August 5, 2015

Teletoon Retro to shut down September 1, 2015

Teletoon Retro to shut down September 1, 2015

While I’m not Canadian, I have kept tabs occasionally on the goings-on with Canada’s premiere animation cable channel, Teletoon. For years, it’s been the main analog of Cartoon Network in Canada—until recently, Canada’s been a noteworthy standout that didn’t have an actual Cartoon Network version.

Just as Cartoon Network has a sibling channel Boomerang, since 2007 Teletoon also has had a sibling channel, Teletoon Retro. Like Boomerang, it mainly aired classic animated programs, plus a handful of more recent shows. Like its parent channel, Teletoon Retro also has a French-language version.

However, that looks to be changing. Teletoon’s owners plan to shut down Teletoon Retro as of September 1, 2015. The reason cited in a FAQ:

After a regular business review, we decided to make some strategic changes to our channel lineup, including the discontinuation of TELETOON RETRO.  We believe these changes are the most effective way to service our audiences. Corus remains committed to providing high quality, award winning programming for Canadian kids and their families.

However, the most prominent classic shows will supposedly find a new home on Teletoon proper:

Some of your TELETOON RETRO favourites, like Looney Tunes, The Bugs & Tweety Show, ScoobyDoo, The Smurfs, The Flintstones and more will be moving to TELETOON.  Please visit TELETOON.com in September for specific schedule details.

I presume those shows will be either aired throughout the day mixed with the newer shows, or aired in its own block similar to how Cartoon Network once featured a “Boomerang on Cartoon Network” classic block on Saturday mornings in the mid-2000s.

Of course, that leaves the other shows on Retro’s lineup—the ones that weren’t the all-time classics—up in the air. I assume they’ll either be seen sporadically on Teletoon, etc., or like older shows in the US, be considered as something for animation fans to buy on DVD.

There’s a few other possible reasons for Teletoon’s changes. It looks like Canada’s recently approved big changes to how cable channels are regulated. (Unlike the US, Canadian cable TV is more strictly regulated/licensed by the country’s broadcast regulator CRTC.) CRTC has approved of à la carte cable TV channels and unbundling required packages, starting in 2016. As such, there’s currently a bit of a scramble by broadcasters to rearrange aspects of some of their cable channels, especially less popular channels. Thus, I wonder if Corus (Teletoon’s owner) wants to focus more on their higher-profile channels.

Another possible reason for killing off Teletoon Retro: a Canadian version of the Disney Channel is debuting on September 1, with Corus as the channel’s Canadian operator. (Corus also operates the Canadian versions of Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, oddly enough.) I assume the new Disney Channel will air on the soon-to-be-empty channel slots Teletoon Retro filled. This also marks a big shakeup (and a lot of shows doing channel hopping) of kids’ TV in Canada, per Disney traditionally offering its shows to Canada’s Family channel. A few Family shows have aired here stateside, such as “Life With Derek” on Disney Channel in the 2000s.

Tags: animationCanadaCorusDisneyDisney ChannelMediaTeletoonTeletoon Retro