Monday, February 4, 2013

TONIGHT: City plants Seed with Adam Korson

Is Adam Korson Canada's next great sitcom star?
City sure hope so. They're betting the relative unknown actor can carry Seed to term.
The new Halifax-based comedy premieres Monday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on City. The Rogers-owned network is growing in reach, adding key markets in Quebec to its coverage, and also in expectations. Besides Seed, another new Canadian City comedy, the Vancouver-based Package Deal, is set to debut later this year, probably directly following Seed's 13-episode run in the Monday timeslot.
City has established some momentum with their cheeky comedy imports. A couple of home grown hits would go a long way to shaking up its well-earned show renter rep.
Seed is one of those show pitches you get in a sentence. A sperm donor starts running into some of the kids he has spawn. Hilarity ensues.
The idea came to Joesph Raso six or seven years ago. The young Toronto native seems to have that studied at the Brandon Tartikoff school of program pitching. The late great NBC exec wrote "MTV Cops" on a napkin and Miami Vice was born. Raso once sold a show called Zombies & Cheerleaders to the Disney Channel.
Seed took a little longer, getting a pass at CBC. Even they thought it was a better fit at City. Getting the right show at the right network is half the battle.
Another key ingredient is casting. Korson, also originally from Toronto, had landed a guest role on Emily Owens MD and was shooting out in Vancouver when he heard about the sitcom audition. He hustled along a tape.
There were callbacks and meetings. The network weighed in. Korson also found himself in the mix as casting heated up on Package Deal. When the dust settled, Korson was shooting Seed in Halifax and Jay Malone--also on the short list for the Seed job--was part of Package Deal's trio of zany brothers.
Read more about the Seed back story here in this piece I wrote for The Canadian Press.
Having seen the first two episodes, Korson does seem well cast in what could be a tricky role. Korson's bartender Harry is a bit of a weasel, a bit of a slacker. Yet, despite his rascally ways, the character has charm and charisma, key to keeping audiences hooked. The importance of likability is such a sitcom cliche, but as Homer Simpson once said, it is a cliche because it is true.
Korson has it, but also has the comedy chops. His TV acting resume isn't deep--he did an episode of 2 Broke Girls and drew good notices for his stage work in L.A. in Jewtopia--but he also seems to be a natural in terms of timing and presence. With veteran Canadian comedy showrunner Mark Farrell (Corner Gas, Dan for Mayor) doing spade work from the sidelines, there is reason to be optimistic that this Seed will take root.
There are no big, established names in the rest of the cast, save for a one-episode guest appearance later this season from Tom Green as a shrink. Carrie-Lynn Neales (The L.A. Complex) steps in as a woman who winds up carrying Harry's child. Amanda Brugel and Stephane Anne Mills play two moms who are raising a nine-year-old Harry (actually "Billy" played by William Ainscough). Laura de Carteret, Matt Baram, Vanessa Matsui and Abby Ross round out a game ensemble.
Korson and company on the Seed sofa
Farrell is a believer that TV makes stars, so you don't necessarily need to start with them. It also won't hurt that City has given this Seed every chance to germinate, planting it between two of its biggest import comedy hits on Monday nights, How I Met Your Mother and 2 Broke Girls.
The series is a good fit, especially since it has some of the bawdier element of 2 Broke Girls. There's a line in one of the first two episodes where Harry tells Rose (Neales) he wants to put his volcano in her trunk. (Think science project and an automobile, you sick bastards.) This is the fine line Two and a Half Men erased a few years ago when it comes to ramping up the crass network content. Thing is, if your show doesn't have it, the kids won't watch. The folks at Rogers say bring it on, so look for Seed to stay edgy and seedy as it finds its way.
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