June 3, 2011

Upfront Week: Lloyd Robertson’s final newscast; Corus, Channel Zero and CTV news

The most major news first: Lloyd Robertson’s last-ever newscast will be September 1, 2011.  Nothing’s going to top that, so here’s some news from the past two days that I haven’t covered yet.

News NOT about Lloyd Robertson


October 28, 2010

News: Sugar Sammy and Dan for Mayor Season 1 on DVD Jan. 18, 2011

Both Sugar Sammy Live in Concert: Direct from Montreal and Dan for Mayor‘s first season will be released on DVD by Video Service Corp., on Tuesday, January 18, 2011.  Dan for Mayor‘s season set contains two discs, while Sugar Sammy Live in Concert has one.

More About Super Paki for Mayor


July 29, 2010

News: Astral announces premieres for Call Me Fitz, Connor Undercover, Durham County‘s third season

Astral has recently announced fall 2010 schedules for the six premium-cable properties it owns.  For the purposes of this site, I will just highlight two Canadian premieres and one returning series.

Call Me Fitz, the Jason Priestley sitcom, will debut Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 8:00 PM ET/MT.  The show also stars Ernest Grunwald, Peter MacNeill, Kathleen Munroe, Tracy Dawson, Donavon Stinson and Brooke Nevin.

Durham County‘s third and final season will debut October 2010, with no specific date or time announced so far.  The show stars Hugh Dillon, Hélène Joy, Laurence Leboeuf and Greyston Holt.  Michael Nardone will join the cast for Durham County‘s swan song.  Both Durham County and Call Me Fitz will air on HBO Canada.

Meanwhile, Family Channel will debut Connor Undercover Friday, September 17, 2010 at 9:30 PM ET/PT.  The show will stay in the Friday timeslot for the duration of its run.  The show stars Max Morrow, Lola Tash and Jordan Francis.

Call Me Fitz will debut with back-to-back episodes.  I’m not sure if that’s a good sign.  This line from the press bumf worries me a bit:

His sybaritic lifestyle undergoes a radical transformation after a disastrous test-drive puts a potential customer in a coma and unleashes Fitz’s conscience, literally, in the form of Larry, a gentle man intent on rehabilitating Fitz’s battered psyche.

Oh boy!  A crisis-of-conscience sitcom!  The trailer looks better than the concept, at least.  I get the feeling Call Me Fitz was pitched as “Jason Priestley is a conflicted asshole!…yeah, we’ll come up with more later.”  At least it’s not the Minder ripoff I thought it was going to be.

As for airing Durham County on HBO Canada…why?  That’s an arbitrary move, considering HBO Canada is a sister channel to The Movie Network/Movie Central.  While I’m looking forward to DC‘s final season, what’s wrong with airing it on TMN/MC?

The two networks have a branding I don’t fully understand, other than HBO Canada airing HBO shows and The Movie Network/Movie Central airing Showtime shows.  I don’t think there’s much of a distinction.  As an aside, that new Astral logo is a multicoloured turd, isn’t it?


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.


December 22, 2009

News: Less Than Kind‘s second season to air on HBO Canada

Breakthrough Films & Television has posted news about Less Than Kind‘s move to HBO Canada.  The second season will premiere on The Movie Network/Movie Central’s multiplex channel Friday, February 19, 2010 at 8:30 PM ET/MT.  The Movie Network and Movie Central’s on-demand channels will offer the entire first season starting February 23, 2010.

CityTV debuted the show in the fall of 2008, originally committing to two seasons.  CityTV had even announced Less Than Kind‘s second season as part of its 2009-10 fall schedule.

I’m aware of Less Than Kind‘s weak first-season ratings.  On the other hand, debuting a domestic sitcom in a 10:30 PM ET Monday timeslot is stupid programming.  I don’t think CityTV knew what to do with the show.

I’m surprised The Movie Network/Movie Central managed to pick up Less Than Kind.  HBO Canada’s Canadian content was previously limited to Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures and the Nasty Show 3 comedy special.  This acquisition almost makes up for TMN/MC greenlighting Ken Finkleman’s latest onanism.  Almost.


November 18, 2009

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures to debut on HBO Canada Jan. 10, 2010

The Movie Network and Movie Central will debut Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures through its HBO Canada multiplex channel on January 10, 2010, at 8:00 PM ET/MT.  This is the first Canadian show to debut on HBO Canada, which came into being October 30, 2008.

The series is based on Vincent Lam’s Giller Prize-winning 2006 short story compilation.  It centers on three young medical professionals as they balance surgeries, medical emergencies and emotional baggage.  The phrase “sea of emotion” is used in the media release.

TMN and MC are promoting Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures heavily.  Beginning December 22, 2009, the first episode can be viewed online through hbocanada.com, themovienetwork.ca and moviecentral.ca.

Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures‘ first episode will debut December 22 on TMN OnDemand, and through Bell TV’s TMN OnLine service.  Western Canada will have to wait until December 29 for Movie Central On Demand to follow suit.  DVD samplers and Air Canada’s in-flight entertainment network also figure in promotion.

This is a Shaftesbury Films series, Shaftesbury fast becoming a household name in this country.  The company has its hand in Murdoch Mysteries, The Listener, ReGenesis, Life With Derek and The Summit, among other series/miniseries.  It’s even sold a Ken Finkleman series to TMN/MC, something I didn’t know was possible.

I hope Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is good.  The Movie Network/Movie Central has been on a roll with The Line, Durham County, Sanctuary and ZOS: Zone of Separation.  If the show fails, it won’t be due to lack of marketing.  Considering Shaftesbury’s track record, I’ll be surprised if an American cable channel doesn’t snap B&MC up in a heartbeat.