Government invests in ‘Republic of Doyle’

Tara Bradbury
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Cuts Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council annual grant cut

The provincial government announced in its budget Tuesday it is investing $3 million in the “Republic of Doyle” television series. — Submitted photo

The province’s investment in “Republic of Doyle” isn’t as simple as handing over a $3-million cheque to Allan Hawco and wishing him luck — it’s an equity investment, and any film or television production in Newfoundland and Labrador is entitled to the same type of funding.

In Tuesday’s budget, the province announced it is investing $3 million in Season 4 of the CBC TV show, calling it the largest original television or film project ever produced in this province.

“We are making this investment because ‘Republic of Doyle’ is sustaining 110 full-time jobs, returning 2.9 times our provincial investment in terms of GDP growth, and marketing our province to an international audience,” Finance Minister Tom Marshall said in bringing down the budget.

In fact, government merely singled “Republic of Doyle” out from the film and TV projects it funds through the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corp.

It’s an equity investment based on other funding sources, into a program that triggers about

$22 million in production activity each season.

“In Canada, there’s a lot of funding for film and television, and what triggers funding for a television project is a broadcast licence, so it all starts with CBC,” explained Chris Bonnell, executive director of the film development corporation. “Once CBC says yes and orders up the next season, that then triggers the Canada Media Fund equity and the broadcast licence top-up fee, and then it’ll trigger the equity investment from the province.”

The remaining 25 to 27 per cent of “Republic of Doyle’s” funding comes from outside Newfoundland and Labrador — new money to this province that’s not specifically earmarked for here, but is available to eligible film and TV projects across the country.

“Republic of Doyle,” like other productions, has at least a half a dozen different funding sources.

“As time goes on and the show goes into the fourth and fifth seasons and it gets syndicated, any production revenue that comes back gets paid back into the province,” Bonnell said. “It’s a huge production in terms of employment and economic generation.”

“Republic of Doyle” was about the only arts project that saw an increase in funding in the budget. The Rooms, and the film development corporation both saw cuts, while funding for the province’s arts and culture centres stayed relatively the same. There was no increase in funding announced for any other arts organization.

The Newfoundland and Lab-rador Arts Council (NLAC), a significant source of funding for established and emerging artists in this province, saw its annual grant cut by more than $33,000, or 1.5 per cent. Although it’s a blow, it’s better than the rumoured prediction of a $65,000 cut, said Reg Winsor, executive director of the council. The decrease in funding won’t have an impact on the grant programs administered by the NLAC, he said.

“With a $65,000 cut, we would have had to make cuts to some of the grant funding programs, but at least with this 1.5 per cent, we won’t have to do that and we will be looking to find those savings within our own operation budgets,” he said.

In the 2008 budget, the provincial government committed to doubling the NLAC’s $1.86-million grant over the following three years. On Tuesday, it decreased it from $2.14 million to $2.11 million. The most recent project grant program saw a record high of 223 applicants, Winsor said, and the arts council has made no bones about wanting to see its budget doubled again over the next three years. “That’s based on our analysis of where we need to be,” he said. “I think there is a level of understanding (of this) in government, but I think it’s part of our responsibility and part of the responsibility of the Association of Cultural Industries and even the community itself is to constantly make the departments and individual MHAs aware.”

  Gerry Rogers, NDP MHA for St. John’s Centre, an established filmmaker prior to entering politics last fall, said she’s pleased with the increase in funding for “Republic of Doyle,” but concerned about the cut to the NLAC.

“We know that all (the council’s) programs are over-prescribed by more than 100 per cent, so that means they can’t even fulfil their mandate … now that there’s a decrease,” she said.

“We’re so proud of our arts, and also the different groups and organizations around the province that present and develop attractions for tourists.

“We’ve got all these millions of dollars that are great in the tourist advertising, but people want cultural events to go and it’s often on the backs of community groups.”

