Canadian TV writer Denis McGrath laments the current state of the TV biz up there:
The business model here — buy U.S. shows at dumped fire sale prices, and show 'em at the same time while you paste on your commercials — was always a far more fragile model than the one in the USA. But as the model that made their piggyback-industry possible crumbles, all the signs point toward the mandarins here taking in exactly the wrong lessons, and doubling down on a dying strategy.
As I have mentioned in past posts, Canada isn't particularly well-known for the quality of their home-grown, episodic dramas. But that doesn't mean they aren't producing a lot of them — the problem is, many are American shows that are merely shot in Canada for the tax breaks. Or, as blogger Will Dixon pointed out:
[…]as far as 'defining' us, service producing US programming is certainly high on the list of things we do as an industry…and the Stargates' definitely fall into that category (which is kind of an unfair rap against them because even though the vast majority of cast, crew, writers, showrunners are Canadian, it's primary investors and broadcasters have been American – MGM and US's Showtime and then SciFi channel). Thus, most people up here don't perceive them as distinctly 'Canadian' shows.
STARGATE, THE X FILES, THE COMMISH, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, PSYCH, and SMALLVILLE (and the first season of MONK) are just a few of the many American shows that have been out-sourced to Canada. Although the shows were shot entirely in Canada, and 95% of the cast and crew were Canadian, nobody considers them Canadian series…because they were created, developed, and financed in the United States, where they had their initial airings.
The unfortunate truth is that without American out-sourcing of TV production to Canada, the TV industry up there would be hardly an industry at all…and that's not good for the future of Canadian TV.