With production underway in and around Toronto and Hamilton, CBC and Pier 21 Films are confirming casting for new, original comedy series RUN THE BURBS, from award-winning comedian, writer, and actor Andrew Phung and his best friend and collaborator filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon).
Premiering on CBC and CBC Gem in Winter 2022, Phung executive produces, writes, and stars in the series as a stay-at-home dad â€“ Andrew Pham â€“ living and loving with his entrepreneurial, executive wife and two kids. The Phams are a young, bold Vietnamese-South Asian-Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest, while changing the way we think about contemporary family values and life in the burbs.
â€œWe set out to make a show that goes big. To showcase a family that truly supports one another while going all out every week. It’s a bit of a throwback to classic family sitcoms in the burbs, but with a family that you’ve never seen reflected on television before,” comments Townend.
â€œWe are so hyped and proud of this incredible group of performers that have joined us on this journey. We are introducing Canada to some amazingly talented new faces they may not have met before – including the amazing Rakhee Morzaria – alongside comedy rockstars like Ali Hassan, Aurora Brown, and Candy Palmater – they are all going to blow audiences away and take on the burbs like no one has before. Weâ€™re honoured to have this opportunity and it’s been our absolute pleasure working with CBC, Pier 21 Films, and Endeavor Content as we bring Run the Burbs to life,â€ adds Phung.
Pier 21 Films Executive Producer Laszlo Barna adds, â€œWe are so fortunate to be working with such a talented cast led by our star and co-creator Andrew Phung. We canâ€™t wait for the world to join us in the burbs and meet the Phams and their unforgettable friends and neighbours.â€
â€œWe are so excited to watch Andrew’s deeply personal story about family come to life through this remarkable cast and creative team,â€ said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual and Sports, CBC. â€œRUN THE BURBS authentically reflects how Canadians are building new communities in suburbs across the country, and we can’t wait to share it with audiences this winter.”
A CBC original series, RUN THE BURBS is produced by Pier 21 Films. As announced earlier this year, Endeavor Content has picked up the international sales rights. Executive Producers are Laszlo Barna, Nicole Butler and Bill Lundy (for Pier 21 Films), Andrew Phung, Scott Townend, and Aleysa Young. Shebli Zarghami serves as Executive Producer and Showrunner. Jessica Daniel is producer. Co-Executive Producers are Matt Kippen and Wendy Litner. Nelu Handa is Consulting Producer. Season One directors include Aleysa Young, Peter Wellington, Joyce Wong, Melanie Orr, and Justin Wu.
Cameron Pictures, CBC, and NBCUniversal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group, confirm that production is underway on the sophomore season of the highly buzzed-about buddy-cop drama PRETTY HARD CASES. Filmed in and around Toronto, this season features 12 one-hour episodes and new faces joining the all-star cast.
Following the series’ critically acclaimed broadcast and streaming debut on CBC and CBC Gem this year, season two of season two of PRETTY HARD CASES is set to premiere in winter 2022.
Starring Meredith MacNeill (Baroness von Sketch Show) as the optimistic, over-achieving Detective Sam Wazowski, and Adrienne C. Moore (Orange Is The New Black) as the tough and unapologetic Detective Kelly Duff, PRETTY HARD CASES is a fun and honest portrayal of two radically different Guns and Gangs detectives in their early 40s. This season finds the pair in brand new territory, both at work and in their personal lives. As official partners for the first time, they have never been better at blending their different skills to get the job done. In the spirit of moving forward, they’re also trying to leave their baggage behind. Sam is now an empty nester with a new love life, while Kelly is forging fresh bonds with her estranged sisters. When they find themselves up against a new age gang that doesnâ€™t operate by the same old rules, Sam and Kelly are forced to put their lives on the line as they attempt the riskiest takedown of their careers.
Joining the cast is award-winning actress Sonja Smits (American Gods/Eleventh Hour) as Judy Wazowski, K.C. Collins (Clarice/The Strain) as Detective Len Grierson, and Ben Bass (Rookie Blue/Burden of Truth) as DS Brad Michaels.
