From the Calgary Herald:

Mr. D, Seed lead Canadian Comedy Award nominations
The TV sitcoms Seed and Mr. D and the comedy films Please Kill Mr. Know It All and My Awkward Sexual Adventure are the leading nominees at the Canadian Comedy Awards. Continue reading.




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From a media release:

CBC TELEVISION LAUNCHES 2013-2014 SCHEDULE FEATURING NEW PRIMETIME SERIES, SOCHI 2014, AND A SLATE OF RETURNING HITS

CBC today unveiled its 2013-2014 broadcast schedule, featuring a strong line-up of anticipated new series, returning and homegrown hits, the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA, leading cultural live events, and more.

This fall, CBC Television welcomes back Sunday night-favourite BATTLE OF THE BLADES for its 4th season – a dynamic show that combines athletes from two of Canada’s favourite sports: figure skating and hockey! Eight accomplished figure skaters pair up with eight rugged hockey players in the ultimate skating competition for charity. Ron MacLean and Kurt Browning will both return to host an exciting new season. The live performance episodes will be supported through integrated multi-platform technology, reintroducing the hit show to Canadian audiences. BATTLE OF THE BLADES is big Sunday night entertainment where anything is possible.

Based on author Terry Fallis’ award-winning novel of the same name and 2011 Canada Reads winner, THE BEST LAID PLANS, is a humorous and satirical journey into the world of national politics and backroom maneuvering of Canadian government. Parliament is a secret and esoteric world with its own culture, customs and language. THE BEST LAID PLANS is a rollicking journey into this cosseted world. Our guide is the earnest, hopeful, English PhD, Daniel Addison, head speech writer for the Leader of the Opposition. When Daniel catches his girlfriend and her boss in flagrante delicto he decides to return to academe as assistant professor of English at the University of Ottawa. But you don’t just walk away from the Opposition Party — freedom has a price and in this case it’s finding a candidate in a riding 50 kilometres away and managing the campaign in the next election, scheduled in approximately eight weeks. THE BEST LAID PLANS, launches in winter 2014 on CBC-TV.

FOUR ROOMS jumps into the reality space this winter as four of Canada’s leading art buyers vie for the prized possessions of Canadians. Four of Canada’s leading art, antiques and memorabilia dealers wait in four rooms, ready to spend big money on the right item. Canadians looking to sell their prized possessions come face-to-face with the four buyers, who will stop at nothing in their quest to purchase unique, stunning, iconic, unusual or macabre items. Each buyer makes the seller an offer. But there’s a catch. Would-be sellers must decide whether they want to accept the buyer’s offer or move on to the next buyer’s room. And once they reject a bid from a buyer, the offer is off the table forever. No teapots, musty old furniture or bits of pottery. It’s about morals and greed. It’s Antiques Roadshow meets Dragon’s Den. The FOUR ROOMS cross-Canada search for sellers is now underway. Apply online today at cbc.ca/fourrooms and audition in a city near you.

CBC is thrilled to welcome the successful series RECIPE TO RICHES to the 2014 winter schedule. It’s a competition-style reality series in which amateur Canadian cooks create and share their innovative favourite personal recipes with the country. In the week leading up to the finale, Canadians will be able to join the fun and vote for their favourite recipe! Auditions will take place this summer in select cities across Canada – additional information and updates to come in the coming weeks.

Launching this fall, STILL LIFE is a made for TV movie about a supposedly tranquil village in Quebec’s Eastern Townships that is about to be disturbed by the discovery that a much-loved member of the community lies dead in the woods. As investigators dig deeper, they uncover layers of deceit, rage and long-simmering resentments buried deep in a quaint village. Based on award-winning Canadian novelist Louise Penny’s first book, STILL LIFE is the first book in the Three Pines Mystery series. The film is set and was shot in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

CBC-TV’s primetime lineup is full of proven, homegrown returning series: ARCTIC AIR returns for its third season of avalanche rescue missions, aerial bombing runs, and police chases; DRAGONS’ DEN, Canada’s highest-rated unscripted TV show, returns with 20 exciting new episodes in a brand new, ominous den; CRACKED’s Psych Crimes Unit is back; school’s in for MR. D; REPUBLIC OF DOYLE kicks into high gear on the rock; and HEARTLAND returns as the Sunday favourite; Canada’s No. 1 investigative consumer show, MARKETPLACE is back for its 41st season after consistently drawing more than 1 million viewers last year. Beloved fan-favourite drama MURDOCH MYSTERIES returns for an all-new seventh season. the fifth estate returns with its award-winning investigative journalism in its 39th season.

THE NATURE OF THINGS WITH DAVID SUZUKI returns as CBC Television’s longest- running multi-award-winning series, while DOC ZONE, CBC Television’s flagship documentary series, returns with documentaries from the front lines from around the world. CBC’s current affairs programming for 2013-2014 will deliver unparalleled depth and originality, and will continue to broadcast the best informative programming in Canada.

GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS TONIGHT is back as George celebrates his 10th season connecting his audience to the world’s most influential and fascinating characters. And Canada’s best comedic and satirical shows are back with new seasons of the RICK MERCER REPORT, THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES, and THE RON JAMES SHOW. In addition, the CBC is home to Canada’s top cultural live events, including the SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE, CANADIAN SCREEN AWARDS, and the CCMAs.




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Mr. D, CBC – “Slam Dunk”
Gerry tries to convince Bobbi to give him a senior boys basketball team next season. Robert learns that his year end evaluation came with one complaint.

The Ron James Show, CBC – “Language & Communication”
Ron looks at the increasingly complex world of LANGUAGE & COMMUNICATION and tries to figure out what’s getting lost in translation. Special Guests: Deb McGrath, Christian Potenza.

Arctic Air, CBC – “Ts’inada”
Caitlin is taken, but her kidnappers don’t want money – they want Nelson.




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Mr. D, CBC – “Strip Club”
Gerry suspects that Dwyer is moonlighting as a stripper and decides to find out. Lisa makes a big deal of Secretary’s Day. Gerry tries to get in on the staff lottery pool.

The Ron James Show, CBC – “Science”
Ron puts the world of SCIENCE under the microscope. Special Guests: Alanna Harkin, Marty Adams, Jonas Chernick, Sugith Varughese.

Arctic Air, CBC – “Fool Me Once”
While a winter storm hammers Yellowknife, a couples’ weekend in Calgary goes sideways after the arrival of Blake’s sister and Krista’s discovery of Bobby and Petra’s kiss.

Food Factory, Food Network Canada – season premiere
In the season premiere, viewers are treated to a step-by-step look at how sweet and crispy waffles, tangy, crunchy Doritos nachos, dreamy dark chocolate milk, and an extravagantly cheesy Indian dessert get from the production line to people’s plates.

Rogue, Movie Central/The Movie Network – “Cathy’s Song”
Jimmy deals with fallout from the firebombing. Grace investigates Jimmy’s crew with Mitch’s help. Max negotiates with the Chinese. Alec tries to get back in Jimmy’s good graces.




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If you were excited by this season’s lineup of shows on CBC, you’re bound to like next season. Safe is the word for our public broadcaster. All primetime scripted programs have been renewed, and no new ongoing series have been picked up. Further details will be provided at the upfront in May, so I’d still have hope that a new series or two is up their sleeve if I thought CBC could afford even the sleeve in this second year of imposed austerity.

Promising but short-lived additions are a television movie based on Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes – which, among other accolades, won CBC’s Canada Reads competition a few years ago — and the Best Laid Plans miniseries based on Terry Fallis’ political satire, adapted for television by Susan Coyne and Jason Sherman. Coyne’s association with Slings & Arrows means I already have impossible expectations for that miniseries, as well as the no-basis-in-fact expectation that, like Bomb Girls, if the ratings are decent it could become a maxi-series.

My reality-hating heart has to admit excitement about Battle of the Blades’ return after a season’s hiatus. I didn’t watch it regularly but it’s entertaining and a unique format amid all the [American Reality Show Title] Canada series out there, and it could only be a more quintessentially Canadian idea if they made the skaters ride moose covered in maple syrup. I mean that as a compliment.

The no-brainers for renewal included the resurrected Murdoch Mysteries, which gained even more of an audience in its City to CBC transition, Republic of Doyle, Rick Mercer, Dragons’ Den and Marketplace.

22 Minutes should be a sure thing based on ratings, but never quite seems to be based on network neglect. Slightly more surprising is the renewal of the under-the-radar and lukewarmly rated The Ron James Show, which nonetheless must be cheap to produce and James has earned his place with the network (but it’s not as though that always means much).

There were three titles I scanned for in the renewal list to see which one or ones caught the axe. Mr. D and Arctic Air have declined drastically in the ratings after great starts the previous year, and Cracked, while not completely DOA, never came close to cracking a million. But they were all there. Everything was there except The Big Decision.

Another kind of person would praise CBC for giving shows with middling ratings more than a season or two to find an audience. That kind of person would have thought all of them were shows deserving of a greater audience in the first place, would refrain from pointing out a couple of them found and then lost an audience, and would not have written this post after the 2012/13 season announcement.

The fact that everything was renewed to me doesn’t indicate CBC’s faith in all these shows – seriously, all of them? – but that they had no faith in any of their shows in development.

In sticking with a stable lineup, CBC is coming closer to fulfilling its impossible mission of having to be all things to all people and, in the process, making its schedule look a lot like a private broadcaster’s should, if Canadian private broadcasters didn’t look a lot like American broadcasters. CBC is staying the course with a staid lineup, and fewer people will note the loss of innovation than would have noted the loss of even a mediocre scripted show.

By Diane Wild



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