CBC announces new and returning series in 2020-21 programming slate

From a media release:

[Editor’s Note: Fridge Wars, Diggstown and Burden of Truth are on hold at the moment given COVID-19 production delays. The Detectives has not been renewed.]

At CBC’s 2020 virtual upfront presentation today, Canada’s public broadcaster revealed its 2020-21 slate of original programming, led by a strong fall schedule featuring 1,300 new hours for television spanning 22 new and returning series across all genres.

FALL 2020

ENSLAVED (6×60 Documentary, Associated Producers/A CBC Gem and documentary channel co-production with Epix in the United States) is a blue-chip documentary series led by Samuel Jackson and directed by Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici (The Naked Archaeologist) that charts the history of slavery through underwater archaeology. The series coincides with the 400-year anniversary of the first African brought to the New World as a slave, and will retrace the harrowing sea voyage that brought millions to a life of slavery. ENSLAVED is produced by Felix Golubev and Ric Bienstock and executive produced by Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Jackson, Eli Selden, Rob Lee, Simcha Jacobovici and Yaron Niski. International distribution by Fremantle.

ORANGEVILLE PREP (6×30 Factual, Orangeville Hoops Inc.) is a character-driven factual series that offers an inside look at the competitive, high-pressure world of basketball’s most successful preparatory program. Tucked away on farmland in Orangeville, Ontario lies the sport’s best kept secret – The Athlete Institute (AI). This high school basketball program has produced more Division 1 College and NBA players in the last five years than any other program in the world.

The Sounds

THE SOUNDS (8×60 Drama, Canada/New Zealand co-production, Shaftesbury and South Pacific Pictures) is a striking take on the relationship-driven thriller. Welcome to Pelorus Sounds, New Zealand – the sleepy settlement where nothing, including the visiting Cabbotts, is quite what it seems. Grieving wives, cheating husbands, epic embezzlement and historic crime all collide to weave a complicated web stretching through the Sounds’ hidden valleys and deep waters. Created by New Zealand-based author Sarah-Kate Lynch and directed by Peter Stebbings (Frankie Drake Mysteries, The Disappearance), the series stars Rachelle Lefevre (Mary Kills People, Under the Dome) as Maggie Cabbott and Matt Whelan (Narcos, The Luminaries) as Tom Cabbott.

TRICKSTER (6×60 Drama, Streel Films and Sienna Films) is based on the best-selling novel Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson, with CBC confirming today that it has been renewed for a second season. Starring newcomer Joel Oulette, this unique series is created by award-winning filmmaker Michelle Latimer (RISE, Nuuca) and Tony Elliott (Orphan Black), and directed by Latimer. Oulette plays Jared, an Indigenous teen struggling to keep his dysfunctional family above water, holding down an after-school job and selling ecstasy to support his partying mom, Maggie (Crystle Lightning), who self-medicates an undiagnosed mental illness, and his unemployable dad, Phil (Craig Lauzon) and his new girlfriend. But when Jared starts seeing strange things — talking ravens, doppelgängers, skin monsters— his already chaotic life is turned upside down. Additional cast includes Kalani Queypo (Jamestown), Anna Lambe (The Grizzlies), Joel Thomas Hynes (Little Dog), Gail Maurice (Cardinal) and Georgina Lightning (Blackstone).


  • BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW (Season 5, Frantic Films) – Finale Season
  • BATTLE OF THE BLADES (Season 6, Insight Productions) Following its remergence on the ice last year that reached over 1.5 million Canadians each episode, the factual hit will return this fall.**
  • DRAGONS’ DEN (Season 15, CBC)
  • FAMILY FEUD CANADA (Season 2, Zone 3/Fremantle) Following its inaugural season that reached 2.6 million viewers each week with a nightly average audience of over half a million including 30 percent in the key 25-54 demo, the hit series hosted by Gerry Dee is confirmed to return four nights per week this fall with 104 new episodes as a nationwide virtual search for new Canadian families now begins.***
  • HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST (Season 24, Pilot Light Productions)
  • JUST FOR LAUGHS: GALAS (Just For Laughs TV)
  • MARKETPLACE (Season 48, CBC News)
  • THE NATIONAL (CBC News, ongoing)
  • THE NATURE OF THINGS (Season 60) The landmark 60th season of THE NATURE OF THINGS will kick off with STATE OF THE PLANET, a unique documentary featuring a one-on-one conversation between David Suzuki and Sir David Attenborough that takes the pulse of our planet and asks whether humans can change their ways in time.
  • PURE (Season 2, Two East Productions/Cineflix)
  • ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES (Season 6, CBC Sports)
  • STILL STANDING (Season 6, Frantic Films)
  • THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (Season 28, Wildbrain)
  • YOU CAN’T ASK THAT (Season 2, Pixcom)