Reprising their roles are Karen Robinson (Schitt’s Creek) as tough, sardonic, Unit Commander Edwina Shanks; Al Mukadam (Miss Sloan) as Detective Taai Nazeer, a paragon of non-toxic masculinity who doesn’t have a problem working with complicated women; Percy Hynes White (The Gifted) as Sam’s charming hustler son Elliot Wazowski; Katie Douglas (Ginny & Georgia) as Elliot’s streetwise girlfriend, Jackie Sullivan; and Daren A. Herbert (Kim’s Convenience) as Detective Nathan Greene, Kelly’s on-again-off-again friend with benefits.
PRETTY HARD CASES 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).
A CBC original series, PRETTY HARD CASES is produced by Cameron Pictures in association with CBC and NBCUniversal International Studios. The series is created by Sherry White and Tassie Cameron, who also serve as Co-Showrunners. Sherry White, Tassie Cameron, Amy Cameron and Alex Patrick are Executive Producers. Wanda Chaffey is Producer and Caledonia Brown is Associate Producer. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports; Trish Williams is Executive Director, Scripted Content; and Sarah Adams is Director of Current Production, Drama. Kelsey Balance is SVP, Scripted Programming for NBCUniversal International Studios. NBCUniversal Global Distribution will distribute the series.
Writers include Sherry White, Jillian Locke, Tassie Cameron, Keavy Lynch, Carina Samuels, Chris Roberts, Seneca Aaron. Directors are Jordan Canning, Sherry White, Samir Rehem, Mars Horodyski, Cory Bowles, Grant Harvey, Madison Thomas, Weyni Mengesha, John Stead, John Fawcett, Gail Harvey, and Winnifred Jong.
Kimâ€™s Convenience’s Andrew Phung and Amanda Brugel, Schittâ€™s Creek‘s Daniel Levy and Emily Hampshire, Cardinal‘s Shawn Doyle and Coroner‘s Tamara Podemskiwere among those who captured trophies during Night 3 of 2021 Canadian Screen Awards Virtual Presentations. The late Christopher Plummer was awarded a trophy for his work on Departure.
Wednesdayâ€™s online ceremony celebrated Creative Arts and Performance, narrated by broadcaster Tyrone Edwards.
Here are the winners in Wednesdayâ€™s key categories:
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Andrew Phung, Kim’s Convenience
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Emily Hampshire, Schitt’s Creek
Best Guest Performance, Comedy Amanda Brugel, Kim’s Convenience
Best Performance, Sketch Comedy (Individual or Ensemble) Baroness Von Sketch Show
Best Achievement in Hair Annastasia Cucullo and Ana Sorys, Schitt’s Creek
Best Achievement in Make-Up Steve Newburn, Emily O’Quinn Code, Kayla Dobilas, Trina Brink, Trickster
Best Costume Design Debra Hanson, Schitt’s Creek
Best Writing, Variety or Sketch Comedy Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, Jennifer Whalen, Jennifer Goodhue, Monica Heisey, Allison Hogg, Adam Christie, Becky Johnson, Nelu Handa, Paloma NuÃ±ez, Baroness Von Sketch Show
Best Writing, Comedy Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
Best Writing, Drama Series Joseph Kay, Transplant
Best Writing, TV Movie Barbara Kymlicka, Glass Houses
Best TV Movie Christmas Jars
Best Lead Performance, TV Movie Kim Shaw, The Lead
Best Guest Performance, Drama Series Shawn Doyle, Cardinal: Until the Night
Best Supporting Actress, Drama Tamara Podemski, Coroner
Best Supporting Actor, Drama Christopher Plummer, Departure
Sherry White and Meredith MacNeill are no strangers to CBC. White’s most recent project for the network was as director, executive producer and writer for Little Dog. MacNeill, meanwhile, has just come off five seasons as co-creator, writer, producer and star of Baroness Von Sketch Show. Now the two have paired for one of the most entertaining new series on the network, Pretty Hard Cases.
Debuting Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBC, MacNeill stars as Sam Waszowski, a guns and gangs detectiveâ€”and single momâ€”who finds herself teamed with drug squad detective Kelly Duff, played by Adrienne C. Moore (Orange Is the New Black). Together, the pair are trying to take down a neighbourhood gang dealing drugs and weapons. Co-created by White and Tassie Cameronâ€”who previously worked together on Rookie Blueâ€”Pretty Hard Cases is notable not only for its tone but its focus: telling the stories of two women in their 40s.
