July 12, 2010

News: Canwest to debut new shows and pilots for 2010-11, 2011-12 seasons

Etan Vlessing pretty much spilled the beans on June 29, but Canwest recently announced its 2010-11 production slate.  The newly announced shows are as follows:

Blackstone (January 28, 2011)
Combat Hospital (2011-12)
Kenny Hotz’s Triumph of the Will* (Spring/Summer 2011)
King (Spring 2011)
Single White Spenny (Spring/Summer 2011)
Untitled Belleville Brothers Project* (Spring/Summer 2011)
XIII (Spring 2011)

Backdoor pilots include:
Befriend & Betray (Spring 2011)
Jack of Diamonds (Spring 2011)
Rave Squad (Spring 2011)

Previously announced programming:
Endgame (Spring 2011)
Lost Girl (Fall 2010)
Shattered (Fall 2010)
The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour (Winter 2011)

*working title

In addition, Rookie Blue has already debuted, while Haven will debut July 12, 2010 on Showcase.  Rookie Blue is a hit, albeit more on Global than on ABC.

Blackstone has already been announced for APTN, but airdates on APTN haven’t been given yet.  I really don’t count Blackstone as a “new” show for Canwest, since Canwest is giving Blackstone a second broadcast window.

I’m curious to know why both Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice have new shows.  Single White Spenny will be produced by Breakthrough Films & Television.  Howard Busgang has been mentioned in relation to the series.

Both John Morayniss and Kenny Hotz will executive-produce the new Hotz series for E1 Entertainment.  The show may or may not be called Prize or Punishment.  Spenny’s trying to be Larry David, while Hotz is being his usual tasteless self.  Sounds about right.

Based on Canwest’s 2010-11 slate, I get the feeling most of the shows will be offloaded to Showcase.  Showcase wants to be a mainstream drama channel now, so it’s beefing up its drama holdings.  I don’t know why Combat Hospital is even on this list, as it won’t debut for another year.

I think Showcase is treated better than Global.  It sure gets the lion’s share of Canwest’s homegrown drama content.  That doesn’t surprise me.  Cable rot is turning Showcase into a haven for reruns of the XIII miniseries and Beyond Loch Ness, but Showcase is launching more original series than ever.  It’s a strange dichotomy.  I wonder why Showcase hasn’t launched a Loch Ness series yet.

Addendum (July 12, 2010) | The media release for Blackstone, which has just been released, states that the show will air on both APTN and Showcase come “early 2011.”  No word on whether Blackstone will be simulcast.

Further Addendum (November 29, 2010) | Changes to Shaw Media’s (formerly Canwest’s) lineup will be underlined.  Info is from Shaw Media publicist Jessica Gold and, in the case of Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice’s shows, showcase.ca.

Untitled Belleville Brothers Project is somehow still Untitled Belleville Brothers Project.  It’s also been known as Masters of the Plazaverse and The Strip.  The name changes are confusing.  I’ll be surprised if the show doesn’t debut as Untitled Belleville Brothers Project.

Further Addendum to the Further Addendum (December 20, 2010) | According to this press release, Blackstone will debut Friday, January 28, 2011 on Showcase…at 11:00 PM ET/PT.  It will not be simulcast with APTN, as if Showcase giving Blackstone a timeslot of death hasn’t made this obvious.  The listing has been updated to reflect this change.

   
Share

June 1, 2010

Upfronts: Canwest sets debuts for Shattered, Haven and Lost Girl

As announced today at a Canwest press conference, Shattered will debut on Global as part of the 2010-11 fall season lineup.  It will be one of seven new shows in Global’s lineup, and the only Canadian show to make its fall schedule.  Hi, ACTRA!

Shattered is a cop drama starring Callum Keith Rennie as a homicide detective with multiple personality disorder.  It will air Fridays at 9:00 PM ET/PT.  The show was originally meant for Showcase’s 2009-10 season.  Canwest must have faith in the show, even considering the Friday timeslot.

As for cable fall debuts, Haven will air on Showcase Diva starting September 2, since a female-oriented digital cable channel is the best place for a show based on a Stephen King novel.  Lost Girl will debut on Showcase three days later, at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

I’m just going to link to the specialty debuts as regards reality fare.  It’s not that I’m lazy, but the two most hyped reality shows (Wipeout Canada and Top Chef Canada) air in the spring of 2011.

