CBC Season Preview 2012-2013 in Vancouver: George Stroumboulopoulos, Rick Mercer, and more
In spite of a hefty funding reduction of $115-million over three years, as always, the show must go on.
Canadian stars descended upon CBC Vancouver to gather at the local launch of the national broadcaster's 2012-2013 broadcast season. The season was unveiled on May 10 with launch events held across the country, including Vancouver (on May 14).
Unfortunately, due to the cuts, 175 hours of original Canadian programming will be lost, resulting in more repeats.
Two series, Michael Tuesday and Thursday and Insecurity, have been cancelled. According to reports, the CBC is looking at ways to bring back Battle of the Blades and Steven and Chris.
In Vancouver, it was up to Canada's ever-dependable boyfriend (talk show host George Stroumboulopoulos, of course) to introduce the bevy of Canadian celebrities that had gathered at the Hamilton Street premises. Here's a rundown of just some of the highlights.
First up, Stroumboulopoulos introduced stars, including the likes of Pascale Hutton, Allan Hawco, and David Suzuki, of returning series: Arctic Air, Heartland, Republic of Doyle, Dragon's Den, and The Nature of Things. Stroumboulopoulos also welcomed the newest dragon to the den, personal finance author David Chilton (The Wealthy Barber).
Other returning series include Mr. D, Marketplace (celebrating its 40th anniversary), and many more.
(Oh, good news for Stroumboulopoulos fans: the show will get an early airing at 7 p.m. on weeknights starting in September, in addition to its usual 11:30 p.m. slot).
One of the four new series at the CBC is the Victorian-era detective series Murdoch Mysteries, starring Yannick Bisson. The series was dropped by CityTV but picked up by the CBC.
Stroumboulopoulos asked Bisson how he felt about the series coming to CBC.
"I kinda feel like the girlfriend that got dumped but married the surgeon," the drop-dead gorgeous Bisson quipped. "It's really great. We all really feel like we're coming home….I started my career here almost 30 years ago."
Another new series is Cracked, which follows a detective suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (David Sutcliffe) and a psychiatrist (Stefanie von Pfetten) on a newly formed Psych Crimes Unit.
A third new series is Over the Rainbow, an eight-week series that will follow the search for a new musical theatre performer to star as Dorothy in an upcoming stage adaptation of The Wizard of Oz in Toronto. Ten Dorothys (not to be confused, of course, with the infamous 30 Helens from Kids in the Hall) will compete for the role, with the winner chosen by viewers.
Here's host Daryn Jones talking about the show, and the need to cast a Toto too.
The fourth new show is Titanic: Blood and Steel. While most dramas about the Titanic focus on the sinking of the famous ship, this eight-part period drama about the creation and building of the Titanic stars Neve Campbell, Kevin Zegers, Chris Noth, and Derek Jacobi.
When it comes to comedy, 22 Minutes will be celebrating its 20th anniversary while Just for Laughs will be celebrating its 30th. Rick Mercer of The Rick Mercer Report (now in its tenth year) talked about the role the CBC plays in Canadian comedy.
More coverage from the CBC Season Preview from a number of Georgia Straight reporters is still to come so stay tuned.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.