Chris Haddock goes down swinging

Yesterday this letter from Chris Haddock showed up in the London Free Press:

To Bill Harris

RE ‘Counter Intelligence’ (Nov. 27, story on differences of opinion between Intelligence creator Chris Haddock and the CBC): As the CBC itself has lectured me, “the only effective promotion is in the two weeks leading up to the event.” Well, in the two weeks leading up to the second-season premiere of Intelligence, we received absolutely no promotion, as anyone can testify. If anyone at the CBC has seen the memo that said to bury the show at each and every opportunity, please pass it along anonymously. I beg (CBC programming executive) Kirstine Layfield to stick to the truth when speaking to the press, for the entire nation is well aware of what goes on air at the CBC. If she wants to get into the numbers game and try and defend that archaic … system, bring it on.

Chris Haddock (writer, Canadian)

I couldn’t find the original story online, but who needs to? A lack of promotion, allusions to a conspiracy, a call out to Kirstine Layfield. This guy is obviously pissed.

He expands his thesis on the fishing website The Tyee. It seems this riddle wrapped in an enigma goes right to the top.

I’ve been told with previous projects that the most effective time to promote is in the two weeks prior to the start of the season. Yet we went into the first two weeks before the show with zero promotion anywhere. That isn’t accidental. That is a very well planned ‘bury’ by someone. It is somebody high up in the food chain who has the power to say, ‘Do not mention this show.’

The question is why would they be so hostile to the show? Who is feeling threatened by it? Is it the fact that I’m talking about dope, the narco-economy? Well, there are lots of people who would be offended by that. Or is that I’m talking about money-laundering? Well, there are lots of people who don’t want it talked about because they’re practising it. Is it the deep integration theme? Is that too politically sensitive for Harper’s Ottawa? Is it personal? Who knows?

Maybe it’s simpler than that. Perhaps it has something to do with He Who Shall Not Be Named, And Whose Likeness Shall Not Be Compared To That Of A Crazy-Ass Pig Farmer:

All I can say is that it has been a very difficult time with the regime change when they brought in a bunch of new people at the CBC. That’s often the case with any studio, is that when a new regime comes they want to start with a clean slate and be able to take credit for any new successes that are on the network. They tend to dump other people’s projects that have been coming along. But under no circumstances with a public broadcaster should one person be allowed to make such decisions. Then you simply become a corporation like any other.

Keep in mind that his show hasn’t even been canceled yet. Not since the merciful demise of Jeff Ltd. have we seen this calibre of outrage expressed by a crossed creator. I wonder if he might actually succeed in shaming the CBC into keeping his show?

Stay tuned.

22 comments:

  1. Dwight Williams
    Posted December 11, 2007 at 12:00 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Joe: exactement! Comparisons to 24 and The Wire are not entirely off-base. I’ve not yet seen the latter, but in terms of the former…you’re on target.

  2. joeclark
    Posted December 11, 2007 at 11:22 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Intelligence is, in fact, exactly the kind of show CBC needs if the goal is to build an audience. Having to pay close attention from the very start builds loyalty and commitment and is central to the success of 24 and Lost. Of course, those are American.

    Essentially, J. Happypants is arguing for TV one can channel-surf onto and away from. Push that concept right to the wall and what you get is Doc, now showing on the LCD monitors at Tim Hortons.

    Also, CBC will likely be the subject of a complaint because two derivatives of the word fuck aired on the penultimate episode before 9:00 PM. Its happened before.

  3. Dwight Williams
    Posted December 9, 2007 at 12:24 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Latest on a celebrity endorsement of the series from a source we should have expected, but didn’t:

    http://www.thestar.com/article/283846

  4. Angry CBC Staffer
    Posted December 9, 2007 at 7:23 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Chris Haddock is a national institution. The way CBC has treated his show is shameful. Kirstine Layfield should publicly explain why The Hour, an obvious flop, deserves so much promotion while the acclaimed Intelligence is treated like the proverbial step child.

