In 2005, A&E, the current home of Bates Motel and bearded duck-hunters, paid a then-record $200 million for the rights to air The Sopranos. Remember, this was before streaming services like HBO Go were a thing; only 30 million American households had an HBO subscription, compared to 88 million for A&E. It seemed like a win-win: more people would have access to The Sopranos on basic cable, and those viewers would catch up in time for the new episodes on HBO. There was a big f*cking problem, though.
“A&E has been pruning The Sopranos of material that it fears may be too risqué or vulgar or grotesque,” the New York Times reported in 2006, “Not only for basic-cable viewers but also for the luxury car companies, soft drink manufacturers, and other advertisers that may eventually choose the series as an opportunity to reach consumers.” Channels like A&E and FX are exempt from Federal Communications Commission guidelines (that’s why American Crime Story was allowed to say “f*ck” so often), but they’ll usually kowtow to pressure from advertisers. You wouldn’t want your commercial for yogurt to follow Ralphie beating and murdering a stripper outside the Bada Bing.
Thankfully for Canadian viewers, they won’t have the same issue when HBO’s mega-popular Game of Thrones comes to network television for the first time in North America. Beginning August 8 on CTV, the episodes will appear “intact, unedited, and with reduced commercial time,” according to a press release.
The most-watched series in HBO Canada history makes its broadcast debut on CTV and the CTV GO app beginning Monday, August 8 at 10 p.m. Each weeknight for 10 straight episodes, the [first] season unfolds until its chilling season finale on Friday, August 19. The announcement, made by CTV in partnership with HBO Canada, the exclusive home of Game of Thrones in Canada, confirmed all 10 episodes are set to air intact, unedited, and with reduced commercial time to further enhance the viewer experience. (Via)
CTV’s senior vice president of programming Mike Cosentino added, “Game of Thrones has never been more popular and now it’s time to make season one available to every Canadian viewer.” That’s right, people of all ages can enjoy the Mountain cutting a horse’s head off. Thanks, Canada!
By Josh Kurp