CBC’s Sally Catto: Anne’s future still up in the air

There’s a simple, yet frustrating, reason a second season of Anne wasn’t announced at CBC’s upfront presentation on Wednesday morning. Netflix has yet to weigh in on its commitment to a sophomore go-round of Anne Shirley’s adventures in Avonlea.

“[A second season announcement] is pending,” Sally Catto, general manager, programming at CBC told us. “It’s a partnership and they’ve just started broadcast it.” That may be tough to swallow for fans who were left staring in shock at their TV screens after the cliffhanger season finale went dark, but that’s the nature of the television business today. More broadcasters and countries involved in a series can mean a waiting game.

As for fans of programs Pure, The Romeo Section, Michael: Every Day, Four in the Morning, Bellevue and This Life, it was a bitter pill to swallow after it was confirmed none will return for additional seasons on the public broadcaster.

Pure was beautifully received and done,” Catto explains of the Mennonite Mafia drama created by Michael Amo and starring Ryan Robbins, A.J. Buckley and Alex Paxton-Beesley. “If you look at it, it’s a contained story and that equally weighed into the decision. It wasn’t just a numbers decision. There was a beginning, middle and very final end to Pure. Of course, any series has the potential to have another season, but for Pure, it’s up against other programs that have been percolating in development and there is limited space in the schedule. You’re making a choice, and it’s not always easy.”

Crawford debuts this winter on CBC.

When it came to choosing new programming this fall and winter, Catto was looking for series to compliment what’s resonating with audiences. Though research plays a part in the decision, they’re looking for distinct voices and unique stories. Who has a story to tell? What’s their voice? What’s their vision? To be too narrow, she believes, is to miss gems in the making.

Catto sought to expand CBC’s comedy base by adding new projects in Mike Clattenburg’s Crawford and Little Dog from Joel Thomas Hynes. As for drama, Frankie Drake Mysteries is a natural new series to present to loyal fans of Murdoch Mysteries and literary adaptations of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace and Lisa Moore’s Caught fit in the network’s structure.

As for The Council, we got a final word on its fate. René Balcer’s series “set against the unfolding drama of our changing planet and draws inspiration from the true-to-life fight over the vast and valuable resources of the Arctic” that was originally announced for the 2016-16 season is not moving forward.

Images courtesy of CBC.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and owner of TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from hundreds of television series from Canada, the U.S. and internationally. He is a podcaster, public speaker, weekly radio guest and educator, and past member of the Television Critics Association.
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2 thoughts on “CBC’s Sally Catto: Anne’s future still up in the air”

  1. Unsurprising to see CBC needs Netflix to sign off on more Anne. I fear this continued reliance on international partners will come to bite Canadian TV in the butt. I hear the large production committee is the reason Ransom hasn’t been renewed yet.

    1. There are definitely negatives to having several networks on board. Yes, Ransom is being held up but I found out that, despite initial reports, CBS has not closed the door on Season 2 of Ransom. Yet.

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