I’ve got a triple sensation in me knickers

I read with interest this morning about Garth Drabinsky’s upcoming reality show, Triple Sensation in the Toronto Star (how did we get scooped on that one?), “a national search for young Canadians who share a passion for the performing arts and are blessed with a combination of talents in the disciplines of acting, singing and dance.”

Drabinsky was vehement in making sure that — despite the elements of a search for talent and a final competition — this program not be thought of as an imitation of Canadian Idol. Drabinsky preferred to describe it as “combining the intellectual engagement of Inside the Actor’s Studio with the tension of the audition scenes from the film of Billy Elliot.”

Boy, that Garth really knows how to pitch a show. Viewers are going to be frothing at the mouth for this one.

Inside the Actor’s Studio has to be one of the most sycophantic shows on the air, and Billy Elliot I never heard of. This is starting to sound like Pretentious Idol, although I’m willing to remain optimistic. No one wants them to succeed more than I.

Now after last week I swore off the Strombo, and after last summer I swore off the Andrew Ryan, but I can’t help myself here. Bear with me.

The story begins last week in an interview with the Tyee, where George discussed CBC-bashing in the media:

The One got a lot of attention. But it’s weird, because did you know ABC had five cancelled reality TV shows? Four of them ran on CTV and Global, but that never got reported. The only reason why The One is a story is because the media generally hates the CBC and takes any opportunity to rip the CBC. If something bad happens at CBC, look what’s new on the cover the next day.

John Doyle took it personally and got more than a little condescending:

Finally, while George Stroumboulopoulos is clearly smart, he’s kind of silly about the media in general….

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. CTV and Global buy American series that fail all the time. It’s business-as-usual in a commercial enterprise. CBC is a public broadcaster and took a highly unusual step in buying and simulcasting The One, a cheesy reality series, and staked a great deal on it. Even The National‘s timeslot was moved to accommodate it. And it failed miserably. That’s notable, and it’s news. It’s our tax dollars at work. Grow up George. There’s no conspiracy to “rip” the CBC.

Which would be fine. But what does Andrew Ryan do in Doyle’s “TV cranny” today? With a new season underway and more than enough to write about, he rips into the Dragon’s Den again, just 2 weeks after Doyle ripped into it.

Not only that, he’s “reviewing” the same episode Doyle did, the first episode, which aired weeks ago. So this is one episode, of one series, reviewed twice by the same newspaper, and panned twice, over a 2 week period.

Someone has their head up their TV cranny.

And it isn’t George.


  1. Justin Beach
    Posted October 20, 2006 at 1:32 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    First, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that CTV wants CBC gone. Why else would they go after the rights to things like the GG Awards which they know they won’t make money on? Prestige? Then why bury it in a weak time slot where no one will even notice?

    There are only two reasons why I can think of that two critics for the same paper would write reviews of the same episode of the same program two weeks apart are that they are trying to unreasonably denigrate the show or that they don’t read their own paper (even the section that they write for.)

  2. Allan
    Posted October 20, 2006 at 7:55 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    A bit of a stretch to suggest that “CTV wants the CBC gone”.

    Drabinsky has yet to have his actual day in court, but from the posters above it seems the verdict is already in before his new show airs.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted October 20, 2006 at 7:21 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Once CTV has hockey CBC Television will be totally irrelevent in any commercial sense. CTV’s numbers are now sometimes higher than CBC’s by a factor of ten. They don’t need to have their confederates slam CBC.

  4. Justin Beach
    Posted October 20, 2006 at 7:01 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    One of the problems with media conglomoration is that conflict of interest is always a possibility and difficult to disprove. The Globe and Mail is part of the same company as CTV and CTV wants the CBC gone, or at least out of commercial broadcasting. (The latter is something that many agree with.) So, are Ryan and Doyle ripping the CBC because they are expressing honest opinions, or because they are furthering CTV’s agenda? I know what their answer would be but the appearance of conflict of interest remains. What if CBC aired a weekly program where CTV and Global were regularly slammed? I think the shouts of conflict of interest would be deafening.

    That said, things like ‘the One’ and the newly announced Drabinsky thing do not make it easy to defend the Corp.

  5. Johnny Happypants
    Posted October 20, 2006 at 5:48 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    At first I thought this show was part of some work realease program for Garth. Then I read that the trial was still pending.

    I hope the trial coincides with the show’s run. The publicity could help the ratings.

  6. Allan
    Posted October 20, 2006 at 5:27 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And she scores!

    Billy Elliot is good, but my favorite “ugly duckling” movie is Ballroom Dancing – could watch it a hundred times.(details)
    Fewer times for Ryan and Doyle’s biopics here and here.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted October 19, 2006 at 7:56 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    So the guy who is a wanted criminal in the United States is the hero who will save English Television in Canada?

    Now I’m REALLY starting to believe the conspiracy theories that Stursberg is a mole whose job is to bring down the CBC!

  8. Den Mother
    Posted October 19, 2006 at 7:36 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    You know, I was a naysayer too. But last night’s Dragon’s Den was great. Really good Tv.

    And Ryan is wrong – the ratings are goin up for the show, every week.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted October 19, 2006 at 6:15 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Strombo is paranoid. What does he want? CBC to hire a thug to beat the carp out of anyone who is critical? That may be the way the boyz at Standard and Corus work, but not every organization is that corrupt.

    And c’mon, it is always an emergency with CBC. Take a deep breath, focus and get back to work.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted October 19, 2006 at 6:00 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Mr. Drabinsky and reality television are both of the past. The only skill required of a television programmer is that he or she be AHEAD of the curve when they pick ’em so that the shows seem part of the zeitgeist when they hit the airwaves. The situation at CBC Television is now an emergency.

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