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CBC's Howe: a risk taker with perseverance.

"It takes a lot of components to get a program made and money is a big one," said Thomas Howe, CBC's head of program sales. "It takes perseverance and passion, a lot of persistence, and people who all want to do the same thing. What I do is enable producers to get over the financial hurdles once we have reached an agreement on the creative terms.

"These days, budgets are pretty horrendous. We're seeing half hours come in at around 500,000, and hours at $5 million; which in Canadian terms is very high. And, even in U.S. terms, it is still high. However, they are coming down."

Admittedly, Howe is a risk taker. "I like to take programming risks. More of my job is acquisitions. When I can, I like to acquire GBH, it's a Channel Four series. It goes over the line in some ways, in terms of what we are used to in television. It sort of stretches the envelope in creative terms."

"I am not interested in putting out television that's good for people. I am interested in television that people will enjoy watching: this is the CBC mandate. In doing that, it's more fun to find something that's challenging and good, rather than something that's conventional."

Howe added, "I'm right at the hub of a network and it's a very busy place. I'm working harder than I used to - and I used to think I worked as hard as possible. Television is a big machine; you keep feeding it. It's constantly fascinating and constantly demanding.

"At any given time, we have a significant amount of co-productions in development. We develop both in-house and with independents."

CBC is always looking for programs which might have some international co-production potential. "Although our mandate is visibly Canadian on screen, we are never deliberately developing international co-productions the way some other broadcasters do.

In addition, CBC is developing Canadian co-productions that they can find partners for. One of CBCs more successful ones has been with Kevin Sullivan of Sullivan Films. "Road To Avonlea is our idea of the most successful type of co-production. We are both trying to make the same show, which is working pretty well with our audiences.

At MIP, two new movies will be introduced: I'll Never Get to Heaven and Wojeck, a reprise of a series that ran for many years on CBC. Heaven is a coming-of-age story of a young girl in the 1950's.
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Title Annotation:Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s Thomas Howe
Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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