Canucks struck by TV cuts

73 productions to share $51 mil in reduced funding

TORONTO — A storm is brewing among Canadian television industryites as funding cuts leave a record number of applicants for grants empty-handed.

The Canadian Television Fund announced Monday that 73 productions, representing 960 hours of TV programming, will share its C$75 million ($51 million) license fee program — well down from last year, when it contributed $76 million to 154 productions.

The program uses a market-driven ranking system to direct its limited funds to the programming Canadian broadcasters have identified as most important to their schedules, said Sandra Macdonald, fund prexy and CEO.

“This was particularly important in a year where funding requests far surpassed the money we had available,” she added.

The Canadian Television Fund, which acts as a crucial trigger for other forms of funding in the byzantine Canadian TV financing system, was cut by 25% in the most recent federal budget.

There have also been cuts to the private portion of the fund. According to its administrators, this could result in 300 fewer hours of original indigenous programming this year.

Those that did receive cash include the sixth season of “DaVinci’s Inquest” and the seventh season of “Cold Squad.” But popular series including “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” and “The Eleventh Hour” did not receive funds.

A group of concerned producers, writers, broadcasters and actors is meeting in Toronto today to discuss the implications of the cutbacks. They include Ira Levy of Breakthrough Films & TV, Michael Donovan, executive producer of Alliance Atlantis’ Salter Street Films, which produces “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” and thesp Paul Gross.

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