Day­time to dig­i­tal: CBC-TV un­veils new shows

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ARTS & LIFE - By Vic­to­ria Ahearn

TORONTO — CBC-TV un­veiled its “most am­bi­tious, di­verse pro­gram­ming slate ever” Thurs­day with a fall-win­ter lineup that is heav­ily Cana­dian and in­cludes nine new orig­i­nal dig­i­tal se­ries, a new day­time show and a Men­non­ite mob drama.

Heather Con­way, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of English ser­vices, said the public broad­caster is “do­ing re­ally well” with a grow­ing ra­dio lis­ten­er­ship and pro­grams that “have been very suc­cess­ful” across all of its plat­forms.

“For CBC to con­tinue to build on our suc­cess, we must of­fer con­tent on all of our plat­forms that is uniquely Cana­dian, dif­fer­ent from our com­peti­tors, but also of the cal­i­bre that can com­pete with the best in the world —and I think we’re do­ing just that.”

Newly an­nounced ti­tles in the lineup in­clude a day­time show fea­tur­ing Canada’s Smartest Per­son host Jessi Cruick­shank, home-decor guru Steven Saba­dos and two other yet-to-be-an­nounced hosts. Set to launch in the fall, it marks Saba­dos’s re­turn to CBC day­time pro­gram­ming af­ter last year’s death of his hus­band and Steven and Chris co-star Chris Hyn­d­man.

“We want it to be fun,” said Cruick­shank, who will be the fash­ion ex­pert on the show, which will in­clude a stu­dio au­di­ence and guests.

“It’s all about laugh­ter and you’ve got to have a good time,” added Saba­dos. “We want the viewer to have a smile on their face.”

Pure, which will pre­mière in early 2017, fol­lows a newly elected Men­non­ite pas­tor as he in­fil­trates the “Menno mob” in an ef­fort to take down a pow­er­ful drug-traf­fick­ing op­er­a­tion that stretches from Canada to Mex­ico.

Also an­nounced Thurs­day was the an­i­mated chil­dren’s se­ries Dot, pro­duced by au­thor Randi Zucker­berg, who is the sis­ter of Face­book co­founder and CEO Mark Zucker­berg.

Pre­vi­ously an­nounced new se­ries set to launch later this year in­clude Kim’s Con­ve­nience, based on Toronto play­wright-ac­tor Ins Choi’s stage com­e­dy­drama about a Korean-Cana­dian fam­ily and its con­ve­nience store. It’s sched­uled for a fall de­but.

Baroness von Sketch Show, com­ing this sum­mer, is an all-fe­male Cana­dian sketch com­edy se­ries fo­cused on “the world’s nar­cis­sis­tic con­tem­po­rary cul­ture.” The cast in­cludes Carolyn Tay­lor, Mered­ith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jen­nifer Whalen.

Also com­ing this sum­mer is Four in the Morn­ing, a com­edy about the ad­ven­tures of four 20-some­thing friends be­fore sun­rise in Toronto. Stars in­clude Lola Tash and Daniel Maslany.

In Shoot the Mes­sen­ger, slated for fall, El­yse Levesque stars as a young Toronto re­porter who wit­nesses a mur­der and gets caught up in a web of crime that has cor­po­rate and po­lit­i­cal ties. Lyriq Bent co-stars as the lead homi­cide de­tec­tive, Alex Kingston plays the edi­tor and Lu­cas Bryant plays a co-worker.

Al­lan Hawco of Repub­lic of Doyle fame stars as an es­caped Nova Sco­tia pris­oner in Caught, which is based on Lisa Moore’s Giller Prize-nom­i­nated novel. It’s set for early 2017.

The Arc­tic is the set­ting for two shows: True North Call­ing, pre­mièring in the win­ter, and The Coun­cil, set for fall.

And in This is High School, de­but­ing this fall, cam­eras fol­low stu­dents and their teach­ers at South Kam­loops Sec­ondary School in Kam­loops, B.C.

CBC also said it’s in­vest­ing in its largest slate of orig­i­nal dig­i­tal pro­gram­ming to date, with se­ries in­clud­ing Com­ing In, from pop­u­lar Cana­dian web se­ries cre­ators Kyle Humphrey and Gray­don Shep­pard. The new day­time se­ries will also have what Cruick­shank called a unique “fully in­ter­ac­tive on­line por­tal.”

“I think for us, dig­i­tal is sim­ply a part of how we think now,” said Con­way.

“Ul­ti­mately, I think ev­ery me­dia com­pany has an obli­ga­tion to build it­self into a dig­i­tal me­dia com­pany.”

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