Canadian cable network CBC Newsworld, owned by Canuck public broadcaster CBC, has cancelled its long-running, award-winning documentary strand The Lens, to the dismay of many in the factual community.
CBC is also shuttering its Wild Docs strands, but will roll projects from both strands into a newly expanded version of its The Passionate Eye series – which will now run seven nights a week – as well as other CBC documentary-based programmes such as Doc Zone and The Nature Of Things.
“The documentaries will continue to be broadcast under The Passionate Eye, which used to do just international documentaries and will now do both Canadian and international docs. Yes, we are under financial constraints, but we remain committed to documentaries. In fact, we have 77 hours of new documentary programming this upcoming season,” a spokesman for CBC told Canada’s The Globe & Mail.
He added that the compression of three shows into one will result in layoffs, but that they would be “minimal.”
However, many in the factual sector have responded with dismay to the news. In a statement, Norm Bolen, president and CEO of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, said: “We understand the financial constraints all broadcasters are under but the documentary genre should be better represented and funded by the broadcasting sector.
“Cancelling this outlet for one-off, point-of-view documentaries by independent producers will further reduce the diversity of voices and stories told to Canadian audiences.”
Meanwhile, filmmaker Peter Raymont, president of Toronto’s White Pine Pictures described the news as “devastating” and “very disheartening.”
In its 16-year run, The Lens (which was formerly known as Rough Cuts) has showcased some 175 Canadian documentaries from independent filmmakers.