August 31, 2001
7:00 AM   Subscribe

We're getting some new cable channels in Canada, and one of them is PrideVision, the world's first gay, lesbian, and bisexual television network. Even ten years ago, would anyone have thought we'd someday see programmes like Closeted Hollywood, Dyke TV, Queer as Folk, and Metrosexuality on North American television? And as a category 1 service, Canadian cable companies are required to make PrideVision available as part of their digital service.
posted by tranquileye (14 comments total)
Canada is part of North America?
posted by aj100 at 7:10 AM on August 31, 2001

This is unrelated to the issue of gay programming, but I'm getting a little sick of the thousands of millions of rubbish niche channels you get on digital TV, here in the UK anyway. I think I've got at least ten DIY channels, six showing only repeats of Oprah/Ricky/Killroy/Esther/Maury Povich(?)/Montel Williams/Trisha etc etc etc, 24-hour access to the most psycho American TV evangelists ever known and seven different channels on which to buy an abs-busting aerobiciser. And I can't wait for BBC Food, BBC Gardening, BBC Pets, BBC Nostalgia and BBC Lowest-Common-Denominator. I only got digital TV to watch live streams of Big Brother (sad but true).

Two of the programmes mentioned above originated on Channel 4, which is a free terrestrial channel over here. That's where the quality niche programming comes from, not from channels that just buy proper broadcasters' content. That's my rant over.
posted by Summer at 7:26 AM on August 31, 2001

Summer, we're getting a lot of the usual recycled American formats, like Animal Planet, Biography Channel, and so on, as well as a couple of channels very much like Nick at Nite. However, I find some of the new services at least interesting, like 24/7 wacked-out of flicks on Drive-In Classics, and WETV, an environmental broadcaster that we helped create in 1996.
posted by tranquileye at 7:43 AM on August 31, 2001

You're right, tranquil, it's not all bad, I've just got channel-surf fatigue. It just seems that programmes are now actually being made to be endlessly recycled on digital channels, hence the glut of animal, nostalgia, cooking and home and gardening programmes you get on the BBC that will go out to UK Style, UK Play, BBC Choice, Living etc and eventually will find their way onto millions of cable and digital channels around the world. I've seen the future of TV and it's Rick Stein preparing sea bass with chinese greens over and over forever.
posted by Summer at 8:30 AM on August 31, 2001

I lived in Merrie Olde England from 1976-1979 (pre-teen), and the only channels available were BBC1, BBC2, and ITV ("Anglia?"). BBC2 was the *boring* channel, BBC1 had Top of the Pops, and ITV had a few fun shows for kids, like Saturday Banana and the Kenny Everett Video Show. Well, maybe Kenny wasn't for *kids* but we watched anyway :-)

Since I am now faced with a 50% chance of moving back to England within a year, I can't tell you how comforting it is to hear that there are more than three channel choices now. Viva La Television!
posted by davidmsc at 8:37 AM on August 31, 2001

Davidmsc, I'm sure you'll change your mind once you've experienced the Greyhound Racing channel...
posted by MarkC at 8:40 AM on August 31, 2001

GREYHOUND RACING CHANNEL?? Why, oh why can't Time-Warner ever pick up the GOOD channels??? Hey, at least I have the Game Show greyhounds, but plenty of Charles Nelson Reilly.
posted by davidmsc at 8:48 AM on August 31, 2001

Canadian cable companies are required to make PrideVision available...

The iron-fisted central command of all forms of communication by the Canadian government is truly creepy.
posted by aaron at 8:49 AM on August 31, 2001

It's not the world's first gay TV channel. A couple of years back in the UK there was Gay TV, a softcore porn channel with a few cheap lifestyle programmes that ran for a couple of hours each night on satellite and cable TV. However, the service wasn't viable so it closed after six months or so.
posted by kerplunk at 8:51 AM on August 31, 2001

Actually, when I lived in Santa Cruz a few years back....i guess it was around 93-94, there was a channel called the 90s channel which was chock full of all kinds of documentaries, experimental stuff and lots of Out stuff. Pretty cool, but I remember there being a lot of uproar in the community about it.

Oh and Santa Cruz also has Corey Feldman hanging from railway trellises in the middle of the night, so buyer beware.

Banana Slugly

posted by Kafkaesque at 8:55 AM on August 31, 2001

The CRTC has theoretically sweeping yet, in practice, limited powers over television and radio broadcasting, and nothing else. There is no Central Committee overseeing small-town newspapers and your Weblog in Manitoba.

Now, was the CRTC going overboard in the CTV and Global decisions on the topic of newsroom independence? Sure. And that bolsters the argument against the CRTC. But it is a lie to claim there is such a thing as "iron-fisted central command of all forms of communication by the Canadian government." It must be pointed out that even the United States regulates its broadcasters, but not its newspapers.

As the kids like to say, WTF?
posted by joeclark at 11:38 AM on August 31, 2001

Hey aaron, troll much? No "iron-fisted central command" of radio and TV in Canada, for better or worse. The CRTC have made some amazingly odd and wrong-headed decisions (about which I could expound for many hours) over the past 30 years, but these days tend to be very, very industry and sector driven.

In regards to the digital channels, the commission made only a few required (16 English), and seemed to make a point of choosing a few less commercial channels (Books, Documentary, Independent Film, queer, Land & Sea) for that category, which I don't have a problem with. The rest of the approved services (262! including Weddings, Wine, Poetry Channel, Jazz, "Celtic Country," Recovery TV, Hindi Movie Channel, etc.) have to work out something with the cable companies in order to get on, and only a few have done that. The result: 40 new channels, the bulk run by the usual players: Global, CTV, Alliance, and CITY.
posted by tranquileye at 12:28 PM on August 31, 2001

For everyone complaining about niche channels you always have to skip, can't you program your TV or cable box to skip over them for you, automatically? Most allow you to "drop" channels from your list so that when you scroll through, you don't even see them. My father has digital cable, and it wasn't until yesterday that I learned we actually do get MTV2 (you know, the one that plays nothing but videos) and we have all along, he just didn't like it so you can't flip to it unless you input the channel directly (131). It's a feature I've seen on even the most basic of modern televisions, and it seems like a nice tidy solution to your problem. No more Greyhound Racing TV...
posted by kevspace at 12:55 PM on August 31, 2001

Some of our new channels sound good, but I fear the TV industry is shooting itself in the foot with the push for more and more and more channels. I tried watching 200+ channel satellite TV at a friend's in NYC, and I felt like I was an air traffic controller. There was more administration than entertainment. It took so long to figure out what was on that by the time you had settled on something, you had already missed it.
posted by D at 3:31 PM on August 31, 2001

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