Canwest’s lineup has a few holes in it.  Where the hell are The Drunk and on Drugs Happy Funtime Hour and Producing Parker?  I’ll find out tomorrow, as I will attend the Canwest upfront video presentation.

Also…Cra$h & Burn on Showcase Diva?!  That makes as much sense for Showcase Diva as Haven.  Canwest just slays me at times.

Share

April 30, 2010

News: Kevin Newman to step down as Global National anchor Aug. 20, 2010

Kevin Newman recently announced on his Twitter account that August 20, 2010 will be his last day as Global National anchor.  Newman has anchored the half-hour newscast since its debut on September 3, 2001.

Newman has been active in television broadcast news since 1981, initially in an on-air role for Global Toronto’s Sportsline.  Newman’s anchor credits include ABC’s World News Now (1994-97), Good Morning America (1996-99) and CBC’s Midday (1992-94.)

Newman’s Twitter post mentions “rest and renewal,” a sentiment The Canadian Press parrots.  I honestly think Newman means this.  He’s managed morning, afternoon, evening and late-night news shifts, picking up two Geminis, two Emmys and a Peabody in the process.  What’s left for the 50-year-old to do?

I don’t think Newman should return to news anchoring.  CTV News is too stuffy for his personable approach.  Nothing can save CBC News, now that it’s embraced superficiality.  American television news is mediocre at best.

Either Kevin Newman’s leaving Global at just the right time, or he’s leaving North American network journalism at the right time.  He’s a talking head, but a damned professional one.  Personally, I’ll miss Newman.

Share

April 9, 2010

News: CanCon Potrzebie – Rookie Blue, Living in Your Car, More

Sorry for lumping stories in like this.  I usually don’t, but Canadian television news hasn’t been this active since URBMN began talking about these shows back in 2008.  I’ve fallen behind a bit.  Apologies if you’ve read this before.


Rookie Blue, the cop show formerly known as Copper, will debut Thursday, June 24, 2010.  The show will air on both Global and ABC at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

Rookie Blue focuses on five newbie cops learning the ropes in the generic world of “big-city policing.”  It is unknown whether the show will contain vomiting.

Rookie Blue is an odd name for a show.  Copper, while generic, makes more sense.  I guess ABC and Canwest are banking on people remembering NYPD Blue and Hill Street Blues.  This show has never had a good name.

Yeah, yeah, Cra$h & Burn, but that’s different.  See, the character’s named Jimmy Burn, and he’s an insurance claims adjuster.  The title fits the show.  What Canwest and ABC have done is swap ambiguities.  It’s like taking Cybersix and calling it A Girl and Her Panther.

I don’t have high hopes for Rookie Blue.  One doesn’t schedule a surefire hit in the middle of June.  At least the show’s out.  I hope it gets promoted.


Living in Your Car will debut on HBO Canada Friday, May 7, 2010, at 9:30 PM ET/MT.  The show follows Steve Unger (John Ralston), a business executive charged with fraud, obstruction and racketeering.  After cutting a deal to escape prison time, Unger loses everything aside from his sedan.  This explains Living in Your Car‘s title and premise.  See how this works, Canwest?

Here’s a ninety-second preview of Living in Your Car.  Star John Ralston might be more familiar to viewers as Derek Venturi’s father on Life with Derek.  He also played Ming the Merciless on the 2007-08 Flash Gordon reboot.  Ralston gets around.


Continuing with the subject of HBO Canada, NSI Canada has announced that Less Than Kind will get a third season.

It’s not a detailed story, and HBO Canada hasn’t formally announced a third season for Less Than Kind.  At the same time, I can’t see why the National Screen Institute would falsify the renewal of a show it helped develop.

Congratulations to Less Than Kind.  I thought the show would die after its second season.  It’s not often that I can write about a Canadian show’s renewal, rather than its untimely death.


Two upcoming shows in the pipeline: CTV/Bravo!/Showtime’s The Borgias and Showcase’s Lost Girl.  Lost Girl is set to debut “Fall 2010″ (*snort* heard that one before), while The Borgias will air in 2011.

