The great Canadian kids’ TV hot mess of 2015 (or Family without the magic of Disney and other tragic tragedies)

Disney Channel Collage

Disney Channel is finally here! (It only took them a few decades.) However, Disney Channel didn’t arrive without completely messing with the kids’ TV landscape. (logos via Corus, DHX, Disney, Turner and Wikimedia)

The roll out of the Canadian version of Disney Channel has been quite messy to say the least. It’s easily the worst launch for an American brand in Canada since Target’s epic 25-month trainwreck escapade up in the great white north. Corus, the folks who operate YTV, Nickelodeon (Canada), Teletoon, W and others, snagged the rights for Disney shows away from DHX, the new owners of Family, and the Canadian versions of Disney XD and Disney Junior, leading to quite a mess and an upending of nearly every major kids’ channel on TV. Let’s recap what went down.

Gaming Show's Jesse and Ian play MLB 14: The Show

You better get used to seeing a lot more Gaming Show on Family (screenshot via Rogers Anyplace TV)

After losing the rights to Disney content, DHX’s Family, Disney XD and Disney Junior made a slow but steady shift away from Disney shows to in-house produced programs like Gaming Show (In My Parents’ Garage) and The Next Step and broadcasts of whatever random show they could get their hands on, like the original ITV version of The X Factor. In a bit of a surprising move, DHX also announced that Degrassi would be coming to Family. (How they expect to tone down an MTV series for their audience is beyond me.)

The planned logo for Telemagino. (Don't worry, I doubt the name makes much sense in French either) (logo via DHX)

The planned logo for Telemagino. (Don’t worry, I doubt the name makes much sense in French either) (logo via DHX)

It was also reported in the press that Disney XD was to be renamed Family XTRM, the English version of Disney Junior was to be renamed Family Junior and the French version of Disney Junior was to be renamed Famille Junior, but they changed their minds. DHX later announced that Disney XD will become CHRGD and Disney Junior’s French version will become Télémagino, while the English version will get the Family Junior brand they announced earlier.

Family CHRGD (Is anyone really going to watch this thing?) (Logo via DHX)

Family CHRGD (Is anyone really going to watch this thing?) (Logo via DHX)

However, now it’s looking like CHRGD will retain the Family name as recent DHX press releases have started to refer to CHRGD as Family CHRGD. A logo released alongside a new press release also has the Family brand included. (It’s the one I used for the logo soup above.)

Adios Teletoon Retro (logo via Wikimedia/Corus)

Adios Teletoon Retro (logo via Wikimedia/Corus)

Still with me? Okay, so that’s only one part of the puzzle. Now over to Corus’ side. Corus announced they would be launching a new Canadian version of the Disney Channel, but to the lead up, heck, even to the launch, details were sketchy. We did know Teletoon Retro and its French equivalent were going away, but some places said it would be replaced by Disney Channel, while others said it would be replaced by Cartoon Network.

Disney La Chaine or La Chaine Disney or something (logo via Wikimedia/Disney/Corus)

Disney La Chaine or La Chaine Disney or something (logo via Wikimedia/Disney/Corus)

They were both kinda right. Apparently the French version of Teletoon Retro was replaced by La chaîne Disney on all providers, but the English version of Teletoon Retro was replaced by Disney Channel on some providers and Cartoon Network on others. My provider, Rogers, replaced the English version of Teletoon Retro with Cartoon Network and the French version with La chaîne Disney. The English version of Disney Channel arrived a few days later somewhere else on the dial.

(Interestingly enough, the French Canadian version of Disney Channel is the only version I know of that has the “Channel” bit of its name translated from English into another language.)

To add to the hullabaloo and confusion, going to disneychannel.com still redirected to family.ca instead of the new disneychannel.ca domain despite that Disney Channel officially launched in Canada. That issue has since been sorted out, though, but I can’t think of a logical reason why the redirect change over wasn’t done before.

Corus decided to mess with Teletoon and Cartoon Network because why not confuse kids and parents even further? (logo via Wikimedia/Turner)

Corus decided to mess with Teletoon and Cartoon Network because why not confuse kids and parents even further? (logo via Wikimedia/Turner)

However, if you think the mess stops there, it doesn’t. Corus decided to shove some of Teletoon Retro’s old shows onto Teletoon and move all the Cartoon Network shows that aired on Teletoon to Cartoon Network.

That big empty line is actually supposed to be Cartoon Network (screenshot via Roger Anyplace TV)

That big empty line is actually supposed to be Cartoon Network (screenshot via Roger Anyplace TV)

So, most of the big drawers for Teletoon, including Adventure Time, Uncle Grandpa, Regular Show and Clarence, are now on some obscure digital cable station that’s hard to find. If you think I’m joking by saying hard to find, I’m not. The Rogers IPG listed Cartoon Network as Teletoon Retro, complete with Teletoon Retro’s old schedule (or no schedule at all on the AnyPlace TV Home Edition app, for a while after the switchover from Teletoon Retro to Cartoon Network was made.

