Everything about Little Mosque on the Prairie, eh?

Zaib Shaikh says farewell to Little Mosque on the Prairie

After six seasons — rare longevity in Canadian television — CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie ends tonight with the “Best of Times” episode.

“The show came into a landscape where nothing of its kind existed, and leaves the landscape having changed it,” said star Zaib Shaikh in a recent TV, eh? interview. “Now it’s up to another show, or a different take on this conversation, but the impact is still clearly being felt on a positive side.”

“The forces of negativity and fear still exist,” he added. “It’s amazing the show got in six seasons in that climate on a global level, where it stands out as a positive in the conversation between Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Shaikh points out the show’s purpose “was never to be a message. Its purpose was to have Muslims as characters — ‘look they’re people too.'”

Growing up Muslim in Toronto, he hadn’t seen a character that reflected his own experience before taking on the role of Amaar, the Toronto imam who relocated to Saskatchewan.

“That fish out of water perspective really worked well for the show on a comedic and entertaining level,” he said. “Now he leaves the show a proud member of the community, married into it. He’s not the pompous prick he was coming into it.”

Even with a primary goal to entertain, Shaikh believes the show couldn’t have launched anywhere but on CBC, especially at a time when 9/11 was fresh in the audience’s memory. He believes in a way that the Canadian show was able to begin a conversation that couldn’t happen in the US while they were still in trauma from those events.

“In Canada our supposed tolerance and congeniality led to the idea it could get done here,” he said, saying “that speaks to the country’s values.” Creator Zarqa Nawaz “had a hope — maybe it was a naïve hope” that the show would work, and CBC agreed.

“As a business model it’s a risky take on entertaining, on getting eyeballs,” Shaikh said before pointing out it debuted to 2.1 million people in 2007.

He calls this sixth and final season “a gift to our fans,” and has himself reaped the benefits of the high-profile role, having just filmed Midnight’s Children with Deepa Mehta and Salman Rushdie. “I don’t think I would have gotten that kind of experience if I wasn’t on a show like Little Mosque.”

Listen to the entire Zaib Shaikh interview, including his thoughts on the necessity of supporting the Canadian TV industry, here.


New tonight: Mr. D, Little Mosque on the Prairie, The Big Decision, Canada’s Got Talent

Mr. D, CBC – “Charity Day” (Season finale)
Gerry uses a boxing match at the school’s annual Charity Day to settle his competition with Mr. Dwyer for the title of Mr. D once and for all.

Little Mosque on the Prairie, CBC – “Best of Times” (Series finale)
In the series finale, the new Mosque opens with a surprising ceremony.

The Big Decision, CBC – “Tashodi + Hardy Buoys” (Season finale)
Hardy Buoys, a family-own fish processing plant in Port Hardy, BC, and Tashodi, an eco-friendly bath and body care company based in Toronto, both look to Arlene Dickinson to help save them.

Canada’s Got Talent, Citytv – “Semifinal Round One – Performance Show
In the first round of semifinals, seven acts take the stage in hopes of securing enough votes to propel them into the final round. This week’s performers include: singer Christopher Charles, dance group Freshh, hip-hop trio H.I.X., opera singer Julie Lafontaine, fire poi artist Marissa Puff, rock band Pulp City Inn and martial arts group Wushu by Storm.
“Semifinal Round One – Results Show”
In the first live results show, two additional semifinalists from the YouTube ‘Last Chance Auditions’ will be revealed. Then, host Dina Pugliese will announce which acts are advancing to the finals.


Little Mosque says goodbye

From John Doyle of the Globe and Mail:

  • Goodbye, Little Mosque: Nice idea, not so funny
    Little Mosque on the Prairie, which ends its run forever tonight (CBC, 8 p.m.) has been called many things. It has been called, in e-mails to me, “an act of social engineering.” It’s been called “groundbreaking,” lighthearted” and “a chuckler.” Unfortunately the most apt description of Little Mosque in recent years is “dreary.” Read more.

From Jeff Dedekker of Postmedia News:

From CBC:

  • Little Mosque says goodbye
    CBC’s ground-breaking show Little Mosque on the Prairie draws to a close Monday night, remaining true to the “ordinary folks” portrayal of Muslims it has practised from the outset. Read more.

From Muhammad Ayish of TheNational.ae:

  • Lights go dark on ‘Mosque’, but its message still inspires
    When the Canadian sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie goes off the air after six seasons today, it will be remembered not only as one of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s top-rated shows, but also as a reminder of how religious and cultural diversity sustains western-Muslim co-existence. Read more.

Next week is season finale week for CBC

From a media release:

Season Finale Week on CBC Television  March 29, 2012

After debuting to record high audiences this winter season, CBC Television’s winter lineup wraps up next week with several finale episodes.On Monday, it is the season finale of CBC-TV’s funny and fresh new comedy MR. D. The show attracted 1.23 million viewers for its season premiere, making MR. D the most-watched show on a Canadian network in the timeslot. DRAGONS’ DEN, Canada’s top-rated entertainment program, reached 2 in 5 Canadians over the course of this season. Its finale airs on Wednesday, followed by REPUBLIC OF DOYLE, which had its best season yet, with more than 1.3 million viewers for the season premiere. And on Friday, MARKETPLACE wraps up another strong season—it averaged 1.157 million viewers, a 31 per cent increase over last year—while the fifth estate caps a season that featured episodes that garnered the show’s largest audience numbers in more than a decade.

Continue reading Next week is season finale week for CBC


Little Mosque signs off on Monday

From a media release:


After six seasons of laughter, friendship – and international acclaim – LITTLE MOSQUE ON THE PRAIRIE comes to an end Monday, April 2 at 8:30 p.m. (9 NT) on CBC Television. In the final episode, Amaar prepares for the grand opening of the town of Mercy’s new Mosque, while trying to get Baber to end his boycott.  Charles returns to Mercy with a plan to win Ann. Sarah reaffirms her Muslim faith. Are new beginnings on the horizon? What is in store for the people and the town of Mercy? 

LITTLE MOSQUE ON THE PRAIRIE is the internationally acclaimed comedy about Muslims and Christians attempting to live in harmony with one another in the small town of Mercy, Saskatchewan. The series premiered in January 2007 with record breaking audience numbers with a first season average of 1,253,000 viewers, and has since been seen in over 90 countries.  It has been inducted into the Museums of Radio and Television Science in both New York and Los Angeles; and featured in news coverage in outlets including the BBC, NPR, CNN and the New York Times.