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A secretary talks on the phone at the Canwest and Global TV offices in Ottawa on Oct. 6, 2009. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
A secretary talks on the phone at the Canwest and Global TV offices in Ottawa on Oct. 6, 2009. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Brian Topp

A modest proposal Add to ...

Dear Mr. Asper,

Please accept this letter as our formal offer to purchase the Global Television Network.

We offer to assume ownership and to accept responsibility for all debts, in return for one (1) Canadian dollar (C$1) or its equivalent in U.S. currency as you almost certainly prefer (being 0.96 cents U.S. for the purposes of this offer to purchase, minus currency conversion and other costs which we propose to fix at 10 per cent, i.e. a final purchase price of $0.864 U.S.).

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Pray have your bankruptcy team contact our office to finalize these arrangements.

Dear banks, hedge funds, credit card issuers, bondholders, preferred share owners, suppliers and producers (in that order, unless the court orders otherwise),

Let's talk.

Subject to the formality of Mr. Asper accepting our offer to purchase, my associates and I (being me and our family cat Tigger, since my wife and children declined to participate in this venture) have been thinking carefully about why one of Canada's private networks finds itself bankrupt and without net value. Sure, there was the deal with Conrad. And then the deal with Alliance. But then there are the fundamental operating issues.

Our diagnosis is implied in our plan to turn things around:

* We're going to reinforce our local news shows.

Global local news is the leading program in many markets -- the true "local programming." As our predecessors know well, this franchise is suffering a temporary revenue problem due to the recession. But by building on our advantages (nimble coverage and a sunny, optimistic tone in stark contrast, on both fronts, to our CBC competition) we know that this business has a great future.

The plan: we're going to review pay and benefits for our local reporters, editors and staff to make sure we retain our best people and keep them focused on beating the competition.

* We're going to fight -- really fight -- to win prime time every night.

To do this, we're going to re-allocate the funds that our network is currently spending on American shows -- shows that viewers will increasingly be able to get without watching our network.

Instead, we're going to invest much of what we used to spend in Hollywood -- let's say $150-million a year, as a start -- into programs written by, directed by and starring Canadians . Great shows that can only be found on our network, so that we're competing in the 900-channel universe with something only we provide.

To do that, we're going to reach out to Canada's stars (living in and out of country) and challenge them to step up to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do their best work. Colin Mochrie, Wendy Crewson, Paul Gross, Sarah Polley, Eric Peterson, Keifer Sutherland, Sandra Oh, Gerri Hall, Tonya Lee Williams, Colm Feore, Mark McKinney, Rick Mercer, Peter Keleghan, Graham Greene, and more and more. This is it. This is your chance to pitch the comedy, the drama, the variety show, the mini-series you've always wanted to make. And star in.

Let's turn the lights on in this place.

We know our network owes you a great deal of money.

Unfortunately, you've probably figured out by now that a television network that fundamentally does nothing but rebroadcast other people's shows has no real assets and has built no real value.

So let's talk deferred payment. And let's talk trying a new and better plan.

Our people will call your people, as soon as our cheque for 0.864-cents (U.S.) has cleared the bank.

Hopefully yours,

Tigger Productions LLP

 

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