We spoke to Sherry White and Meredith MacNeill about the first season of Pretty Hard Cases.
Sherry, can you give me the background on how the show came about? Did you and Tassie Cameron keep in touch over the years and say ‘Let’s try and find something together’? Sherry White: Tassie and I worked on Rookie Blue together and I was on that from the first season until the end. We got really close during the making of that. We moved on to do other things and there was a couple of times when people approached me with, ‘Could I take on some young writer’s cop show and try and help elevate it.’ Somebody came to Tassie and said it, and I’m like, ‘If there’s a demand for this, why don’t we do this ourselves?’ and really reflect more where we are now in our career. Rookie Blue is more about the early days of these characters and their careers.
This show is more about women who are in their 40s, who had given it all to their career and are finding themselves a little wanting for a full life. They’ve sacrificed a lot of their own personal goals in order to have their career, which is totally where Tassie and I were. We wanted to reflect our friendship and we wanted to reflect where we were in our careers and that sort of, what next? How else do we get a full life? We also wanted to have fun. We wanted it to be more in this sort of Paul Feig kind of… the ways he can celebrate women and be really raw and honest and funny about whatever situation they’re in, and I think we accomplished that with the show.
Meredith, did Sherry or Tassie come forward and say, ‘Hey, listen, we’ve got this character for you.’ How did you end up playing the role of Sam? Meredith MacNeill: I was approached by Sherry and Tassie for the role, so I didn’t have to audition. When I was talking to Sherry about the role, I remember the absolute shock and pleasure and being completely thrilled.
How did you decide how you were going to play Sam? Did you have to learn how to rein her in a little bit? MM: I was really fortunate to have Sherry and Tassie, who knew my work from Baroness. Actually, there was a lot of freedom on the floor. When I got the part, we talked a lot about, in terms of the physicality and the part, and the part was really on the page. I didn’t have to deviate much from that. In terms of feeling free to do whatever I wanted to bring to it, Sherry and Tassie, I would say, they were my rein-ers. Sherry directed some episodes and because she knew my work so well and we had such a great trust I’d be like, ‘I’m going to do this.’ And she’s like, ‘Great. Do it.’ In terms of reining in my physicality, Baroness and Pretty Hard Cases are such different shows, so the way it used my physicality was a bit different.
Sherry, how tightly scripted is Pretty Hard Cases? SW: That was one of the major questions we had going into this because we knew we wanted them to find their way and all that stuff but as everyone knows, improv can get unwieldy and we didn’t want to have 65-minute episodes. We found a really good system where we mostly stuck to the text and certainly, for all the procedural stuff, there’s not a lot of improv room in that. You need just the facts, you need what that content was. In the more personal scenes, there was a lot more play and we would always allow for [Meredith] to, once we nailed it, just go. Just do something else if you wanted to play. I would say it was mostly not improvised, but definitely, enough to bring a special flavour that Meredith and Adrienne would bring themselves.
The relationship between Sam and her son is fascinating. Can you talk about how complicated this relationship is going to be as we see this first season roll out? MM: It’s going to be extremely complicated. Sam is desperate for attention and the love and respect of her son. I’m a single mom and my daughter’s only 10 and I’m starting to feel like she would rather be with her friends. So imagine that amplified. And then Percy [Hynes White] is incredible to play opposite of. We had good chemistry as well, so we were finding a lot about the relationship as it was going. One of Sam’s big storylines for the show is her relationship with her son. It gets pretty exciting.
SW: And again, because loneliness is a theme in this show, there is nothing more lonely than being a single mother about to be an empty nester.
MM: I was so grateful because it’s been my therapy because it’s going to happen to me. I used to call Sherry and sometimes I’d just start crying at the thought of it.
Sherry, what can we expect to see in Season 1? SW: The core of the series is Sam and Kelly building a friendship, finding a friendship despite their differences and relying on each other, and finding this common ground as they are working together. They’re dealing with the main neighbourhood gang. But then, through that, they have personal stories that develop and challenge their professional life and vice versa. It’s a lot of fun. I think every episode brings a lot of laughs and also it can get pretty sad sometimes.
Pretty Hard Cases airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.