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article imageOp-Ed: 'Fox News North' poised to succeed

By Ben Fisher     Nov 30, 2010 in Entertainment
There is only one question that needs to be asked of television critics who have derided Sun TV News, an upcoming right-wing news program launched by Canadian media giant Quebecor Inc., as being a rip-off of Fox News: "So what?"
“Fox News North” has become the common derisive term used in reference to the new channel, which got the go-ahead from Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulators late last week. The term implies that the channel will simply dip into the same territory occupied by its US counterpart – that is, biased, right-leaning coverage by blowhard personalities like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly.
In response, those involved in the development of the new channel are doing little to deny the claim.
Luc Lavoie, the head of Sun TV News, suggests that its programming will closely mirror the “irreverent, populist and [...] generally right wing” editorial content typically found in the Sun newspaper chain. Meanwhile, Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau stated that the channel “will aim to challenge conventional wisdom and offer Canadians a new choice and a new voice.”
And really, why should they deny the association to Fox News? The negative stigma attached to the oft-maligned program underscores its consistently dominant rating south of the border.
Fox News’ standing as the top-rated cable network was cemented during the US mid-term elections in early November, when it brought in more prime time viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined (an average of 6.96 million viewers, according to the Nielsen ratings). Compare that to where the Conservative network stood four years ago during the 2006 mid-terms and you’ll see a growth of over three million viewers while the CNN and MSNBC audience decreased.
That’s not to say that a Canadian channel in the same vein will offer the same success. After all, Canada is known for having a populace that is generally more left-leaning than their American neighbours, with a Conservative party typically less so than the States’ Republican party.
But it can’t be questioned that there’s a market for the “new voice” that Peladeau referred to, and Canada certainly doesn’t have any similar programming currently available on cable television. If the Sun newspaper chain comparison is more apt than Fox News, consider that the Vancouver Sun ranked sixth in weekly circulation amongst Canadian newspapers in 2009, while the Toronto edition trailed closely in seventh.
Whether you agree with the right wing perspective that the network is sure to espouse, it’s hard to argue with its birth from a business standpoint.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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