THE BRIDGE: TV partnerships are great – until they’re not

TV partnerships are great – until they’re not
By: Gayle MacDonald
Date: July 27, 2009
Source: The Globe and Mail


Note: The below is a copy and paste of just the part about THE BRIDGE. To read the full article please click on the link above.


One obvious advantage of a Canadian-American partnership is that a show gets out into a broader universe. And while a licence fee from a U.S. network is never massive, it does allow Canadians to put more razzle-dazzle onto the screen. Further, a CBS/NBC/ABC/Fox stamp of approval is significant in the international television market. “If you’re a buyer in France, Australia or Brazil, a stamp from one of these guys goes a long way,” says Mustos. “It brings a certain comfort level.”

Toronto’s Laszlo Barna, co-producer of the upcoming police drama The Bridge, is a huge fan of the American-Canadian buddy system precisely because it opens international doors. “This is not just about the U.S. and Canada,” insists Barna, whose 13-part police drama is also slated to air mid-season. “It’s about broadcasters in all territories facing the same budgetary crisis.

“The best producers in the country are only receiving about 70 per cent of their financing – and they used to receive 100 per cent. The shortfalls in revenues have caused all broadcasters – not just in the U.S. – to democratize their trade practices, which allows the best programming, from whatever market, to come to the top. This is not a glitch in Canada. It’s a worldwide trend.

“There is simply not enough money in Canada, with the subsidy system and the recession, for that extra piece to put us into the comfort zone and be competitive.” Both The Bridge and Flashpoint have ballpark budgets of over $1.8-million an episode.