your drug addicted son working at your hospital. I guess a lot of the kids envied him for staying home from school, but it’s good he was OK.
Forgot to mention my favourite- Murdoch Mysteries, a cop show set in 1890s Toronto. The first episode was about the Current Wars, where an Edison demonstration of the dangers of AC power (electrocuting a dog) was sabotaged to kill the person who threw the switch.
The first four seasons ran on CityTV (citytv.com) then it moved to the CBC (cbc.ca). CBC never creates hits, they pick up hits from the private networks and run them about 5 seasons past the sell-by date- SCTV and Red Green are the best-known examples of this. Murdoch has stayed pretty good so far but there has been some PC slipping into it recently so I give it 1-2 more seasons max before it becomes unwatchable.
Yeah, we were all freaked when it happened- he put his foot out while passing a tree and nearly destroyed his leg as a result. I wasn’t there but my neighbour told me about it just after it happened. IIRC we were about eight years old at the time- we were in third grade.
It's interesting to have him use existing materials at hand to anticipate future technologies. The Wild Wild West TV show did this, and of course MacGyver was an expert at using whatever was at hand to develop some awesome weapon or bomb. Murdoch sounds like it combines these elements with a more serious detective plot.
I also like interweaving real historical figures into the story. Historical fiction with a lot of fact is something I like.
Robin Sparkles is sad.
Hubby reminds me that he was in season 1 (I think) of Person of Interest. He was introduced as a mild mannered fellow, but we found out that wasn’t the whole story.
The best was when they used pencil, paper and a grid to get a photograph wired from London.
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