    And why is the very unfunny George Strombo hosting The Hour when any TV exec with half a brain knows Rick Mercer is the only one at our Corp who could come close to the tradition of comedic late night hosting.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted December 5, 2007 at 10:45 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Here, here, Johnny Happypants – you hit the nail on the head! If you don’t pay 110% attention to each and every minute, you lose track of what’s going on in Intelligence…

  6. Anonymous
    Posted December 5, 2007 at 10:10 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It’s not about the numbers. Mosque is drawing less than half of what it started with and they keep trying to prop it up with promotion. And The Hour’s numbers are terrible yet they stick with it. I don’t subscribe to Haddock’s wilder theories about why they’ve dumped him but decisions are made on the basis of more than ratings.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted December 5, 2007 at 9:42 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Mr. Happypants made the best point of all – if you didn’t see the first show of each season you were, like, lost, man. That is the crux of Haddock’s arg. The show was NOT promoted actively or appropriately by CBC. What’s the phrase, “damn with faint praise”? Sabotage may be a descriptive word to use.
    The real story here might be personality conflicts between Haddock and CBC bureaucraps..

  8. Johnny Happypants
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 7:48 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Intelligence is the wrong kind of show to air if you’re trying to build an audience. Too confusing, even for a pot smoking, stripper loving egghead like me. If you didn’t see the first two episodes of either season(and more than 30 million taxpaying Canadians didn’t)you’d never get into it.

    I think they gave up on it last year when they stopped showing it during the xmas holidays. Thousands of viewers didn’t go back when it returned in the new year.

  9. Dwight Williams
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 6:50 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Begging your pardon, but I’m convinced there’s room for both Intelligence and The Border on the CBC TV Drama roster, based on what I’ve seen of the former on the screen and what I know of the latter via one of their writing staff, Mr. McGrath specifically.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 5:57 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The Border for sure will trounce Intelligence. Raymont is great, cast and crew too. Haddock’s stuck in Davinci timewarp.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 4:34 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hmmm, how many calls or letters did viewers send…. Why not ask KL? Fans, let your voices be heard!!!! Sure a far better show than Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!!!! (Or for that matter The Hour – have they hit 300,000 yet?)

  12. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 4:06 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Will be interesting to see who wins this smackdown…The Border or Intelligence. Bet Raymont’s not sweating it his shows already sold internationally before airing.

  13. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 2:20 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The Hour, Intelligence, Mosque, MVP and The Border were being developed by Slawko?

  14. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 1:51 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Intelligence is not unique in getting no promotion from the CBC. Shows have to win the equivalent of a lottery now to get attention from the outside PR company. If your show is not on the A list and the show producers aren’t talking it up or getting it talked up (out of their own pockets or their own work day) it just doesn’t get done. It means CBC pays good money to make or buy shows that people never find out about.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 12:54 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    The Hour, Little Mosque, The Border, MVP, Dragon’s Den, Test The Nation and Intelligence were all in development before the current programming administration walked in the door. So how are they selectivly promoting programs that only they are responsible for???

  16. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 11:41 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “Intelligence” is a little too “Starbucks” for the new CBC, “The Border” looks much more “Tim’s”.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 11:16 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I heard through the grapevine about a week ago that the show had been canceled, although it’s obviously not yet official. It would explain why he’s being so bold.

    That being said, I hope that I’m wrong and that Intelligence isn’t dead yet.

  18. Kevin
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 9:33 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    He does know he’s making a work of fiction, right? Does he think that CSI Miami is a documentary series?

  19. Some fan in east Ontario
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 9:08 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I don’t care for their approach to self-preservation, then. I want Intelligence to continue.

    Should’ve known this would be a risk after Da Vinci’s City Hall and This is Wonderland

  20. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 8:48 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    They use their limited resources to promote the projects for which they are responsible i.e. The Hour, Mosque and soon The Border and MVP. Nothing so unusual about that, it’s self-preservation in the corporate world.

  21. An Intelligence fan in east Ontario
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 8:30 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Count me as one who hopes that Haddock gets everything he wants, needs and deserves and is never made to regret getting it.

    *throws a very pointed look at certain executives, although not entirely sure if Haddock or Ouimet’s theory is the right one…*

  22. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2007 at 8:24 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I dunno about the timing, but I quite like the guerrilla advertising for Intelligence, with the stickers and the “gangland hit” tabloids pasted up on construction hoarding.

    I like the show, and no doubt Haddock has a right to be pissed, but still, he’s burning his bridges rather dramatically, isn’t he? He must be awfully confident that his American version is going to fly (and I’m not at all convinced it will.)


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