Odds & Ends: Comedy Gold goes to Wow! Unlimited; Beyblade Burst Evolution next month

We finally know which of Bell Media’s broadcast licenses will be relaunched as Wow! Unlimited’s new cable channel. In an interview with Canadian media industry publication Cartt.ca, Bell Media’s president Randy Lennox has revealed the company “horse-traded” Comedy Gold to the Canadian animation company. The channel came up in a discussion about the future of linear television in Canada.

Randy Lennox: I agree with (Corus CEO) Doug (Murphy) that there are too many channels. I wholeheartedly agree with him. But, it’s not the existence of the channels that’s the negative, it’s what you do with them. So Series+, which we’ve just purchased from him, has a strategy to it that we will undertake when we take over the business. Historia has a strategy that we will undertake.

Book and FashionTV are dormant, non-strategic, so there’s a very big difference… it’s the old adage, right? It’s not what you say it’s how you say it. Well, that’s how specialty works. You could have it as resting channels, or you could do what we do with Comedy Gold, where I took Comedy Gold and horse traded it to become a worldwide partner with Wow Unlimited, with Micheal Hirsh who’s the founder of Nelvana. Now, anything that he does worldwide… we’re a significant shareholder, as a part owner. That would be a good example of a dormant existing channel, in that case Comedy Gold, that extrapolates into something useful.

As an aside, the interview provides a strong insight on Bell Media’s philosophies as a Canadian business in a space that’s increasingly seeing foreign competition.

Comedy Gold had been speculated to be involved in the deal since the initial Bell Media and Wow! Unlimited announcement. The channel ended the 2016 broadcast year with 680,000 subscribers. Comedy Gold originally launched in September 2001 under the ownership of Craig Media as the Canadian version of retro rerun US channel TV Land. Craig was purchased by CHUM Limited in 2004. In 2007, CHUM itself was purchased by what would later become Bell Media. The channel was re-branded to Comedy Gold in 2010 with a focus on sitcoms and other comedic programming from the 1970s to 1990s. As a result of its devotion to older content, the channel currently doesn’t have a high-definition feed.

Last month, Bell and Wow! Unlimited finalized their transaction agreement and appointed the Senior Vice President and General Manager for the initiative. Now all that’s left is regulatory approval from the CRTC. A window for that approval and the eventual relaunch hasn’t been shared.

Speaking at MIP Junior in Cannes earlier in October, Wow! Unlimited’s Chief Creative Officer and Director, Fred Seibert, opined that children’s television hadn’t really acknowledged the last 20 years. “Television is still programming every half hour, a new show. The only thing that changes is the names of the shows. There is no indication that the most searched term among kids, across the world, is Minecraft. I don’t think if you look at most kid’s television that you’d even know that something like Minecraft exists.” He elaborated that the company hasn’t really decided on the direction the channel will go in, but that they’ll likely run it in consideration with the data their digital VOD businesses provide.

Via: Digital Home

At MIPCOM, Nelvana made a wide production agreement with Discovery Communications to launch a joint-venture subsidiary to create content, predominantly for the Latin American and Canadian markets. The animation studio also announced a Chinese incubation program with its sister company Toon Boom and WeKids to develop original properties in China for the global market.

Elsewhere, Sunrights has announced that they’ve sold Beyblade Burst Evolution, the second season of the third generation of the Beyblade franchise, to Disney XD in the United States and the Corus duo of Teletoon plus Disney XD in Canada. While a date wasn’t shared, Kidscreen reports it’ll debut here sometime in November.

Sunrights has since opened a Canada-specific YouTube channel for the brand where fans can find character profiles and time sensitive episode uploads. They’ve also updated the official site and have begun streaming a trailer for the show’s second season:

The teaser confirms Vancouver’s Ocean Productions will return to produce the English language version.

Speaking of Teletoon, the channel turned 20 on the 17th. Corus was oddly silent about the anniversary, which led me to believe it wasn’t going to be recognized. Well, the social media person created a short video featuring the channel’s contemporary shows to celebrate the occasion:

Frequent collaborators FreshTV (Total Drama, 6teen, My Babysitter’s A Vampire) took out a full spread on Playback Online to celebrate the date.


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