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Is the sun setting
on Land and Sea?

I just received a press release, announcing the new fall season of Land and Sea, including six completely new episodes.

The release makes no reference to the really big news about Land and Sea: the show has been moved from its 7:00 pm slot on Monday evening to Sundays at 12:30 pm (noon in Labrador).

As Bob Wakeham pointed out recently, in his column in the Saturday Telegram, this is a move that seems calculated to kill Land and Sea forever (the CBC brass have tried in the past to cancel the show, but a groundswell of public support kept it alive).

Just last week, in a gutsy move, CONTACT _Con-3F7F111711D \c \s \l Ramona Dearing of CBC Radio Noon challenged the national CBC president on its commitment to Land and Sea. Hubert Lacroix was a guest on the Crosstalk program when Dearing challenged him, in her opening remarks, to explain the move of the enormously popular program, from prime time to the desolate, lonely weekend.

You can listen to the entire program here. But here is the exchange that caught my ear

Dearing: About Land and Sea As you know, it used to air Monday evenings at 7:00 pm that time slot had an incredible number of viewers 62,000 viewers in Newfoundland and Labrador but now, that time slot is gone. The only choice that people have to watch Land and Sea is 12:30 on Sundays, noon in Labrador. Why has Land and Sea lost its prime time slot, when its such a popular show that clearly, deeply resonates with viewers in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Lacroix: I know about the importance of Land and Sea, even though I am not from Newfoundland and Labrador. I know how important it was, it is. Its a long-standing show, but Im not the programmer. I dont know why that move was made to that time slot, except that, obviously what we were doing in trying to reshape the delivery of our news at the supper-hour time meant that some changes had to be made. I think Land and Sea is an important show, its a great show. I think its viewers will follow it and well see what kind of response we get from the audience.

Dearing: Some of the viewers have been saying that, with the Sunday time slot the only one thats open to them now they are actually in church at that time, or obviously doing other things. They are saying its not a good slot for them.

Lacroix: Lets wait Ramona and see what the next (ratings) book tells us, what kind of information we get back, and I think thats the only thing I can tell you about Land and Sea right now.

Dearing: And if the books show that youve had a huge drop in audience, would CBC make a change back into prime time?

Lacroix: Thats a choice and decision that I will leave to the people who have much more expertise in programming than me.

It's interesting that Lacroix was able to say how important Land and Sea is, but washed his hands of the decision-making process regrding its future. He's the president of CBC, for chrissake. Of course he can save the show, if that's really what he wants.

And did you notice the little slip of the tongue in his first answer, in which he refers to Here and Now in the past tense? He catches himself immediately, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in CBC's commitment to land and Sea.

There were other calls about Land and Sea, and a range of other topics related to CBC. If youre a fan of our public broadcaster, I suggest you listen to the entire program.

What is your view on the on the new slot for Land and Sea? Will you continue to watch? Or at least set the PVR? If you have an opinion, please comment below.

In the meantime, here is the line-up of new Land and Sea episodes that CBC has lined up for this season, reproduced verbatim from the news release.

October 18 -- Wood or Nothing -- It's believed that master builder Henry Vokey has built more boats than anyone on the island of Newfoundland. He started building more than 50 years ago and just never stopped. Now, at 79, he intends to build one last schooner ? the boat that will be his legacy.

October 25 -- Politics of the Pelt Land and Sea looks at some of the people trying to quietly make a living in one of the worlds most controversial industries ? the Newfoundland and Labrador seal hunt.

November 1 -- Honouring Their Own -- On Fogo Island, the seniors club has taken steps to preserve the island's history by interviewing over 100 of the islands most senior of seniors.

November 8 Archival Special

November 15 -- The Only Child -- At the end of a gravel road near the top of the Northern Peninsula, there is a tiny outport called Grandois. Less than 25 people live there, plus one child ? thirteen-year-old Nathan Aylward.

November 22 -- Racing Forwards Land and Sea introduces us to the Goulds family known for fast food and fast horses. In the world of Newfoundland harness racing, the Forwards finish first.

November 29 -- Gabby Gale The Codroy Valley's very own flower child. Gabby Gale has grown a business that's outgrown the Valley ? a business that started with an impulse and a tiny greenhouse in her back yard.

December 6 -- Archival Special

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Recent comments

  • Ed
    July 27, 2010 - 14:54

    The move to mid-day on Sunday seems designed to kill the show but there is an alternative.

    These days there are many shows a person cannot watch when it is broadcast. However, more and more conventional televisions operations - including CBC - are making their stuff available online. Surely the mighty Ceeb can or the folks working there can find a way to make Land and Sea available online in its entirety.

    That way people can still see it and the show may wind up reaching a whole new audience it never had before.

    There are plenty of shows that have survivied because the re-run and Internet audience was huge in comparison to the original air-date watchers.