Lost Girl is in production.  It’s about a succubus on a path to self-discovery.  The Borgias, which is still in pre-production, is about the Italian/Spanish House of Borgia and its path to self-destruction.  I’m sure sex will feature heavily in both shows.

The Borgias‘ cast includes Colm Feore, Jeremy Irons and François Arnaud.  Director/screenwriter Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, Ondine) will write and direct The Borgias‘ first two episodes.

The Borgias intrigues me.  I hate The Tudors with a passion, but this show might be different.  Neil Jordan might focus The Borgias more on politico-religious themes than trying to sex up history for a premium-cable audience.  As long as François Arnaud doesn’t eat up scenery like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the show will do fine.

I’m not as sold on Lost Girl.  It comes across as a gender-swapped Blood Ties.  If the show is a detective drama WITH DEMONS!, I’m bailing.

Horror, fantasy and sci-fi themes are invading mainstream television with increased regularity.  Supernatural, The Secret Saturdays, Ugly Americans, True Blood, Dead Set, Being Human…it gets to be a bit much after a while.

I’m not saying Lost Girl will suck, but the show might get lost in the shuffle.  Add to that Canwest’s wanting to turn its cable channels into virtual Global clones…on second thought, I don’t want to think about that.  I value my sanity.  I hate Canadian television so much.

Share

January 21, 2010

‘da Kink in My Hair‘s first season on DVD January 26, 2010

‘da Kink in My Hair, Trey Anthony and Ngozi Paul’s Afrocentric Global dramedy, will have its first season out on DVD January 26, 2010.  Paradox Entertainment Group and E1 Entertainment will put the set out.

I came across ‘da Kink‘s first season DVD on January 20, buried here.  Even Air Farce compilations are listed before ‘da Kink in My Hair.

Global gave ‘da Kink in My Hair the college try for two seasons, to disappointing ratings.  The series averaged around 250,000 viewers its first season.  ‘da Kink dipped below 200,000 viewers its second season.

I’m amazed Global stuck with ‘da Kink in My Hair for as long as it did, despite low ratings.  ‘da Kink always came across as a show Global would greenlight to fill a diversity quota.  It should have been on a specialty channel from the start.  ‘da Kink is a show about Jamaican hairdressers.  If that doesn’t scream “niche audience,” then I don’t know what a niche is.


Share

November 27, 2009

News: Possible second season for Producing Parker

A second season of Producing Parker is in the pipeline.  This item was mentioned by the Channel 56 blog, and confirmed on Breakthrough Films & Television’s website.

The show, originally set to debut on Canwest’s now-defunct E! network, debuted on TVtropolis this May.  Reruns currently air on Global and TVtropolis.  This entry will be updated as more information becomes available.  As of this writing, news is limited to “Producing Parker 2: until 2011.”

I assume this item has been up since October, as this Google cache mentions Breakthrough’s non-broadcast Gemini Award wins.  Producing Parker 2 was then in production “until 2010.”  I guess no one bothered to notice until this week.  I don’t know.

I’m not sure what to think of this.  Producing Parker is aired on TVtropolis far too much, sometimes in odd timeslots.  “Twat” references and bare breasts at 6:00 PM on Sundays?  I understand cable channels are lax on censorship, but that’s bizarre scheduling.

The only Canwest specialty channel appropriate enough for Producing Parker is Showcase Diva.  While I’m not a big fan of Producing Parker, it deserves a better home than TVtropolis.  The show’s better than Bob & Doug, but so is colonic irrigation.

I’m surprised Producing Parker is a more-than-single-season wonder.  Are CanCon regulations keeping this show alive, or is there something to Producing Parker that I’m missing?

Share

June 16, 2009

Picking Apart the Fall Schedules 2009-10: Canadian Network Prime-Time

The 2009-10 season, for most specialty stations and the broadcast networks, is weak in the homegrown TV show department.  Although I’ve only seriously talked about Canadian television since the 2008-09 fall season, very few Canadian shows set to debut in 2009-10 draw my interest.

I don’t know if this is due to the sluggish economy, a sea change in broadcasting vs. the Internet, or Canadian television needing to be there regardless of quality.  It has to be the conventional television business model.  It’s broken, you know!  Canwest can only afford to fill one network with American shows instead of two this year!  Also, buy a new GM car or truck!  It’s not going out of business, it’s getting down to business…by wasting money on unconvincing ads!

