Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's official: The Amazing Race Canada

It figured with Global planning to launch Big Brother Canada that CTV would get into the race. The Amazing Race Canada was officially announced Sunday night on a CTV station break by Phil Keoghan. The series will commence in the summer of 2013, with contestants racing, not around the world as in The Amazing Race, but across Canada.
Now, take it from a TV critic who criss-crossed this nation twice last month. Canada is a big enough race track. The rugged cliffs of Gross Morne National Park in Newfoundland are as breathtaking as the view from  the Dome near Dawson City. The Gardiner Expressway is already one big roadblock.
Race Canada will be produced by John Brunton's Insight Productions, the same domestic reality show factory behind Battle of the Blades, Canada Sings and Canada's Got Talent. A host and other casting details will be announced later.
Canada has had mixed results with these domestic versions of American reality hits, especially lately with a ten year lag behind the U.S. premieres. The Bachelor Canada just concluded on City with OK but not spectacular ratings; a second season order has not yet been announced. Canada's Got Talent had none of the success as America's Got Talent and lasted just one round.  Undercover Boss Canada has done very well on W.
Sometimes costs cut short a Canadian reality run   So You Think You Can Dance Canada was a summer hit that ran four seasons. Canadian Idol was a ratings hit that petered out over six seasons.
A couple of Canadian attempts had remarkably short runs. CTV cobbled together two whole episodes of Who Wants to Be a Canadian Millionaire--on the original big money game show's  New York set--before the collapse of the original crushed plans to launch an extended domestic version of the series. After a whole  lot of hype, a grand total of four Deal or No Deal Canada episodes were taped in Toronto with host Howie Mandel. Global shot Wipeout Canada way down in Buenos Aires, Argentina, but then buried it on TVTropolis, where it did a face plant in the mud.
Phil Keoghan. Who will host The Amazing Race Canada?
The Apprentice Canada had been rumoured for years, for a while with Dragon's Den stalwart Kevin O'Leary standing in for Donald Trump. Instead, O'Leary got his own CBC inmate entrepreneur show which went one and out.
It is debatable whether Canada has enough of a star system to sustain Dancing with the Stars Canada; Battle of the Blades--currently "resting" at CBC--may have waltzed off with that audience. The other big miss so far is Survivor Canada, although many domestic executive producers might argue any Canadian television series could be called Survivor Canada.
CTV is likely betting that there are hundreds of Canadian Amazing Race fans who have been dying to take part as contestants--and thousands more who would cheer them on all summer. Forget Boston Rob, bring on Brampton Rob.
Still, what Canadians probably really wanted was to compete in, and cheer on, would have been Canadians competing against Americans on the one and only original Amazing Race. Since CBS will see to it that that never happens (they let Canadians compete in Rock Star, remember, and we won it both times), The Amazing Race Canada will have to do.
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