The Shows – CBC

Jonathan Cross's Canada

Jonathan Cross’s Canada

(6 x 30 min.)

CBC, Fridays 7:30-8 pm

the story: An unorthodox comedy series starring Jonathan Torrens as an obnoxious investigative journalist who sets off across the country in a customized RV in search of small-town Canada. His mission is to profile ordinary Canadians doing ordinary things, but he finds it hard to resist basking in his own perfection, voice and talents.

the cast: Jonathan Torrens (Jonovision), Daniela Olivieri, Gary Pearson, Jayne Eastwood, C. David Johnson, Jack Duffy and Dan Redican.

the verdict: Another attempt at home-grown Canuck comedy, but it could present a good opportunity to showcase some of Canada’s lesser-known attractions in a light-hearted way – as long as Torrens doesn’t hog the camera too much.

the backing: Produced by Lynn Harvey, Richard Mortimer and Jonathan Torrens (all co-producers of Jonovision)

The Sean Cullen Show

(6 x 60 min.)

CBC, Fridays 8-9 pm

the story: Called ‘a sleep-deprived Steve Martin’ by Time magazine, Canada’s own Sean Cullen brings his own brand of insanity to the screens in this six-part weekly comedy series. The show, which includes music and guest stars, is to be taped this summer before a live audience at the CBC in Toronto.

the cast: Sean Cullen (Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Ha!ifax Comedy Festival, Just For Laughs)

the verdict: If Cullen’s well-established reputation as a comedian, actor and writer is anything to go by, this promises to be a very entertaining show, full of surprises. It’s a shame it only has six episodes to make its mark.

the backing: Produced by Insight Productions’ John Brunton (Ready or Not), Sean Cullen, David Kitching and Lorne Perlmutter.

An American in Canada

(30 min.)

CBC, Fridays – time TBA

the story: A ‘dramedy’ that looks at our quirky Canadian ways through the eyes of an American. Loosely based on the experiences of Calgary comedian Jebb Fink, it tells the story of the former star of Phoenix’s number-one morning show who finds himself in the demeaning position of hosting Wake Up Calgary, the number-three morning show in a three-station market.

the cast: Stars Rick Roberts (Traders, L.A. Doctors)

the verdict: Once again we see Canadians desperately searching to be validated by Americans in what seems like a rather formulaic show. However, it does provide an entertaining tongue-in-cheek view from afar, looking at such Canadianisms as politeness and cleanliness, while simultaneously taking jabs at the stereotypical obnoxious American. A single-episode pilot which aired on CBC last season to gauge interest resulted in a ‘resoundingly enthusiastic response’ from voting viewers across the country.

the backing: Produced by Yankee Doodle Productions through S&S Productions (The Red Green Show, History Bites) in association with CBC TV. Created by Howard Busgang and Jebb Fink, written by Howard Busgang, produced by Sari Friedland and directed by Shawn Alex Thompson. Executive producers are Howard Busgang and David Smith.

ZeD

(60 min.)

CBC, Weeknights 11:25 pm – 12:25 am

the story: A ‘cutting-edge’ showcase for wannabe filmmakers, musicians, writers, dancers and artists to display their talents. Viewers are invited to participate by logging on to zed.cbc.ca to upload their personal creations, and to post feedback that may end up in the broadcast. The ZeD Web site will operate 24 hours a day, acting as a discussion board and a launchpad for new ideas. Browsers can also watch the assembly of each episode and can contribute by voting on other users’ submissions.

the cast: Varied

the verdict: Last season’s successful six-week on-air and online pilot proved the demand is there for this type of show. As a nightly it will no doubt build a small niche following comprising a combination of insomniac Web enthusiasts and young wannabes hoping to be discovered.

the backing: Executive producer is McLean Mashingaidze-Greaves (CBC-TV, Innovation Zone).

Ace Lightning

(26 x 30 min.)

CBC, day/time TBA

the story: For the younger viewers, this live action/CGI animated show features a 13-year-old boy who becomes a hero in a video game. While Mark Hollander plays his favourite game, a lightning bolt strikes his house causing electricity to surge into the computer and bring the game’s characters to life. The game’s hero, Ace Lightning, enlists Mark to help him defeat the evil Lord Fear and his gang, and in true video-game style, ultimately save the world.

the cast: Starring Canadian Michael Riley (Powerplay) as Ace Lightning and Brit Tom Wansey (Tilly Trotter) as Mark.

the verdict: How can it fail? With just about every kid in the playground these days suffering from an incurable video-game addiction, this one is bound to be a hit, so long as the acting and writing are up to par.

the backing: An AAC Kids/BBC co-production filmed in Toronto and slated to be aired in Canada and the U.K. simultaneously. Produced by Jim Corston (Noddy, The Longhouse Tales). CGI animation executive produced by Pete Denomme (Squawk Box).