Net­works gam­bling

Try­ing to im­port next big TV se­ries

Cape Breton Post - - Arts & Entertainment -

Canada’s pri­vate TV net­works will gam­ble ap­prox­i­mately $700 mil­lion in Los An­ge­les later this month as they try to im­port the next big hit TV se­ries.

What will they be buy­ing? ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW will show­case their new wares at their an­nual “up­fronts” to ad­ver­tis­ers be­gin­ning the week of May 15. The net­works will be show­ing off new se­ries star­ring the likes of Carol Bur­nett, Felic­ity Huff­man, Jon Cryer, Eva Lon­go­ria, David Bore­anaz and Lau­ren Gra­ham. Colm Fe­ore, Emily VanCamp and Bruce Green­wood are among the Cana­dian-born stars hop­ing their show is the next big thing.

There are fewer re­makes this year, although NBC is bring­ing back “Will & Grace” and The CW is re-boot­ing “Dy­nasty.” The superhero trend has also cooled, with “Marvel’s In­hu­mans” be­ing one ex­cep­tion.

Among the im­ports guar­an­teed to re­turn is No. 1 draw “The Big Bang The­ory,” which has al­ready been re­newed by CBS for two more sea­sons. In ad­di­tion, the spinoff “Young Shel­don” - fea­tur­ing Jim Par­sons as nar­ra­tor - was or­dered straight-to-se­ries with­out a test pi­lot episode.

NBC’s “The Voice” also has a two-year re­newal, as does their rookie drama “This Is Us.”

The CW has been a de­pend­able sup­plier to Cana­dian pro­gram­mers. One bonus is that so much CW con­tent is shot north of the bor­der. Al­ready re­newed for next sea­son are Van­cou­ver pro­duc­tions “Ar­row,” “DC’s Le­gends of To­mor­row,” The Flash,“”Su­per­girl“and ”Su­per­nat­u­ral.“Toronto-based CW shows ”Beauty and the Beast“and ”Reign“will not re­turn.

Sev­eral of TV’s long­est-running shows have been re­newed, in­clud­ing “Sur­vivor,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “The Simp­sons” (back for at least two more sea­sons). Less cer­tain are re­newals for more re­cent fare such as “Quan­tico,” “Gotham,” “Sleepy Hol­low” and “Blindspot.” Other Amer­i­can shows “on the bubble” for re­newal are “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” “Code Black,” “El­e­men­tary,” “Prison Break” and the Van­cou­ver-pro­duced “Time­less.”

At the end of the month and into June, Cana­dian net­works will present their new shows to ad­ver­tis­ers in Toronto. CBC an­nounces May 24 and has by far the deep­est bench of home­grown fare.

New to CBC will be “Alias Grace,” a six-hour minis­eries in­spired by the story of Grace Marks, a young Ir­ish im­mi­grant and maid con­victed of mur­der in Up­per Canada in 1843. She was ex­on­er­ated after about 30 years be­hind bars. Sarah Pol­ley serves as writer/ pro­ducer.

“Frankie Drake” stars Lau­ren Lee Smith (“The Lis­tener”) as Toronto’s only fe­male P.I. “The Great Cana­dian Bak­ing Show” will bring bak­ers across Canada to­gether in a se­ries of culi­nary chal­lenges. The com­edy “Craw­ford,” from the cre­ator of “Trailer Park Boys,” fea­tures an un­con­ven­tional fam­ily with a rac­coon prob­lem. Jill Hen­nessy (“Cross­ing Jor­dan”) is among the two-legged stars.

Long-running favourites “This Hour Has 22 Min­utes,” “Rick Mercer Re­port,” “Mur­doch Mys­ter­ies,” “Dragons’ Den” (fea­tur­ing the re­turn of Ar­lene Dick­in­son), “Mr. D” and “Heart­land” will all be back on CBC. New se­ries “Kim’s Con­ve­nience” and “Workin’ Moms” will also re­turn, and “Schitt’s Creek” is back for sea­son 4. CBC is wait­ing un­til Net­flix launches “Anne” out­side Canada be­fore de­cid­ing the fate of their Green Gables hero­ine. As pre­vi­ously an­nounced, “This Life” will not re­turn for a third sea­son.

CTV is bring­ing back the de­tec­tive drama “Car­di­nal” star­ring Billy Camp­bell and Karine Vanasse. Pro­duc­tion re­sumes later this month in Sud­bury, Ont.

New home­grown shows from CTV in­clude “The Launch,” a six-part tal­ent search se­ries.

“It’s the op­po­site of the other mu­sic shows,” says ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer John Brun­ton (“The Amaz­ing Race Canada,” “Cana­dian Idol”).

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