I don’t think there’s one new piece of CanCon on the Canadian network prime-time schedules that I can get excited about.  There are a few returning programs I can get behind, Less Than Kind leading that pack.  Cable is where the big boys play at this point, so I’ll try to whip up a few articles making fun of SPACE’s and TVtropolis’ schedules in the coming days.  I have to make up for recommending Hotbox somehow.

CityTV | The only worthwhile Canadian shows on CityTV this fall are Less Than Kind and Murdoch Mysteries, both returning shows.  What the hell, CityTV?  My RONA Home?  Ford Models Supermodel of the World Canada?  This is the best the network can do?

I’ll admit Conviction Kitchen has potential.  The show’s high concept is Hell’s Kitchen with criminals.  I’m just not sure the show will be any good.  I’m also not holding out for a third season of Less Than Kind once the second-season episodes have been burnt off.  Jesse Camacho will survive, but I doubt his show will.

There’s been talk about the lack of Canadian film representation on CityTV, but that’s just one of CityTV’s problems.  CityTV’s attempts at Canadian television are depressing enough.  CityTV should at least be able to compete with Canwest and give the greenlight to more than branded reality shows.  I’m not saying CityTV turned shit once Rogers took over, but I sometimes wonder if CityTV knows what it’s doing.  Wait, of course it does.  I mean, Jay Leno!

CTV/‘A’ | If Dan For Mayor is successful, Fred Ewanuick will become more well-known than he is now.  As it is, he’s “that guy from Corner Gas and/or Robson Arms” if he’s known at all.  His face is more recognizable than his name.  Ewanuick’s celebrity could meet Brent Butt’s the way his career trajectory is going.

I know how pithy the last sentence reads.  It’s Canadian television.  Just run with it.

I’m sure one of the two shows following in the wake of Corner Gas will be successful.  If both DFM and Brent Butt’s Hiccups do well, I won’t be surprised.  Corner Gas brought in the ratings, so there will be much interest in the follow-up projects.  That’s a rare quality in Canadian television.  Hey, one of the two shows might be genuinely funny.  Who knows?

As for returning shows, Degrassi: The Next Generation is back for some reason.  There’s a spinoff film attached to the show’s ninth (!!) season, which is weird as the show is dragging its ratings ass.  Flashpoint‘s back, like no one saw that coming.

Basically, CTV and ‘A’ are staying the usual CTVglobemedia television course – tons of hit American programs, with some CanCon to fill the cultural quota.  CTV’s central strategy hasn’t changed for years.  It’s the most-watched Canadian network, a fact CTVglobemedia endlessly trumpets.  I wish a network in this country could air something more exciting than So You Think You Can Dance Canada, but Canada, you know?

Global | Global’s literally coasting this year as Canwest prepares for bankruptcy and/or reorganization.  As such, its new fall shows are all American.  Shows on the immediate fall lineup include what’s left of The Guard, renegadepress.com and reruns of The Jane Show.

Seriously, three-year-old reruns of The Jane Show are worthy for a spot on the 2009-10 fall lineup?  Since Saturday night is the graveyard of network television, throw out uncensored episodes of Billable Hours or move 16X9 from Sundays.  No one’s going to notice what Global flings out on Saturday night.  Air The Line, something, anything.  The Jane Show, honest to God…

CBC | Momco should be able to do better with its new programming than Canada’s Super Speller and Battle of the Blades.  CBC is horrible at reality programming – The Week the Women Went, Triple Sensation, How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, it’s one big ball of there.  CBC does have Dragon’s Den, but it can hardly take the credit for porting that show over from Japan.

As for new shows, I have to admit a mild interest in The Ron James Show, Republic of Doyle and 18 to Life.  I say mild interest as the show I really want to see, Death Comes to Town, won’t air until after the 2009-10 season.  If any new CBC show can break through the culture of bland until Death Comes to Town, I’ll be happy.  I’m not holding my breath.

Returning shows on CBC are familiar enough – Little Mosque on the Prairie, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Rick Mercer Report, The Border, The Hour etc.  The lineup could be worse, but it could be better.

SUN TV | Argos Access.  That’s it as far as new programs go for SUN TV.  The station technically isn’t network, but what the hell.  Independent television stations in Canada aren’t easy to come by these days.

