'Country Canada,' 'Venture' cancelled

Canuck pubcaster the CBC is canceling some of its best-known, longest-running shows and has fired 41 staffers in cost cuts.

“Country Canada,” a show about rural life in the Great White North that has run for 52 seasons; 22-year-old business show “Venture”; and Newfoundland-set comedy “Hatching, Matching and Dispatching” are all out.

Newer shows cut include arts showcase “Opening Night,” crime drama “72 Hours” and Canadian/South African co-production hospital drama “Jozi-H.”

The remaining episodes of “Rumours” — producer Moses Znaimer’s adaptation of the Quebecois sitcom “Rumeurs” that stiffed in the ratings in the fall — will air in the summer, but it will not return in the fall.

“Many of the shows have had a great run, but in some cases, the viewership has been trending downwards,” said CBC spokesman Jeff Keay. “And in most of the cases, we felt the subject matter could be covered in other shows.”

Ten of the 41 jobs being cut are related to the canceled shows. The other 31 are in administration.

“We’ve had declining revenues in the advertising side, and that’s been worsened by the erosion of the parliamentary allocation,” said Keay. “So we’ve had to look for some efficiencies.”

The CBC’s annual parliamentary allocation of $803 million has stayed roughly the same in recent years, but execs say it has been undercut by inflation.

The pubcaster also unveiled new shows coming next season, including Showtime’s “The Tudors”; terrorist-themed drama “The Border”; rural Alberta drama “Heartland”; and “Sophie,” about the misadventures of a young single mother who runs a talent agency.

Shows returning to the CBC include flagship nightly newscast “The National,” ratings champ “Hockey Night in Canada” and hit comedies “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” “Rick Mercer Report” and “Royal Canadian Air Farce.”

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