Thursday, November 21, 2013

CBC-TV's Winter Schedule: A Winner

CBCTV unveiled its 2014 winter schedule at a low keyed party deep within the bowels of the Corp's flagship building on Toronto's Front Street West.
The network should certainly emerge as the ratings winner during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Returning hit, Mr. D starring Gerry Dee include Ron James and the third season of Arctic Air.
There'll be a new prime time satire The Best Laid Plans, a cooking competition called Recipe To Riches and something called Four Rooms starring collectibles authorities.
CBC will also be broadcasting in partnership with the NHL the seven-part series NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other to premiere Thursday January 23.
The six-part  political satire The Best Laid Plans premieres Sunday January 5 and stars Kenneth Welsh and Jonas Chernick.
I had a chance to chat up the reinvigorated stars of Arctic Air Adam Beach and Pascale Hutton.
I told them just a few weeks ago I'd met for the first time the real life stars of Ice Pilots --Arctic Air is the fictionalized saga of the originals.
"Highly fictionalized," joked Beach. "We're still filming but the conditions are getting tougher by the day. Those guys are doing the real thing right through those winter blizzards."
Hutton told me her character Krista will return  after months abroad and determined to try to forget the overseas romance with Tag Cummins (Niall Matter).
"She'll be trying to assume more responsibilities with the airline, it's her turn to shine. I think stories will be more personal this year --we did perhaps too many adventure tales last season. Now it's time to focus on the characters."
One casting note: series hunk Adam DiMarco who shines in Rogers TV commercials is out as Kirby Nystoruk.
Beach says "I fought to keep him, he's that good but his character didn't fit into the story any more."
Beach also told me "The warmer the country the more receptive the viewers there are to Arctic Air. We get fan mail from many countries where snow is never seen. And even some fans turn up at the set because they want to see where it's all put together."
I also had a reunion of sorts with Yannick Bisson whose show Murdoch Mysteries is now in its record breaking seventh season.
And it's now on three different Canadian networks: reruns still turn up on Citytv as well as FX Canada and new episodes continue on CBC.
Bisson agrees with me his interpretation is far different from the first Murdoch, played in several TV movies as brooding and defiantly Catholic (in a Protestant city) by Peter Outerbridge.
When Bisson took over and the concept turned into a TV series he adopted a far lighter tone turning the detective into a sort of Victorian matinee idol.
"We give viewers a little comedy, the mystery for sure, a historical turn of the Victorian era. It's a little bit of several genres."
I've been interviewing Bisson since I first noticed him aged 15 in the TV movie Hockey Night with Megan Follows. Unlike some of his contemporaries he always knew where he was going in terms of his career and he has blossomed into a certifiable TV leading man.
I also chatted up Carlo Rota (Little Mosque On The Prairie) of the new series Recipe For Riches, a reality competition pitting amateur cooks against each other with weekly winners finally competing for a $250,000 prize from President's Choice.
In February come the Sochi games a sure fire bet for CBC ratings supremacy with more than 1,500 broadcast hours in Fench and English.
Clearly it's a winter season for CBC to shine.

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