Where have all the TV critics gone?

The following query is about recent – and not so recent – events in Canada. But we think it applies here in the U.S. – and just about everywhere else – as well:

Puzzly_watching_TVby Diane Wild

It’s been eight years since Variety published an article about the diminished ranks of television critics in US newspapers, replaced by wire copy or nothing at all. I wrote a reactionwith the Canadian perspective, which at the time I said was even more dismal than our southern cousins.

Guess what? It’s worse now, and worsening.

The Toronto Star at the time of those posts had Vinay Menon, Jim Bawden and Rob Salem, none of whom are still with that beat. Now they tend to use non-beat reporters and Canadian Press wire copy. Dana Gee is no longer on the Province’s TV beat, and Alex Strachan was recently laid off as Postmedia’s TV critics.

Scott Stinson of the National Post now covers sports, leaving TV to wire copy and a collection of bloggers who sometimes seem vaguely aware there might be thriving homegrown shows. The Toronto Sun’s Bill Harris remains, but the other Bill, Bill Brioux, is making a go of it as a freelancer for the Canadian Press, among others.

Huffington Post Canada just gutted their localized television coverage and no one in the Canadian TV industry seemed to notice or care. We’ve benefited from Chris Jancelewicz’s Orphan Black recaps making the transition to TV, eh?, and The TV Junkies among other places has benefitted from Denette Wilford’s TV writing. But Huffpo Canada is left posting hypocritical, gutless articles about how Canadian TV needs more trenchant criticism and the best sites for film and television coverage while not having to bother doing any itself.

TV Guide Canada went dark last year and its writers dispersed online, their passion for covering TV leading to them writing about it wherever they can,  including reviving this site (hi Greg David) and the birth of The TV Junkies (hi Amber Dowling).

Read it all at TV, eh?