Duo sign deal for programming block

The Canuck pay channel, documentary, which was re-launched Thursday, has inked a deal with the Sundance Channel to run a Sundance Channel branded block of programming three nights a week in primetime.

The block will include feature films and series produced by the U.S. channel as well as pics that played the Sundance Festival and that fit with the Sundance Channel’s vision. The block will air Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights between 8 and 10.

“It’s a signal to our audience that we take our documentaries seriously and that we present some of the best stuff in the world,” said Bruce Cowley, creative head of CBC’s two pay TV channels, documentary and bold.

The two channels were relaunched on Thursday, and the programming has been substantially changed on both outlets. CBC took majority control of documentary (at the time named the Documentary Channel) from Corus Entertainment a year ago and took over full management of the channel in the fall.

The new approach is, per Cowley, “to make documentaries more relevant and viewer-friendly.”

There will be more one-hour formats (as opposed to feature-length docs) and there will be more themed blocks like the Sundance Channel block.

“We want to provide a little more predictability,” Cowley said.

CBC owns 82% of documentary, the National Film Board of Canada owns 14% and four Canuck production companies own 1% each.

Bold used to be called Country Canada and it was a service designed to appeal to the different regions with current-affairs programming. The new incarnation features edgy comedy and drama, performing arts programming and off-beat sports on the weekend. Fare includes “The Tudors – Uncut,” “The Comeback,” “The Mind of the Married Man” and British series “Funland.”

Since CBC has rights to this summer’s Beijing Olympics, bold will feature some Olympic fare, including equestrian and sailing events.

“It won’t be mainstream stuff,” Cowley said.

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