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, CBC, Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Canada Media Fund Association of Cultural Industries

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Republic of Doyle, Canada

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Recent comments

  • terry
    April 03, 2013 - 02:20

    I am ashmed to be a newfoundlander amd ashmed to have our 1st female premier. we want danny back!!!!!!!

  • Tom Doyle
    April 30, 2012 - 13:38

    If "The Republic of Doyle" provides such a great return, why is it that our government cut back 2.7 million dollars to the fire service for new trucks and other equipment. Approximately six thousand volunteer fire fighters depend on this funding, which has now been cut back. All of the things mentioned: health care, seniors, roads etc. definitely need more money. Did we vote this government in?

  • Foolishness
    April 25, 2012 - 16:07

    Wow..thanks for using my tax dollars for something worth offense..great show..but seriously..what about improving healthcare, education..loads of other potholes..and rebuild bridges..that are dangerous..Nope..good ole government..gotta love it

  • Maryanne
    April 25, 2012 - 15:49

    Lois, I didn't realize they had wifi down at Occupy NL.

  • PAM
    April 25, 2012 - 15:46

    Seriously. Give me a break. You know any government is going to spread around the spending into different areas and industries - so all this talk of how about allocating these arts dollars to schools, healthcare, etc instead? These areas are also a part of the budget, which you should also read about. Like it or not, the arts gets funding along with all the other areas. As for this nagging about a $33,000 cut and the insistent Facebook posts about it - even the Director of NLAC says they can work within it and it will not affect grants! The NL government have also committed to increasing its funding to the NLAC, maybe not as large as initially stated but it's still happening... maybe tack that on to your hissy fit Facebook status while you're at it? Doyle churns out over $22 million in subsequent spending in the province. How can any person with a remote knack for business not see the obvious economic benefit? It's smart business and the NL government recognizes this. I agree with Joseph McGrath - witnessing the major success of a single production and/or group within the small, insular arts community seems to make some individuals somewhat bitter. I saw it occur with other successful productions in the past as well and I have never understood that aspect of "community." It's lost on me. Just from a personal perspective, I'd rather my tax dollars go into something within the arts which I know will be a see some form of success, boost the presence of this province and employ a fair number of people over the course of a few months. So many of these smaller, funded shoots which a bunch of buddies work on together for a weekend - I have never viewed the finished product or have seem them experience success considering the number that are churned out in a year. As a tax payer, that seems kind of weird to me? What happens and where do they go? I guess it's art so I shouldn't have any expectations and just let it do it's thing - but I do understand when a government has to disburse funds, they must go by something quantitative and tangible as a indicator. And with Doyle, the proof is in the pudding.

    • David
      April 26, 2012 - 15:54

      "....Doyle churns out over $22 million in subsequent spending in the province. How can any person with a remote knack for business not see the obvious economic benefit?...." Are you actually being sarcastic, or just THIS brain dead? Because the government pulls a completely cock-and-bull BS figure like $22 milion out of their arse, you take that as gospel? ....and notwithstanding that they never tell the truth about anything and can't add up three numbers on a dare!? $22 million is a lot of money....where is it? What did it pay for? What do we have today that we didn't have before this stupid TV show came to be? I know one thing we don't have....$7.5 million dollars.

  • Doug Smith
    April 25, 2012 - 13:00

    The province has invested $7.5 million in The Republic of Doyle, since its inception. This is tax payers’ money. If the show is that great why can’t it be a real success and not depend on government money ? It is just another rip off of the tax payer. The comments made by David and Duffy are right on the mark. Doug Smith, GFW

  • Joseph McGrath
    April 25, 2012 - 12:05

    I do not watch the show but my kids living in Nova Scotia tell me I should as they look forward to it.I guess it has merit and indeed attracts people and money to this province which has to be a good thing.When I read the comments I cannot help but see once again people from this Province really upset with others who are trying to get ahead and be productive.We seem to hate to see any fellow NL people get ahead.Why is this so?Part of it is due to the small population where everyone knows everone eles business and part of it is just the "SMALL MINDS"of many who live here.Try to be positive for a change.It is tough enough living with the doom and gloom which is everywhere here but is it really necessary to turn a flamethrower loose on every single attempt made to move the Province up a notch???Give it a rest!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!

