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From a media release:

CBC TELEVISION REVEALS ITS WINTER SCHEDULE, HEADLINED BY THE SOCHI 2014 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES AND THREE NEW PRIMETIME SERIES

  • CBC delivers in-depth and up-to-the minute coverage of SOCHI 2014 as the Official Olympic Broadcaster
  • FOUR ROOMS reveals its power buyers Scott Landon, Derreck Martin, Jessica Lindsay Phillips and Eddy Rogo and host Reshmi Nair
  • RECIPE TO RICHES unveils judging panel featuring Arlene Dickinson, Gail Simmons and Vikram Vij

CBC Television heats up winter 2014, delivering a hearty dose of action-packed competition for the month of February with the SOCHI 2014 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES and a primetime schedule full of returning homegrown hits and three all-new series. With more events and hours of competition than before, CBC delivers comprehensive coverage of the Winter Olympics through multiple media platforms, delivered by an all-star broadcast team. Bolstering the schedule is a roster of popular returning series and new programs. Primetime welcomes political satire THE BEST LAID PLANS; cooking competition RECIPE TO RICHES, with judges Arlene Dickinson (Dragons’ Den), Gail Simmons (Top Chef) and Vikram Vij (chef and restaurateur); and the hunt for one-of-a-kind collectibles on FOUR ROOMS, featuring buyers Derreck Martin, Eddy Rogo, Jessica Lindsay Phillips and Scott Landon and host Reshmi Nair.

This February, CBC/Radio-Canada reclaims its position as the Official Olympic Broadcaster with the SOCHI 2014 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES, providing its traditional standard of world-class broadcasting updated for the digital age. With more than 1,500 broadcast hours in both English and French, Canadians will receive the most engaging and entertaining coverage of the Olympics to date. Supplying live broadcasts, updates, news and more on TV, radio, online, on tablets and through mobile devices, CBC/Radio-Canada allows Canadians to access what they want when they want it, from anywhere in Canada.

CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA continues in the new year with an impressive slate of marquee events in addition to the traditional Saturday night match-ups. CBC has exclusive Canadian coverage of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® on Wednesday, January 1, back-to-back games from the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series™ on January 25 and 26, and the 2014 Tim Hortons Heritage Classic™ on Sunday, March 2. In addition, Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada goes live from Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan, on Saturday, January 18.

As announced earlier this week, CBC has partnered with the NHL, NHLPA and NBC to broadcast the seven-part series, NHL REVEALED: A SEASON LIKE NO OTHER, giving viewers an all-access pass into the lives of some of the biggest stars in the NHL. The series premieres in Canada on CBC on Thursday, January 23, and will follow more than two dozen top players on and off the ice as they participate in marquee NHL games including the 2014 Coors Light Stadium Series™ games and the Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™. Cameras will also follow players to Sochi in February and back to their NHL clubs as they begin the march to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

New this season is political satire THE BEST LAID PLANS, based on author Terry Fallis’ award-winning novel. The six-part mini-series premieres Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) and moves to Mondays at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on Jan. 6. This tongue-in-cheek journey delves into the world of national politics and backroom maneuvering. When Daniel Addison (Jonas Chernick), English PhD and head speech writer for the Leader of the Opposition, decides to return to academe, he quickly learns his freedom has a price. In this case it’s finding a candidate (Kenneth Welsh) in a riding 50 kilometers away and managing the campaign in the next election — just eight weeks away — while going head-to-head with an incumbent whose plurality in the last election was over 90 per cent.

New series FOUR ROOMS comes to Canada on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT). Members of the public come from across Canada with prized possessions that they think could be worth a fortune. Waiting in four rooms are Canada’s top buyers, each of them ready to spend BIG money on whatever comes through their doors. But there’s a catch. Sellers can only visit one buyer at a time- and if they turn down an offer, it’s off the table for good, there’s no going back. FOUR ROOMS. Four buyers. Four chances to make- or lose- a fortune.

CBC is thrilled to welcome successful series RECIPE TO RICHES to its schedule on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT). This competition-style reality series features amateur Canadian cooks as they work to create and share their innovative, favourite personal recipes with the country. Each one of the episodes features a different food category with a weekly winner receiving $25,000. Weekly winners then move on to compete in the series finale for the grand prize of $250,000. The finalists’ recipes will be available across the country as a President’s Choice® product, available in select Loblaw Companies Limited stores. In the week leading up to the finale, Canadians will be able to join the fun and vote for their favourite.

High-flying adventure series ARCTIC AIR returns for an action-packed third season on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT). The new season finds Krista returning after months of travelling abroad, determined to make changes in her life and followed by her brief overseas romance with Tag Cummins (Niall Matter), who turns up unexpectedly. ARCTIC AIR takes on a search-and-rescue contract with each mission bringing new and unexpected challenges. Avalanche rescue missions, aerial bombing runs, police chases, and serial killers aboard a DC-3? Is just another day at ARCTIC AIR.

School’s in as MR.D returns for a hysterical third season on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT). Gerry (Gerry Dee) returns to Xavier Academy for another year and is determined to finally land his dream job: gym teacher. He may get his chance, but for now he’ll have to continue to fake his way through social studies and other subjects he knows nothing about. But what MR. D. lacks in knowledge he makes up for in heart; he doesn’t teach by the book and sometimes that approach works. . .by accident.

THE RON JAMES SHOW marches into season 5 on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 9:30 p.m. (10 NT) with a fast-paced new format, stunning set and exciting segments and characters. This year, Ron’s signature stand-up is punchier than ever, and now it’s shot “in the round” before a live audience. The show is chock-a-block with an eclectic collection of material satirizing political, social and culturally pertinent issues of the day, guaranteed to appeal to a wide demographic of Canadians tuning in for some laughs.

Rounding out the winter season is a slate of CBC’s successful homespun series returning with brand-new episodes, including MURDOCH MYSTERIES (Mondays at 8 p.m. / 8:30 NT); DRAGONS’ DEN (Wednesdays at 8pm / 8:30 NT); REPUBLIC OF DOYLE (Wednesdays at 9 p.m. / 9:30 NT); HEARTLAND (Sundays at 7 p.m. (7:30NT); GEORGE STROUMBOULOPOULOS TONIGHT (Monday to Friday at 7 p.m./ 7:30 NT and 11:30 p.m. / 12 midnight NT); THE RICK MERCER REPORT (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. / 8:30 NT); THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m./ 9 NT); MARKETPLACE (Fridays at 8 p.m. 8:30 NT); and the fifth estate (Fridays at 9 p.m. / 9:30 NT); THE NATURE OF THINGS (Thursdays at 8 p.m.); DOC ZONE (Thursdays at 9 p.m.) and THE NATIONAL (Sunday to Friday at 10 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m.).

(more…)




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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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