Monday, November 25, 2013

A Canadian Crossover

So there I was the other day watching the very first episode of The Lucy-Desi comedy Hour, the hour long sequel to CBS's much loved I Love Lucy show.
And I caught what seemed to be one of TV's first crossovers in the episode titled Lucy Takes A Cruise
 To Havana.
There was Lucy as Lucy and Ann Sothern as her TV character Susie McNamara--the date was 1957.
When Lucy repaid the favor a year later Ann Sothern had switched to a new character and a new series --in 1959 she was no Katy O'Connor and it was The Ann Sothern Show,
All of this is a long winded way of explaining that "crossovers" have been a TV staple for decades.
Except on Canadian TV.
I once tried to interest Yvan Fecan in one when he was programming czar at CBC.
I suggested Fecan's show Street Legal be crossed with CTV's ENG to perk up ratings.
But it was pointed out to me that crossovers only work on the same network --and usually it has to be the same production studio as well.
So I'm ready to welcome that great Canadian TV rarity --a crossover as Allan Hawco of Republic Of Doyle makes an extra special guest appearance on CBC-TV Monday night  at 9 on Murdoch Mysteries.
Both shows run on CBC, both are huge Canadian hits but the question is does Hawco have to time travel to be present as Jake Doyle.
Not exactly.
He plays Jake's great-great-grandfather and the episode is even titled "Republic of Murdoch" and Hawco has been saying he'd be crazy to have passed it up.
The well written script is by Peter Mitchell and Paul Aitken and begins in Toronto where Yannick Bisson's Murdoch discover a dead man with an ancient map.
The clues lead to Newfoundland which at the turn of the century was a British dominion of its own and Jacob Diyle becomes a prime murder suspect.
And Yannick Bisson returns the favor by playing his character's great-great grandson in an episode of Republic Of Doyle to run in January.
Which means the bachelor detective of 1900 must marry at some time in the future --are we talking here about a lavish TV wedding --another sure fire ratings getter.
At one time crossovers were all the rage on U.S. prime time TV.
I can remember covering the epic TV  meeting between Angela Lansbury's Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) and  Tom Sellecks's Thomas Magnum from Magnum, P.I.
In another crossover I wrote about the TV story began on Marcus Welby and ended on  Owen Marshall. Both shows were made by Universal for ABC.
Buddy Ebsen once told me the only episode of his long running series Barnaby Jones not in syndication was a crossover --again with Murder She Wrote (I think).
Nobody could figure who owned those two episodes so they've been deliberately with held.
In recent years NBC's Crossing Jordan did several crossovers.
And when the spin off CSI: NY came into being there was the inevitable crossover with CSI:Miami.
Other Canadian crossovers may be harder to arrange.
Did CBC's Friendly Giant ever do a guest turn on Mr. Dressup --their studios were close by.
Or could CTV's Lisa LaFlamme suddenly turn up one day beside CBC's Peter Mansbridge as they arm wrestle for the anchor chair?
Rick Mercer is spoofing Murdoch on the actual set Tuesday at 9 on CBC --does that count as well ?

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