  • Frank M
    April 25, 2012 - 11:14

    Interesting that the government has committed to ongoing financing for Republic of Doyle while reducing funding for the NL Arts Council. Has government decided what is art and what is not art? A point of correction to this thread: ROD does not sustain 110 full time jobs - the production crew only work 6 months and move onto other projects or collect unemployment until the next production cycle of Doyle.

    • Arts Supporter
      April 25, 2012 - 12:57

      The Danny Williams Conservatives promised to TRIPLE the NL Arts Council grant over 3 years in the 2007 budget. That didn't happen and now they cut their grant by 33 thousand. Promises, promises.

    • Gary
      April 26, 2012 - 08:49

      It's important to make it clear that the jobs ARE full time, but not permanent.

  • Political watcher
    April 25, 2012 - 09:31

    Spend $3 Million to get another $22 Million spent in the Province; sounds like a great deal. Not to count the exposure for tourism and the number of people it reaches and encourags to visit here. If you look at the credits at the end of the show you will also see that the Ontario Government contributes to the show as well. Whenver a sucessful TV show is produced the local governments always contribute. While it may may not be on the same scale it will make a point: go ask the State of New Jersey what it contributes to Jersey Shore. Ask B.C. what it contributes to its film industry.

  • Vic
    April 25, 2012 - 09:15

    Read the article- the funding comes from a grant that is allotted for all eligible film and TV projects. Are you people saying government should get rid of this grant? Or just not give to Republic of Doyle but give it to all other projects? Also, to MUN Poli Sci- government is funding season 4 over two FISCAL years, that's what they said yesterday. One season of the show crosses over two fiscal years for government. They're not funding season 4 and a potential season 5. $22 million triggered in production activity each season, multiplied by 4 seasons = $88 million in local spending. I'm not even a fan of Republic of Doyle, but it's not hard to see why government would invest in that.

  • Lois Brown
    April 25, 2012 - 09:10

    Duffy - You'd be way better off my friend in feeding the artists and relying on them to help you get your wife to the hospital or bringing you a bit of supper when you're sick and loaning you money when you need it. I can guarantee you that. And they won't promise you money and then say they're not giving it to you - that's for sure - what little most of them got. A Govt that cuts the arts doesn't turn around and fund education and health care and infrastructure for small communities. We know from experience (just think about it) a Govt that cuts the arts cuts education and health care too. That kind of art-cutting govt at its worst will sell the water you're drinking to the States, put you in a new prison for protesting it, stop your fancy lawyer at the airport with an intrusive body search and when you run out of money and are reduced to wanting a legal aid lawyer, you'll find that dept has been cut. This cut indicates a govt whose interests do NOT lie in the area of supporting the average person's right to enjoyment of a good life.

  • Rob Hartwell
    April 25, 2012 - 09:03

    Duffy, they literally just said in the article that they get their investment back through GDP growth. Maybe you should invest in some more education

  • McNamara McNab
    April 25, 2012 - 08:57

    I understand the comments and concerns that are always present when money is allocated to something you may have no interest in...we must look at the figures. and realize that the couple million dollars of gov money that is being put into the Republic of Doyle could only be spread so thin elsewhere...3 million dollars would fix a couple hundred a years wage and incurred transfer fees for a few specialists at our hospitals...or buy one cat scan machine/dialysis to reduce wait time by a few weeks...but the chance to keep our best production in years (likely ever to date) going, is one that we should not squander.. tourism and newfound-industry are what will put and keep us on the map. With attention from networks and subsequent people all over the world, this production is equity that we should invest in and protect. Then we can hopefully redistribute those earnings to other areas down the road. I'm no politician, producer, or Gambler!..but its easy to see where the smart money goes here!

