I came into the world of Canadian journalism at a time when local TV truly was local. A lot of interesting, (and I use that word advisedly) television was produced by privately-owned affiliate stations in cities and big towns across the country. Some of it stunk. Some of those shows became huge hits and launched the careers of a few people who went on to become international stars.
Remember SCTV? Don Messers’ Jubilee? You Can’t Do that on Television? The Red Green Show? These shows all came out of local affiliates, and developed huge Canadian followings after they were picked up by a network. These stations may have been affiliated with either the CBC or what would become the CTV or Global networks, but they produced their own local news programs and controlled their own schedules too. A few stations were affiliated to both the public and private television networks. Their schedule might have a mix of CBC, American, and CTV programs punctuated with their own locally-produced shows. As already mentioned, sometimes the shows were painful to watch. But it was local, and for a lot of viewers – and local advertisers – that’s all that mattered.
That’s just to add to what you’ll read if you head on over to “Medium Close Up.” It begins with the NBC/Leno/O’Brien flap, but then provides context to what’s going on here in Canada with the CTV/Global/CBC campaign to “save local TV.”