Bell Media, the media conglomerate headquartered in Toronto and which owns one-time music video stations Much and M3, has cut 91 positions from its in-house production division and cancelled music shows “Today’s Top 10s,” “Video on Trial” and “The Wedge.”
VJs Lauren Toyota and Scott Willats, who co-hosted the 2014 MuchMusic Video Awards, also lost their jobs.
Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham, host of indie music video show “The Wedge,” however “remains a Bell Media employee at this time,” Amy Doary, corporate communications manager and Bell Media spokesperson, told Billboard.
MTV News has also been cancelled, but in its last incarnation was not a music show. MTV, which launched in Canada in 2006, was always a talk format and not allowed to air full music videos on condition of its licence by the CRTC.
Only two in-house music shows remain, Countdown on Much and M3 Countdown.
“On Much and M3, 50 percent of the weekly schedule is comprised of music videos, of which 30 percent are currently Canadian — on both channels,” Doary told Billboard in an email.
“MuchFACT contributes 7 percent of Much’s annual revenue and 5 percent of M3’s annual revenue to the creation of music videos and music content to the Canadian indie music community. On average, Much plays 110 music videos every day.”
MuchMusic, which launched in 1984 as Canada’s first music video station, has increasingly aired less and less music videos as consumers go online to view music videos, and added more non-music programming from “Pretty Little Liars” to “Degrassi.” It was rebranded simply as Much last August.
Those shows have since moved to M3 (formerly MuchMoreMusic, which launched in 1998 as a more adult-oriented spinoff of MuchMusic) and MTV respectively, and comedy shows began taking over at Much, including “South Park,” “Tosh-O,” “The Simpsons,” “Conan” and The Late Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Of the 91 jobs cut, 72 are union positions and the remainder non-union. “This is a result of stopping production on several in-house productions,” says Doary. “I can’t provide a specific breakdown by channel as many positions supported multiple channels, however CTV, Much, M3, MTV, Space, and E! were all affected. These cuts were necessary due to financial pressure Bell Media is facing.”
“In terms of programming, I can tell you there will be no further production on the following in-house productions: ‘1G5G’ (MTV), ‘After Degrassi’ (MTV), ‘Losing It’ (MTV), ‘Movie Night’ (CTV/E!), ‘MTV News’ (MTV), ‘Today’s Top 10s’ (Much), ‘Video on Trial’ (Much), and ‘The Wedge’ (Much).
“However, ‘Countdown’ (Much), ‘M3 Countdown’ (M3), ‘Daily Planet’ (Discovery/CTV), ‘eTalk’ (CTV/E!), ‘Innerspace’ (Space/MTV), ‘Marilyn Denis Show’ (CTV/E!), and ‘The Social’ (CTV/E!) will continue production, as they are revenue drivers with established audiences,” she wrote.
“Our specialty channels will also continue to use personalities for interviews and fresh interstitial content for our audience, as well as provide integration opportunities for our clients.”