Sandra Walmark Manager, Original Production, Astral Television Networks,
The Family Channel Inc.

The Canadian Market: Meet the Broadcasters
Fast Track Session 1

As Manager, Original Production for The Family Channel (Canada) Inc. (“Family”), Sandra Walmark commissions and oversees all original Canadian properties from development to production. Sandra has worked closely with producers and funding agencies across Canada to trigger Canadian independent productions such as Franklin (Nelvana), Hoze Houndz (Amberwood), Henry’s World (AAC Kids), King (Decode and Funbag) and Radio Free Roscoe (Decode). Before joining Family Channel, Sandra was Traffic Manager with the Canadian Football League’s television arm, The Canadian Football Network (“CFN”). Prior to the CFN, Sandra worked at CFMT – Multilingual Television - Channel 47 (now OMNI 1). “Channel 47 is where I cut my teeth in the broadcasting industry, gaining experience in program scheduling, media relations and on-air promotions for a broad demographic.” “Now that I’m at Family, I have the opportunity to work with the best team of people in the family and children’s television industry and the top Canadian independent producers of family and children’s programming in the country.”

Meet with Sandra at Fast Track Session 1 (Wednesday, September 21, 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm)

1. What are your animation programming blocks and the audience demographic for each?
Family's need for animation generally falls into the preschool (Playhouse) block or what we designate as the young kids demographic, ages 2 -5 both girls and boys. We also target boys and girls 6 - 12 in the after school (Mad Dash) block.

2. How many hours do you program per year?
We broadcast from 4:30am to 1:00am daily.

3. How many hours of new programming do you acquire per year?
Speaking of Canadian Independent Production only, we trigger approximately three series per year or between 52 half hours and 65 half hours per year.

4. Where do you generally find your new shows?
By meeting with established Canadian producers either in Toronto or at conferences such as the Banff World Television Festival.

5. What are some of your recent acquisitions?
Family has committed to Canadian Independent Productions such as "Naturally Sadie" (Decode Productions), "Life with Derek" (Shaftesbury/Pope Productions) and "The Secret World of Benjamin Bear" (Amberwood Productions).

6. What kinds of shows are you currently looking for?
Half hour series that target our key demographic of 8 - 14 year old girls and boys. We also have an appetite for half hour series that target the 2 - 5 year old girls and boys.

7. What are you NOT looking for?
Documentaries, game shows.

8. Have there been, or will there soon be, changes to your development/programming structure?
Family is always looking for properties with a contemporary feel that primarily entertain and support our "Never a Dull Moment" brand.

9. What new shows/ technologies/ approaches are you excited about?
Since Family is a national premium service, we look for strong production values that complement our schedule. Recent foreign animated acqusitions such as Disney's "The Buzz on Maggie" and Disney's "Lloyd in Space". Series such as "Kim Possible" continue to perform especially well in both the girls and boys demographics. We also look for properties that have a strong on-line component which we can integrate into our website ( We can also see that the HD format will begin to make a difference in how shows are delivered and broadcast in Canada. Many of our live action series are being shot in the HD format. In addition, Added value components such as SVOD (subscription video on demand) which provide the flexibility of VOD are elements that may be added to your subscription to your favourite broadcast services such as Family Channel).