Here’s an idea, CBC: why not pick up the tab for King Kaboom‘s second season?  Those Toronto-centric criticisms will continue in stead, but that’s going to happen any time an intern drops a pencil at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre.  It’s not like SUN TV knows what to do with King Kaboom.  I pick on SUN TV, but it really should try harder.

E! | Ahhahahaha…

Share

April 19, 2009

TV Review | Bob & Doug 1.1, 1.2 – “Back to School,” “No Country for Old People”

People seem to overlook the forces of CanCon that created the Bob & Doug (Global: starts April 19, 7:30 PM) phenomenon.  As has been exhaustively reiterated, CBC wanted Canadian filler for its version of SCTV Network 90, which was two minutes longer than the American version.

Not fond of the request, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas generally pissed around at the end of a shooting day, talking about various Canadian inanities in the most stereotypical manner ever.  The sketches were meant as throwaways, a collective up-yours to government-mandated culture.

Come 2009, Kanadian Korner/Great White North has spawned two albums, a feature-length film, an anniversary special and this new animated series.  It’s SCTV‘s most enduring cultural legacy, which is a shame as Count Floyd was a better character.  Bob and Doug get Strange Brew while Count Floyd rates a how-to video.  It’s an unfair 3D world…of slavechicks!  Ha ha ha!

I had apprehensions about Bob & Doug before it debuted.  This show had been languishing in development hell since at least 2003.  A preview was released as part of the Strange Brew DVD, but that title debuted on DVD in 2002.  Needless to say, I had visions of Bob & Doug being unwatchable.

Luckily, Bob & Doug isn’t horrible.  It’s not great, but it’s better than I figured it was going to be.  For an almost thirty-year-old franchise, Bob & Doug is surprisingly vital.

Dave Coulier is alright as the voice of Bob McKenzie, although he’s no Rick Moranis.  Dave Thomas is off-model as Doug McKenzie, which isn’t surprising since he’s edging sixty.  Thomas sounds more like himself than he does his principal character.  It doesn’t take away from Bob & Doug‘s quality, but it’s noticeable enough.

The voiceover cast includes Patrick McKenna, Derek McGrath, Neil Crone, Ron Pardo and Michael Dunston.  It’s a given that the voiceover acting is more jarring than in an American series, but casting Maurice LaMarche for an episode was a good move.  The last Canadian adult animated series I heard him in was Tripping the Rift, so Bob & Doug is a step up.  I’m also not surprised to hear Jayne Eastwood on the show, since she’s about one-quarter of all Canadian acting.

Bob & Doug takes the post-modern tack of many cartoons, ignoring the fourth wall and making self-aware references to itself.  There are asides where Bob & Doug cut from the action to explain the episode’s concept to the audience.  The show even parodies popular culture much like The Simpsons.  Bob & Doug is Strange Brew on steroids.

Of course, none of this matters if Bob & Doug isn’t funny, and it isn’t much of the time.  I can see the promise in the show, yet the gags are stitched together and have the subtlety of a jackhammer.  The talent’s there, the writing is sometimes good, but Bob & Doug doesn’t gel the way it should.  Strange Brew at least let the jokes unfold when it wasn’t trying to shoehorn Hamlet into a buddy-comedy format.

Bob & Doug‘s animation style honestly reminds me of John Callahan’s Quads!  Bob & Doug is not as badly-animated as Quads!Quads! didn’t even have backgrounds – but it’s still a typical Flash-animated cartoon.  Bob & Doug deserves better.

Fox helped develop Bob & Doug, yet its animated shows are usually of a higher standard than this.  Bob & Doug seems like a show Fox would air during the summer to burn off.  I’ll be amazed if Fox even airs Bob & Doug despite Bob & Doug McKenzie’s cross-border popularity.

While Bob & Doug McKenzie are true Canadian icons, I honestly can’t see a long future for Bob & Doug based on the cheap production values and uneven writing.  Of course, Chilly Beach looked worse than Bob & Doug yet found its niche, so anything can happen on Canadian television.  At the very least, Bob & Doug ought to earn higher ratings than ‘da Kink in My Hair.

Share
« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

© 1999-2010 SWEETPOSER ENTERTAINMENT. URBMN USES WordPress.