Pri­est­ley basks in be­ing at home

The Hamilton Spectator - - A & E - VIC­TO­RIA AHEARN

TORONTO — Ja­son Pri­est­ley is en­joy­ing a mi­gra­tion north­ward in the TV in­dus­try.

While the Van­cou­ver-born star once had to work south of the bor­der to gain fame on se­ries in­clud­ing “Bev­erly Hills, 90210,” he’s now able to live at least half of the year back on home soil shoot­ing the dram­edy “Pri­vate Eyes,” which de­buts its sec­ond sea­son Thurs­day at 8 p.m. on Global.

Other Cana­dian-born stars who’ve also found them­selves re­turn­ing to shoot TV here in re­cent years in­clude Cather­ine O’Hara and Eu­gene Levy of “Schitt’s Creek” and Anna Paquin of “Belle­vue.”

“I think what hap­pened in the TV in­dus­try a few years ago was that the TV in­dus­try left Cal­i­for­nia and it moved other places, and I think that Toronto and Van­cou­ver were big win­ners in that mi­gra­tion, At­lanta was a big win­ner in that mi­gra­tion, New York was a big win­ner in that mi­gra­tion,” said Pri­est­ley. “But the in­dus­try has left Cal­i­for­nia and peo­ple like me who work pre­dom­i­nantly in TV, I go where the in­ter­est­ing work is and ... it brought me here.” Well, for the most part. “My wife and kids are in Stu­dio City, Cal­i­for­nia. I’m based on an Air Canada flight more than any­thing,” he said with a laugh. “But I love it here. And they come up here and they spend time up here with me. But I spend about half the year up here every year, and I have for the last five years. I just seem to split my time be­tween Toronto and Los An­ge­les, which is fine, be­cause I love this city.”

Toronto is also the set­ting for “Pri­vate Eyes,” in which Pri­est­ley and Cindy Samp­son play pri­vate de­tec­tives Matt Shade and Angie Everett.

While ro­man­tic ten­sions abound be­tween the two, their re­la­tion­ship ap­pears des­tined for the friend zone this sea­son as Matt be­comes in­volved with a dis­trict at­tor­ney, played by Bree Wil­liamson, and Angie be­comes in­volved with an old flame, played by Mark Ghanime. At the same time, Matt is deal­ing with cus­tody is­sues in­volv­ing his vis­ually im­paired teenage daugh­ter, played by Jor­dyn Ne­gri, and Angie is still mourning the death of her fa­ther.

Guest stars this sea­son in­clude Wil­liam Shat­ner, fash­ion maven Jeanne Beker, and IndyCar Se­ries driver James (Hinch) Hinch­cliffe, who is in the pre­mière episode that’s di­rected by Pri­est­ley.

Each episode fea­tures many Toronto land­marks and ref­er­ences to the city — some­thing sev­eral other shows (in­clud­ing “Or­phan Black” and “Rookie Blue”) have done in re­cent years.

“Peo­ple want to come and see this city from all around the world ... It’s a beau­ti­ful, vi­brant, mul­ti­cul­tural city that has un­be­liev­able cul­ture and un­be­liev­able nightlife and un­be­liev­able restau­rants. It’s an ex­cit­ing place and I think that our show be­ing set here makes sense.”


Cindy Samp­son and Ja­son Pri­est­ley in Global TV’s "Pri­vate Eyes." Wil­liam Shat­ner, right, makes an ap­pear­ance this sea­son as well as Jeanne Beker.

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