Without the NHL, Canada's broadcasters are scrambling. The CBC, which airs Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday evenings, has a massive programming block to fill. As the lockout drags on, their solution is apparently: old hockey. The CBC is having fans vote on classic games, with those games to air in the usual time slot.
CTV, meanwhile, is countering with reruns of The Big Bang Theory—a two-hour block, directly up against hockey. They're calling it, appropriately, "Big Bang Night in Canada." But the CBC's legal department complained, claiming that viewers would be confused by the branding. Hockey Night in Canada, Big Bang Night in Canada, you can see how people could get mixed up.
Today, CTV put out a press release—a snarky, snarky press release.
What's The "Big" Deal? CBC's Saturday Night Confusion: Viewers Can't Differentiate Hockey and Astrophysics
Toronto, ON (October 12, 2012) – In an effort to help confused viewers everywhere, CTV responded today to CBC's request to cease all promotion and publicity for its broadcast plans for BIG BANG NIGHT IN CANADA. The timely, two-hour programming block featuring episodes of Canada's most-watched television program, THE BIG BANG THEORY, begins tomorrow Saturday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET on CTV.
In a strongly worded legal directive, the CBC has accused CTV's branding of being "confusing" to viewers with respect to their trademark for "Hockey Night In Canada." "We take this matter very seriously," the letter said.
Apparently, reasonable viewers could consider encore hockey broadcasts "confusing" with the widely popular comedy series about four socially awkward scientists and their friends.
So, out of deep respect for the millions of viewers that CBC has alleged are "confused", and in the spirit of the Lady Byng trophy, CTV today pledged that it will heed the request and rebrand its Saturday night programming as BIG BANG NIGHT ON CTV.
Hopefully, the move will prevent further "reducing the esteem" of CBC's programming.
However, CTV will be forced to ramp up its promotional campaign for BIG BANG NIGHT ON CTV, tripling its on-air promotional resources to re-launch the block and prevent any supposed and unintentional "confusion." A new on-air promo for the Saturday night lock was launched last night during THE BIG BANG THEORY, the most-watched 30 minutes on Canadian television.
Additionally, Bell Media has undertaken a review of its operations to ensure no additional potential "confusion" with CBC programming. Although similarities were found, Bell Media confirms it has no issue with CBC imitating its specialty channel ESPN Classic with the airing of classic hockey games on Saturday nights, as long as CBC is not concerned that viewers may interpret that Gretzky, Gilmour, and Lemieux have come out of retirement.
Please bring back hockey. I don't want to live in a world where I have to admit that PR guys have a sense of humor.