CBC Television announced its 2003/2004 fall season.
CBC Television today announced its 2003/2004 fall season of ‘must-see’ Canadian television, including the return of popular hits Da Vinci’s Inquest, An American in Canada, the fifth estate, Royal Canadian Air Farce, CBC News: Disclosure, The Red Green Show, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, Life and Times, the prime-time commercial free performing arts showcase Opening Night, CBC News: The National and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a prequel to the blockbuster mini-series Trudeau and the return of Ken Finkleman’s smash-hit series The Newsroom, as well as the introduction of such ‘instant classics’ as the epic mini-series Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion and Third World, the provocative legal drama Wonderland, the forensic docudrama 72 Hours and the sharp satire of The Rick Mercer Show.
“Canadians have been enthusiastic in their support of CBC Television, their national public television broadcaster for more than half a century,” said Harold Redekopp, executive vice-president, CBC Television. “They trust CBC to bring them Canadian television that is distinctive, relevant and responsive, that speaks to their needs and concerns in a direct and immediate way and reflects the Canadian experience from coast to coast to coast.”
“This season, Canadians will see an astonishing range of outstanding programs in every genre from every region across the country,” said Slawko Klymkiw, executive director, Network Programming, CBC Television. “Whether it’s drama, comedy, news and current affairs, sports, performing arts, sensational specials or exceptional children’s programming, it’s high-quality home-grown television that only CBC can provide.”
Among the highlights of CBC Television’s new season are:
A new 13-episode variety series based around the innovative Cirque du Soleil; a live two-hour special, Shania Twain: Up!, starring Canada’s favourite country superstar; an in-depth look at the art of laughter in the star-studded documentary Comedy Gold; and the powerful dramas Cambridge Spies, Prime Suspect 6 with Helen Mirren and a new interpretation of Dangerous Liaisons starring Catherine Deneuve and Rupert Everett;
- An insider’s view of the intrigues at Parliament Hill in the dramatic series Political Animals; a warm-hearted look at an Italian family in Ciao Bella; plus Jinnah on Crime: White Knight, Black Widow and Distant Drumming: a North of 60 Mystery and the Second World War dramas Il Duce Canadese and The Gathering Storm;
- A whole host of music, variety and comedy specials featuring Paul Brandt, Painting Daisies, Tonya Lee Williams, Sharon, Lois & Bram, Ron James, Seán Cullen and Mary Walsh as Marg Delahunty;
- Another exciting season of the commercial-free prime-time arts and performance program Opening Night – starting with a stunning production of Timothy Findley’s Elizabeth Rex – and the return of Mary Walsh: Open Book and the late-night progressive series ZeD;
- The best in Canadian documentaries and news and current affairs programming, including the return of Witness, CBC News: Canada Now, CBC News: Sunday, the cross-media CBC News: Big Picture collaborations with CBC Radio and CBC.ca and the debut of CBC Newsworld’s The Passionate Eye on CBC Television;
- Powerhouse action from the world of Canadian sports with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, CFL on CBC, CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada, Championship Curling, The 2003 Pan Am Games, the IAFF World Championships in Athletics, the Calgary Stampede, the return of CBC Sports Saturday and the Grey Cup Championship as well as more curling and football matchups in prime time;
- The finest in children’s and youth programs with daytime program blocks specially set for pre-schoolers, elementary school kids, and teens – including the return of CBC’s multi-platform quiz show Smart Ask!
“From hard-hitting true-life drama to cutting-edge comedy, from insightful documentaries and news and current affairs programming to the best in Canadian amateur and professional sports,” added Klymkiw, “CBC Television is bringing Canadians the kind of high-quality high-impact Canadian television that they can be proud to call Canada’s Own.”
Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion
An epic two-part mini-series dramatizes a compelling piece of Canadian history. It’s the story of how a tragic incident during the First World War became a living metaphor for worldwide conflict, and how Halifax arose from ashes after unimaginable devastation.
Fact: The majority of crimes are solved within 72 hours of being committed.
Fact: The final 72 hours of a victim’s life holds the key to the murderer’s identity.
Put these facts together and you have the premise for a fascinating new 20-episode half-hour series that delves into the background of crimes based on Canadian police records. Utilizing documentary- style dramatic recreations, this series takes viewers into the world of forensic science, and the amazing technologies and investigative techniques applied to crime solving.
Cases will all come from Canadian police records: a teenaged couple in Quebec’s Eastern Townships out on a date, who are found in the snow, shot and beaten to death; a Sikh baker from Toronto who disappears after a terrible fight with his wife, his charred body found two weeks later; a mother at home with her sick son in a British Columbia farming community who is raped and shot. All cases without eyewitnesses.
The pressure is on for crime busters to come up with an answer in a matter of hours. The results of their efforts will take audiences on a journey into the many unknown secrets of crime detection.
72 Hours is a co-production between Kensington Communications and Creative Anarchy. Executive producers are Robert Lang and Robert Sandler. Series producer is Richard Meech and creative producer is Sophie Arthaud. 72 Hours is produced in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canal D and The Learning Channel.
The Rick Mercer Show
Canada’s favourite boat-rocker returns to weekly television with his unique comedic spin on news and current affairs. Fresh from his Gemini-winning stints on This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Made in Canada, Rick Mercer travels from coast to coast to coast to do his own cross-country check-up, diagnosis and prescription. The Rick Mercer Show treats Canada as a spectator sport and Mercer provides the colour commentary.
Taped before a live audience every Friday night at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre in Toronto, this 30-minute show also features comedy sketches, Mercer’s celebrated street rants, surprise appearances by high-profile politicians and guest stars, and an outrageously entertaining CBC Web site that’s a show in itself. The Rick Mercer Show promises to be the fastest and funniest half-hour in television.
Cirque du Soleil: A Variety Series
A sandbox transforms into a construction site. A high wire shimmers across a hotel lobby. Icarian aliens go slumming at a cosmic discotheque.
Get ready to play games of fear, games of romance, games of chance – even extraterrestrial games – with some truly unforgettable characters as the legendary Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil comes to CBC Television, taking viewers into a world of dreaming and game-playing where they will encounter everything from romance to childhood and from the cosmic to escapism. It’s all done through the magic that has made Cirque du Soleil an international sensation.
Among the vast selection of acts in this series will be a troupe from the Russian Circus known as Khayalahov, who perform from the highest perch ever used in a circus act; the Navas family, performing a high-wire act 10 metres above the ground without the support of any safety features; a human torch who stays lit longer than any other performer of his kind; Joseph Dominick, who performs on the 50-foot wheel of death; and the Fan Yang Family who will amaze with their bubble act – they hold the Guinness record with a 156-foot bubble. Juggler Michael Moschen will display his head-spinning talent, and wild inventor Michel Lauziere performs a water-fun symphony and drum concerto with his head. That’s just the beginning of the extraordinary and very special circus talent showcased in this series.
With the addition of beautiful lighting, music and striking costumes enhancing the performances, audiences can truly expect the unexpected in this dazzling new 13-week series from Cirque de Soleil, with resounding echoes of Alegria, Varekai, Mystere, 0, and more of their international hits.