  • David
    April 25, 2012 - 08:44

    The word 'invest' is the most incredibly inappropriate;y used word in Newfoundalnd politics....which is why we haven't "invested" in anything real in years. Incinerating money by coming up woth money CBC doesn't have to keep a bad TV program and it's hangers-on from being out of work is assinine. It gets rid of unvalued taxpayer money by having the crooks of the day hand it over to friends, associates, supporters, thieves and idiots. It's not only's drunken, stupid, 'I-have-no -mind' spending.

  • Mun Poli Sci
    April 25, 2012 - 08:36

    I can understand financing a start-up production, but Doyle is a huge success. Additionally, Doyle has been renewed for 1 season only by the CBC but the Province has already decided to fund it for 2 years. This smells like the government is trying to attach itself to someone else's success for political purposes.

  • David W
    April 25, 2012 - 08:36

    Duffy and Patrick Guilfoyle did you not read the statement ''Republic of Doyle’ is sustaining 110 full-time jobs, returning 2.9 times our provincial investment in terms of GDP growth, and marketing our province to an international audience''?

  • Tom
    April 25, 2012 - 08:33

    St. John's/Avalon IS where most things happen. It is where most of the provincial tax and revenue is generated too even though we only have about 40% of the population . Whats your point? And since either of you did not read the whole story I will recap. 3 million invested in ROD is returned 3 fold directly back to the goverment, plus the majority of the almost 40 million budget the show has will be spent in the city. Good investment for sure. Nothing worse than a jealous bayman.

    • David
      April 25, 2012 - 17:14

      Yes there most certianly is .....a financial ignoramus / political doofus of a Townie. But hey, if you believe this to be such a great 'return' on OUR investment, you'd think you'd be up in arms they didn't put in more!....explain yourself, Einstein.

  • Duffy
    April 25, 2012 - 07:07

    I just purchased a $149.00 camera and will take some pictures, send them to friends out-of-the-country and say nice things about where we live. So can I get free government money also ? No because I do not travel in the right circles and have politician friends to grease the skids to the money trail. Another waste of money.............. People waiting months in line for surgery, to see specialists, for housing assistance, for home care and we piss the money away on fiction made up TV shows that make thousands for the owners/producers and actors.

    • Patrick Guilfoyle
      April 25, 2012 - 07:20

      Duffy, you took the words out of my mouth. How about the government: hiring a few more specialists, up-grading or building another school, or investing the money into infrastructure in some small communities? Oh, I forgot.... St. John's is where everything happens.

    • Christopher Chafe
      April 25, 2012 - 08:25

      Couldn't agree more with what you both are saying.

    • todd
      April 26, 2012 - 16:51

      I completely agree with Duffy! ROD should be able to sustain itself if it is the awesome show everyone thinks it is. GET PRIORITIES STRAIGHT!!! It is really crappy if you ask me and the only reason people watch it is because it is in newfoundland. Of course, that is my opinion, and I am sure there are people who actually enjoy it, but for the government to put money into it is stupid! The government should be there for the public mainly, and public spending for housing and things of necessity seem to be becoming a secondary thing while they should be primary! Housing is absolutely in a dire need of fixing! People are being OVERLY discriminatory here lately in terms of private renters, and it is all because newfoundlanders now have it in there head that they are super special and can take advantage of everything and everyone. People should be revolting in the streets! Look at all the slumlords as of late! I was in a fire recently and lost my place. Unfortuately unemployed from my job and in dire need of somewhere to live! and nobody is able to help me! The city didn't even inspect the dam place correctly months before when they were there and I have proof they were there! They need to hire more people to help the housing issue, or I for one will leave this horrible place, and I am a newfoundlander, born and raised! They are spending 3mil to ROD and only 4.1mil for trades people!?!?! that is another thing that needs major fixing since most trades people are getting the hell out of NL! Come off your high horses people, spending that much on it is a waste. the jobs are only temp for the people because it will be cancelled just after the 3rd season. the spending on housing is INSANELY low considering it is now a crisis!