LADY DICKS (10×60 Drama, Cameron Pictures) is a fun and honest portrayal of two radically different female detectives in their early 40s. The buddy cop drama series follows Guns and Gangs detective, Samantha (Meredith MacNeill, Baroness von Sketch Show) and Drug Squad detective, Kelly (Adrienne C. Moore, Orange is the New Black), who by day are true action heroes in their own particular way: skilled, tough, determined, and ruthless. But by night, they’re both grappling with loneliness, dysfunctional families, screwed-up love lives, and a sense that their professional ambitions may not be totally in line with their personal needs. Their friendship could help to balance each other out, if only they didn’t drive one another utterly insane. LADY DICKS is co-created by Tassie Cameron (Mary Kills People, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue, The Robber Bride) and Sherry White (Little Dog, Frontier, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue).

ARCTIC VETS (10×30 Factual, eOne) takes viewers up close with the remarkable wildlife that inhabits Canada’s frozen north and the team of veterinarians that works tirelessly to keep them safe. With around 40 patients per week, no two days are the same for the team at Assiniboine Park Arctic Animal Hospital in Manitoba. From muskox to seals, wolverines to reindeer, treating Arctic animals is often dangerous, but always rewarding. Whether they’re performing life-saving surgery on a polar bear, or tending to a snowy owl with a broken wing, the mission of the vet team is the same – save the lives of sick and injured Arctic species.


  • CORONER (Season 3, Muse Entertainment, Back Alley Films and Cineflix Studios)
  • FAMILY FEUD CANADA (Season 2 continues, Zone 3, Fremantle)
  • THE FIFTH ESTATE (Season 46)
  • FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES (Season 4, Shaftesbury)
  • THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW (Season 4, Proper Television)
  • HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST (Season 24 continues, Pilot Light Productions)
  • HEARTLAND (Season 14, Seven24 Films and Dynamo Films)
  • KIM’S CONVENIENCE (Season 5, Thunderbird Entertainment) – also renewed for Season 6
  • MARKETPLACE (Season 48 continues)
  • MURDOCH MYSTERIES (Season 14, Shaftesbury)
  • THE NATURE OF THINGS (Season 60 continues)
  • ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES (Season 6 continues)
  • TALLBOYZ (Season 2, Accent Entertainment)
  • THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES (Season 28 continues, Wildbrain)
  • WORKIN’ MOMS (Season 5, Wolf & Rabbit Entertainment)


New original series for kids on CBC Kids and CBC Gem this upcoming year include:

  • REMY & BOO (Industrial Brothers/Boat Rocker, in association with Radio-Canada, 52×11 – Fall 2020), an animated preschool series about a unique friendship between an adventurous little girl and a squishy pink robot called Boo.
  • DINO RANCH (Industrial Brothers/Boat Rocker, 52×11 – 2021), an action-packed animated preschool series that follows the Cassidy family as they tackle life in a fantastical “pre-westoric” setting where dinosaurs still roam.
  • GARY’S MAGIC FORT (CBC Kids, 13×11 – Spring 2021), a welcoming enchanted pillow fort where CBC Kids’ host Gary the Unicorn plays with his friends.


CBC’s Fall 2020 broadcast and streaming schedule on CBC TV and CBC Gem is as follows:

(For Newfoundland and Labrador, please add one half-hour for all times)

7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
8 PM – THE SOUNDS *New Drama Series*
9 PM – PURE *Season 2*

7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
9 PM – BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW *Season 5 – Finale Season*
9:30 PM – CATASTROPHE *Seasons 3 and 4*/ HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST

7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
8 PM – WAR OF THE WORLDS *Exclusive Canadian Premiere*
9 PM – TRICKSTER *New Drama Series*

7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*
9 PM – DRAGONS’ DEN *Season 15*

8 PM – MARKETPLACE *Season 48*
8:30 PM – YOU CAN’T ASK THAT *Season 2* / ORANGEVILLE PREP *New Factual Series*

Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES *Season 6*

Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES *Season 6*
9 PM – ENSLAVED *New Documentary Series*


16 thoughts on “CBC announces new and returning series in 2020-21 programming slate”

  1. We look forward to the season 14 Murdoch Mysteries, this is our family’s favorite show! It’s nice to see photos of a delightful talented couple of Yannick Bisson and Helen Joy. We consider them the best pair of modern cinema!

