The Shows – Global

Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil

(13 x 30 min.)

Global, Wednesdays 7-7:30 pm

the story: This ‘docu-soap’ provides an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the lives of members of the internationally famed Canadian circus.

the cast: Ranges from some of the show’s 500 artists to the technicians and admin staff who run the circus’ new touring show.

the verdict: Are there really enough circus fans out there to build a 13-episode documentary series around the back-stage antics? Apparently seven million people are expected to attend one of Cirque du Soleil’s international performances this year, so it clearly carries some significant weight on a global scale. But unless Canada is crawling with closet circus fans, this series looks unlikely to be a ratings-buster.

the backing: A co-production of Galafilm (Worst Witch, Tale of Teeka) and Creations Musca, this series will be promoted using a variety of media, with some print elements to back up a heavy focus on on-air advertising. Promotion is likely to get underway around mid-July.

Do Over

(30 min.)

Global/WB, Sundays 7:30-8 pm

the story: See That Was Then on ABC Fridays. Again a thirtysomething loser salesman is dissatisfied and is jettisoned back to his teen years. The hope is that this time around he can make things better for both himself and his dysfunctional family.

the cast: John Wise, Gigi Rice (The John Larroquette Show)

the verdict: See That Was Then on ABC Fridays. The only difference appears to be that this guy goes back to 14 instead of 16. Even worse! At least the other guy might get laid sometime soon. In both cases, it’s hard to figure out who the networks are speaking to. Are they after disillusioned 30-year-olds or teens?

the backing: Like the twin medical shows, people are just not going to watch the same show twice a week. One might survive, and That Was Then has a better shot at it. SB

Popstars

(15 x 30 min.)

Global, Sundays 7:30-8 pm

the story: ‘Surely not again?’ I hear you cry. But yes, Lone Eagle Entertainment is rolling out the third instalment of the hit reality series that first spawned the all-girl group Sugar Jones. In last season’s spin-off, Popstars: Boy Meets Girl we saw boys and girls come together to form the group Velvet Empire. This fall, in yet another intricate twist, we won’t be seeing young pimply wannabes straining their vocal chords in an effort to join the latest makeshift band, but in the hope of making it as a solo singing sensation. When will it all end? This series now faces some stiff competition from Fox’s new ‘search for a superstar’ show which debuted on June 11. American Idol, based on the U.K. series Pop Idol, follows the same formula as Popstars, except that the audience gets to vote for the winner.

the cast: Wannabe pop stars.

the verdict: Although I’m tempted to say this series can’t possibly survive a third re-hash, I fear that like its predecessors, this series is bound to be a hit. Why? As a member of the show’s target audience of teens to twentysomethings, I don’t mind confessing that I found the last series truly addictive. I didn’t plan on becoming a regular viewer, but after casually switching on to check out how bad the first episode was, I found myself ashamedly compelled to tune in again week after week, if for no other reason than a twisted desire to see who would be next in line to have their hopes and dreams dashed to pieces. No doubt I, along with thousands of others, will find myself in the same situation this fall.

the backing: Executive producer Michael Geddes and the show’s host of sponsors must be fairly confident of another success story here. However, Global will be pulling out the stops to promote this show through extensive multi-media, starting in mid-July.

Our Canada

(30 docs of varied lengths)

Global, various times/days

To show its commitment to regional filmmakers, Global will be introducing a slate of 30 documentaries of varied lengths that give voice to a variety of topics and reflect the cultural diversity of viewers across the country.

the stories: Chat Addicts is a one-hour special exploring the appeal of Internet chat rooms, with a focus on individuals whose lives have been profoundly changed by them. For those more interested in history, First Son: The Portraits of C.D. Hoy gives us a profile of the life and work of Chinese-Canadian Hoy (a portrait photographer in Quesnel, B.C. at the turn of the century). As the daughter of spitfire pilot and war chronicler Arthur Bishop, and granddaughter of First World War flying ace Billy Bishop, Diana Bishop explores the story of her family’s place in Canada’s history in A Hero to Me. In yet another historical piece, The Power and the Glory takes us through the saga of the Molson family from its beginnings in 1790s Montreal to the present.

the verdict: None of these shows is likely to garner mass-market appeal, but each will probably have a small following from its intended niche audience, so long as Global gets its marketing spot-on.

the backing: David Hamilton, Global’s VP of publicity and promotions, says that a different marketing plan will be formulated to suit each doc. ‘With each show we have to determine what the key selling feature is, whether it is the story-line itself or character development or some other aspect of the show. Then we can build a marketing strategy around that.’