Canada to get its own version of Fox

Quebecor has sought permission from the CRTC to create a Fox-style English-language 24-hour news network, The Globe and Mail reports. Reports suggest the network will be piloted by Kory Teneycke, a former communications director for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

David Akin will be the network’s first host, and he announced today he was resigning from his role as parliamentary reporter for Canwest.

If the license is granted, the network could air in 2011.

The Globe reports:

“Quebec billionaire Pierre Karl Péladeau is attempting a major shakeup of television news in Canada, with plans to launch a 24-hour cable channel modelled on the right-leaning U.S. network Fox News.

“It is a shot aimed directly at CBC and CTV, which for years have dominated the all-news format in English Canada. For months, Mr. Péladeau’s Montreal-based media empire, Quebecor Inc., has been putting together plans for a channel that will tap the same conservative sentiment that has made Fox News a major contender for ratings in the U.S.”

The Globe adds:

“Sources say Mr. Teneycke pitched the proposal to Quebecor last year and has been trying to prove the business case ever since. It’s an attempt to mine what Mr. Teneycke believes is a largely untapped market for more right-of-centre TV news, according to people familiar with the plans. The envisioned Canadian station would offer conservative-minded opinion shows – although news and opinion would be clearly separated rather than blended.”

The so-called ‘Fox of the North’ is not a sure thing yet, though, The Globe says:

“However, Quebecor’s bid could face a hurdle that would stall the channel. According to sources familiar with the plans, Quebecor is seeking a “must-carry” designation for the channel. Such status would guarantee the network a spot on basic cable, and a pipeline to almost every home in the country – but it’s a long shot to be approved.”

Since the CRTC has largely stopped approving such licences, unless a broadcaster can argue it serves a public need, the company may have to settle for a standard cable licence. That would require Quebecor to negotiate carriage deals with each cable and satellite company and hope that viewers subscribe to the service on their own.”