    1. Yes! And it would be great to see William and Julia doing what they do best–solving mysteries–with no marital problems in the new season. Any chance we’ll see Chantal Craig in a meaty role?

      1. Probably Yannick Bisson’s wife does not need to play any role in this show. The scene with her participation is not very good.

  2. What a dreadful lot of shows CBC has. They have to waste money on American shows like ENSLAVED or American oriented shows like ORANGEVILLE PREP. Just like FORTUNATE SON, last year, and the contiunual American loving The National, all the CBC cares about is spending taxpayer money to sell Canadians on the American Dream. Time to shut down this American propaganda machine and create a real Canadian TV channel.

      1. Sorry not to get back sooner, but I wanted to make sure I could give a good argument.
        I would point to it’s mandate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Broadcasting_Corporation#Mandate), paraphrased below::
        – be predominantly and distinctively Canadian
        – reflect Canada and its regions…(and) contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression,
        – be in English and in French
        – contribute to shared national consciousness and identity

        I used to watch The National, but abandoned it a year ago for the following reasons:
        – They put style over substance. When Mansbridge retired and they revamped it, the first segment was a peice by Adrienne Arsenault that started with a sepia coloured fade=-in and ended with a sepia fade out. I don’t remember the content of it. But the over produced swegment stuck out.
        – Then they decided to put 4 anchors in the spot of one. Why? It made it so disjointed.
        – The talk among them was so gossipy and light weight.
        – These people are journalists that go from story to story. I don’t want their opinion. They know nothing about the subject. That is why people like Barbara Frum and her colleagues would interview experts in their field, so that Canadians could understand the subject.
        – It seemed that at least 60% of the news was ALL about the Americans. They would have endless ‘documentaries’ from Paul Hunter about American problems. They NEVER were even tangentially related to Canada.
        – The National was also just full of gossipy, salacious, rumours about Donald Trump, agaion not relating back to Canada.
        – They didn’t have time for international coverage because of the above
        – They complain about budget cuts but they spend all their money on American news

        The most important aspect of the CBC should be it’s news coverage, since it is paid for by tax payers and therefore should not be subject to commercial pressures. However the CBC decided to increase commercial time on every news program it has (I remember when Marketplace wouldn’t have dreamed of showing commercials). There is now NO difference between the over commercialized CBC national news and a private company like CTV having commercials. In fact I trust the CBC much less now, because they are always pushing the commecials
        on the taxpayers who pay for them. At least with Lisa Laflamme I get a trusted newsreader and fewer commercials than with CBC it seems.
        They have spent huges amounts of money on their website (which is incredibly disorganized and only geared toward big cities (MyLocal ALWAYS gives me news from a town 2 hours away from me. Let me decide where I am, not some idiotic algorithm). So much for bringing regions together. This Gem service only allows viewers to see one season of a show. If you want to see subsequent seasons you MUST signup so that they can track you. Why should I have to give up ANY personal information, for a service MY TAX MONEY has paid for? I find this absolutely outrageous. What happens when (and unfortunately, it will probably be when, not if) their servers get hacked and all that perrsonal information gets released? There will be all kinds of apologies and ‘we must do better’, but there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for having this information to begin with.

        The entertainment programs, on the other hand have been geared toward trying to sell to other markets. I’ve alredy mentioned Fortunate Son. I think there was a comment on TV-Eh a few months agao that said locations printed on the screen were ‘Seatle’ and ‘Somewhere in British Columbia, Canada’ not Vancouver. Obviously nade for the Americans, but pasoid for by Canadians. That stopped me from looking at it. Now they have Enslaved. I wonder if there will be ANY Canadian content. They vast majority of it will be American. Has there ever been a documentary made about Africville? Why not put your money into a 3 hour documentary about the incredibly interesting history of African Nova Scotia than subsidizing a foreigner’s show? I enjoy Frankie Drake, but except for a few passing mentions of Canada, it could be anywhere. Coroner is well made, but again, could be anywhere. I get REALLY tired of Canadian shows not wanting to make it too Canadian so that it can be sold overseas. (I complained to APTN about their EXCELLENT show Tribal. It is based in Calgary, but it was written to appeal to the Americans with references to the Department of Federal Justice and talking about ‘Indians’ all the time. I hope next season they will tone it down). Make more Canadian stories, like Saving Grace. Now that was well made. No one else is going to film Canadian writing. That is the job of the taxpayer funded national broadcaster. But the CBC doesn’t care. They go after the highly commercial, resalable shows.

        They need to get back to telling ONLY Canadian stories and primarily news that is important and related to Canadians.

        Thank you.

        PS Thank you for this great Canadian TV website! You are the internet version of what the CBC should be in the broadcasting world!