Adult Swim's schedule is missing from its website for some reason (screenshot via adultswim.ca)

Adult Swim’s schedule is missing from its website for some reason (screenshot via adultswim.ca)

Thankfully, Cartoon Network had its schedule online during the fiasco. But as you may know, Cartoon Network transitions into Adult Swim at night, and it gets treated like its own channel. It doesn’t help that Cartoon Network links to the wrong domain for Adult Swim in its footer (adultswimcanada.com instead of adultswim.ca). If and when you figure out the right domain, you’ll notice that the Adult Swim site doesn’t actually have a schedule up despite there being a link for a schedule. I’m not sure if that’s just Adult Swim’s twisted humour or if that’s just Corus being incompetent again. Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Teletoon at Night and Teletoon all have Teletoon Retro’s site listed in their footers, but the channel is now defunct. Cartoon Network and the Adult Swim site seem to be missing Rogers and their other new carriers in their footers, too.

Adventure Time isn't on Teletoon anymore, but you wouldn't know that by looking at Teletoon's site (screenshot via teletoon.com)

Adventure Time isn’t on Teletoon anymore, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at Teletoon’s site (screenshot via teletoon.com)

Corus had bigger blunders up online, though. Despite moving all of the Cartoon Network shows to Cartoon Network, the Teletoon site still lists them as airing on Teletoon and many of them still have show pages. Teletoon’s site also lists Adventure Time and Clarence as top shows, but they’re on Cartoon Network now.

So, why move your top shows to an obscure cable network? My money is on to get cable and satellite providers to pick up Cartoon Network and to get more money out of the station. Some cable and satellite providers seem to be tripping over themselves to get both Disney Channel and Cartoon Network on the air. Rogers launched Disney Channel in the west coast spot of YTV on the dial, leaving viewers without a west coast feed for YTV (that I know of).* Yet the severely crippled Teletoon and Family still have west coast feeds, though. Rogers didn’t even bother to update their IPG to show that they added Cartoon Network for a few days, and they put Cartoon Network smack dab in between Investigation Discovery and Comedy instead of with the kids’ channels.

However, Corus is going to reach a breaking point. They have YTV, Nickelodeon, Treehouse, Teletoon, Télétoon, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and La chaîne Disney under their control in Canada. There’s also a rumour that Corus will relaunch the Canadian versions of Disney XD and Disney Junior later this year. If that’s true, and those are completely new channels opposed to rebrands of existing channels, that will be 10 kids’ channels owned by one company. They not only virtually monopolize kids’ TV in Canada, but they’ve stretched themselves too thin.

Teletoon? Ain't nobody got time for dat (screenshot via YouTube/Teletoon)

Teletoon? Ain’t nobody got time for dat (screenshot via YouTube/Teletoon)

Teletoon isn’t worth much without Cartoon Network content, and the Canadian version of Nickelodeon isn’t worth much if most of its content is aired (or has aired) on YTV anyway. (Actually, I think almost all of Nickelodeon’s content could be shifted over to YTV on Demand or YTV proper without anyone shedding a tear.) Corus is probably expecting cable companies to pay them more for Disney Channel, La chaîne Disney and Cartoon Network, too, and that cost will likely come down to us eventually. But with the Canadian Nickelodeon, Teletoon, the current DHX incarnations of Disney XD and Disney Junior (and likely the future Corus incarnations of Disney XD and Disney Junior, if they come to fruition) being next to useless as most of their shows air elsewhere or are sparsely watched, aren’t cable companies just going to drop them once their customers start cord-cutting because they don’t want to pay astronomical cable and satellite fees? Let’s not forget that there’s competition for kids’ eyeballs from the web, too.

Moreover, people who don’t have kids might be stuck with well over a dozen kids’ channels that they have little to no use for. Maybe some adults might care to take a peek into what Cory and Topanga are up to these days on Girl Meets World or watch one of the seemingly endless Spider-Man or Batman movies on Teletoon, but generally kids’ channels aren’t of much interest to adults without kids. However, TV packages might be on the road to extinction because of the CRTC pick-and-pay ruling, and Corus better hope to God the cable and satellite companies find a way to get subscribers to stick with their bloated packages or else Corus will likely be more screwed than it already is.
Nickelodeon Canada is dead, isn't it? (screenshot via nickcanada.com

Nickelodeon Canada is dead, isn’t it? (screenshot via nickcanada.com)

So, while not only confusing the heck out of everyone with their kids’ channels, Corus is almost certainly going to have to shut some of them down or sell them in the near future. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nickelodeon, Disney XD/Family CHRGD and Disney Junior/Family Junior going the way of the dodo for lack of original content, too. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if Corus is in the process of shutting down the Canadian Nickelodeon or replacing it with Disney XD or Disney Junior. The Nickelodeon Canada site looks barren, and instead of a schedule the site tells visitors to visit back on November 2nd. What could possibly happen then? I guess we’ll have to wait till then to find out.

*Update: I later found YTV’s west coast feed on Rogers. It’s now in between City Calgary and TVO in that random mix of network channels from coast to coast, rather than with the kids’ channels. I have no idea who is going to be able to find it there.

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