TV show claims to be about history even though it's not

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Like the many branches of the “CSI” empire, “CSI: NY” is popular television police drama. Its Canadian co-producer, Alliance Atlantis Communications, is now arguing that the program is also about history.

Alliance Atlantis, based in Toronto, is in a dispute with Canada’s broadcast regulator over the true nature of “CSI: NY,” which is being broadcast two or three times a day on History Television, a cable channel also owned by Alliance Atlantis.

Maureen Parker, executive director of the Writers Guild of Canada, said she enjoys “CSI: NY” and is a fan of the History Television channel. But she does not think that the two go together.

“ ‘CSI’ is on every other channel all the time,” Ms. Parker said. “It’s conventional TV fare. History is not the place for it. To me, it is just a blatant abuse of their terms of license.”

Unlike regulators in the United States, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission determines what kinds of programs individual cable channels are allowed to broadcast.

After Ms. Parker contacted the commission, it asked Alliance Atlantis to explain History’s programming decision. The broadcaster replied that “CSI: NY” is a history series because it is “set in a city that became synonymous with one of history’s most significant and notorious events, 9/11.”

To Ms. Parker, that response has only made things worse. She said she was offended that the company would “misuse a tragedy like 9/11 for commercial purposes.”

[On March 29 the government ordered Alliance Atlantis to drop CSI from the History Television channel.]

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