Cuts force CBC TV to cross con­tent lines

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Cassandra Szklarski

TORONTO — The CBC is bol­ster­ing its fall prime-time lineup with a rare for­eign im­port also slated for NBC’s sum­mer sched­ule.

The French-Ger­man co-pro­duc­tion Cross­ing Lines is among the new se­ries be­ing touted by the pub­lic broad­caster, which ad­mits the cop drama con­tains no Cana­dian funds, lo­cales or char­ac­ters.

But it does fea­ture Cana­dian star Don­ald Suther­land in its cast, and CBC pro­gram­ming boss Sally Catto said that was enough to sat­isfy the broad­caster’s Canuck-fo­cused man­date.

“It’s not our pref­er­ence,” Catto ad­mit­ted of adding the Euro­pean drama to the sched­ule.

“We’re only in our sec­ond year of three years of cuts and so we just don’t have the fund­ing to fill our com­plete sched­ule with orig­i­nal pro­gram­ming. But we re­ally feel this is a won­der­ful com­ple­ment.”

The cop se­ries will air on NBC this sum­mer and fea­tures an in­ter­na­tional cast, in­clud­ing U.S. ac­tor Wil­liam Ficht­ner, France’s Marc Lavoine and Ger­many’s Tom Wlaschiha.

It cen­tres on a spe­cial po­lice unit that in­ves­ti­gates crimes that cross Euro­pean bor­ders.

“We usu­ally do one ac­qui­si­tion a year and ... it doesn’t have to be Cana­dian con­tent for that one ac­qui­si­tion,” said Catto, point­ing to last year’s Ti­tanic: Blood & Steel as a re­cent ex­am­ple.

“Don­ald Suther­land for us is a big draw, be­ing such a prom­i­nent Cana­dian, and also Kim Coates is in this sea­son.... And the fact that it’s global and in­ter­na­tional we felt was rel­e­vant to our au­di­ences. It may not be Cana­dian, but it’s rel­e­vant to our au­di­ence in the same way The Tu­dors was to our au­di­ences.”

Of course, The Tu­dors was par­tially Cana­dian funded. And Cross­ing Lines will air on CBC months af­ter its de­but on NBC.

Catto, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of com­mis­sioned and scripted pro­gram­ming, dis­missed sug­ges­tions that de­lay­ing the de­but would cut into CBC’s po­ten­tial au­di­ence.

The CBC also an­nounced re­turn­ing home­grown dra­mas Mur­doch Mysteries, Repub­lic of Doyle and Arc­tic Air.

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