        1. Thanks for your feedback and your thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to outline your opinion and your support of the website! -Greg

          1. Jayme
            Well, why is that? Are the creators not making shows about interesting Canadian stories? I’ve seen lots of shows from around the world, and I’ve found them really entertaining, even though, for example, I’ve never lived through a Scandinavian noir existence! Stay safe!

        2. For a Canadian-produced historical drama miniseries that shows the experiences of enslaved Africans who eventually end up living free in Nova Scotia, I recommend “The Book of Negroes” (also known as “Someone Knows My Name” because the US and UK broadcasters didn’t like the period-appropriate title that references the real Schindler’s-List-like document that the series was based on…)

          “Frontier” had next to nothing to do with African Canadians (aside from one minor character in a later season), but I found it’s narrative approach of finally showing the colonization partially from a Native and/or female perspective to be very refreshing. As a European, I thought it was quite well-deserved to finally have an “Age of Sail” historical adventure show where pretty much every male English or US-American character is a villain. (They’re all part of the British West India Company’s private army, or other opportunistic fur traders trying to muscle into that company’s “territory” – so all people who’re just there to get rich or who volunteered to kill people so their employers can get rich. There’s one young male white character who’s supposed to be the audience-indentification character, like the Doctor’s companion on Doctor Who – but he’s Irish and was himself oppressed back in Britain. The only other major white male character who’s not greedy to a sociopathic degree, ruthlessly murderous and/or abusive to women is Scotish.) The series has an awesome title sequence – the subversive transition from basic standard “Master and Comander” type historial adventure intro to Native war chant gives me chills every time. Sadly, the series was cancelled on something of a cliffhanger.

          I, too, would be interested in watching shows that are more distinctly Canadian and which honestly embrace their Canadian setting. I watch a lot of scifi and fantasy, and mostly Canadian productions in that genre (because they’re generally MUCH better than most of what Hollywood has to offer in this genre, and I also really prefer the less self-absorbed, propagandistic, simplistic and right-wing style of Canadian writing when it comes to utopian/dystopian writing. No US show would ever have the guts to show a REALISTIC apocalyptic/dystopian scenario like in Incorporated – it’s always nonsense like zombies or alien invasions in US shows, which allows the protagonists to kill enemies without remorse but inspires no actual thought in the audience like dystopian scifi should. Though there are a few rare good US shows, like Westworld, The Handmaid’s Tale or the new Star Trek shows.)
          I don’t just mean completely fantastic stuff like the Stargate franchise or Killjoys, but almost-down-to-Earth stuff for example Travelers or the old series ReGenesis are some of my favorite scifi shows. But I always roll my eyes when these productions pretend that they’re actually set in the US, when it’s very, very obvious they’ve been filmed in Canada. Like with Wynonna Earp being supposedly set south of the border in a formerly Wild West area, but the show has been filming in a perpetual deep snow for 2 seasons straight, with the actresses looking terribly underdressed for the weather all the time, to the point that I keep wondering how Americans keep their badly insulated houses so ridiculously hot during the winter. Or Supernatural and its Canadian forests in the supposed Southern or Mid-Western US. Or Travelers being set in some Northern US city to justify there being an FBI character. (Wven if the social attitudes of the main characters are very obviously ‘un-American’, what with the show presenting what’s essentially extreme Communism as an unpleasant but necessary social adaptation to a resource-scarce post-apocalyptic future and the characters that were raised in this culture being kind and ethical people who live and breathe Spock’s old adage “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” – compared to the usual “rugged individualist” “survival of the fittest” heroes who only care about their own family in US post-apocalyptic fiction.) And Incorporated was set in what’s supposed to be Milwaukee, if I remember correctly. (Granted, that show is specifically a critique of American culture, so it would probably not have worked if set in Canada.) Or cryptozoology fantasy shows like Sanctuary (which was delightfully Canadian in its “Sanctuary for All” approach instead of “everything that’s Other and strange is a monster and dangerous and needs to be killed/captured” that’s the usual approach of US shows with a similar genre – and even the British Torchwood was predominantly hostile and defensive towards aliens and the strange; sadly Supernatural is very much written to appeal to US audiences in this regard…) being set in a weirdly unspecified – both in name and in terms of a complete lack of cultural signs – North American city.

          I suppose the problem is that most US audiences would simply refuse to watch anything that’s not set in their own country. Again with the self-absorbed “greatest country in the world” arrogance.

  3. I’m looking forward to SOUNDS and LADY DICKS!
    I always watch Feud, Baroness and Working Moms and of course, Coronation St.

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