Doyle hang­ing up guns af­ter six years on CBC

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Laura Kane

TORONTO — CBC’s Repub­lic of Doyle is set to wrap af­ter its up­com­ing sixth sea­son, but cre­ator and star Al­lan Hawco says the end of the show had noth­ing to do with budget cuts at the strug­gling pub­lic broad­caster. Hawco said he and pro­duc­ers made the de­ci­sion half­way through film­ing the fifth sea­son be­cause they were “tapped out cre­atively.” “We re­al­ized among our­selves that we had reached our con­clu­sion,” said the New­found­land-born ac­tor in an in­ter­view. “We felt if we were lucky enough to get an or­der for sea­son 6, let’s go out be­fore some­one else asks us to or our au­di­ence be­comes fa­tigued.” The CBC an­nounced its 2014-15 sched­ule at a flashy pre­sen­ta­tion Thurs­day morn­ing, in which it re­lied on old favourites like Mur­doch Mys­ter­ies and Drag­ons’ Den, while adding 12 new shows, in­clud­ing a fe­male-driven western and a Sec­ond World War spy drama. Ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent Heather Con­way said the fall lineup re­flects a “change of di­rec­tion” at the CBC, which is reel­ing from a $115-mil­lion budget cut and the loss of Hockey Night in Canada to Rogers Me­dia. “I am very op­ti­mistic about where we’re headed,” she said. “I know that in an in­stant-ev­ery­thing world, ask­ing for your pa­tience is prob­a­bly un­re­al­is­tic, but your sup­port as we take a few risks and try some new things is very greatly ap­pre­ci­ated.” Among the CBC’s new of­fer­ings is Camp X, from the cre­ators of Flash­point, about covert agents train­ing on the shores of Lake On­tario. In­spired by true sto­ries, it’s set to air next win­ter. In the fall, view­ers can ex­pect Strange Em­pire, fea­tur­ing a group of fe­male he­roes — most of the men are mys­te­ri­ously gone — set in 1869 along the Al­berta-Mon­tana bor­der. Also an­nounced was the an­i­mated se­ries Pirate’s Pas­sage, star­ring, pro­duced and co-writ­ten by Don­ald Suther­land, and the minis­eries The Book of Ne­groes, based on Lawrence Hill’s award-win­ning novel. The sched­ule will also fea­ture Schitt’s Creek, a new half-hour com­edy co-cre­ated and star­ring SCTV alum Eu­gene Levy and his son, Daniel Levy, as well as co­me­dian Cather­ine O’Hara. Doyle, star­ring Hawco as charm­ing Det. Jake Doyle in St. John’s, will con­clude af­ter a 10-episode sea­son. The show’s rat­ings slipped last sea­son af­ter a move to Sun­day nights, but it re­mained a strong draw for CBC. Sally Catto, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of com­mis­sioned and scripted pro­gram­ming, said while budget cuts have had nu­mer­ous im­pacts at the CBC, they played no part in the de­ci­sion to end Doyle. Catto said the CBC is “def­i­nitely not play­ing it safe,” point­ing to shows like Camp X, Strange Em­pire and Schitt’s Creek as ex­am­ples of edgy, Cana­dian­driven se­ries that wouldn’t make it onto a pri­vate broad­caster. “I would ar­gue it’s the per­fect time to take risks. When you’re un­der this high pres­sure, some­times the best cre­ativ­ity comes out of it. This is our op­por­tu­nity to re­ally re­set. We don’t have hockey any­more. We have to think dif­fer­ently in terms of fi­nanc­ing and in terms of part­ner­ing,” she said. In­ter­na­tional shows bound for the pub­lic broad­caster in­clude Aus­tralia’s Se­crets and Lies and the BBC’s The Hon­ourable Woman, star­ring Mag­gie Gyl­len­haal. Canada’s Smartest Per­son, a game show test­ing Cana­di­ans’ in­tel­li­gence in un­usual ways, will air Sun­day nights, hosted by Jessi Cruick­shank and CBC Ra­dio One’s Jeff Dou­glas. Co­me­dian Jonny Har­ris will ad­ven­ture through small-town Canada in Of All Places, putting on orig­i­nal standup com­edy rou­tines based on what he learns about the town. CBC an­nounced in April it would cut some 657 jobs, in­clud­ing 133 jour­nal­ists, over two years, blam­ing a budget short­fall on poor TV rat­ings, a soft­ened ad­ver­tis­ing mar­ket and stiff com­pe­ti­tion from pri­vate ri­val net­works.


Al­lan Hawco in CBC’s Repub­lic of Doyle.

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