Thursday, November 21, 2013

Less flash, drama at 2013 CBC Winter Launch

The Murdoch cast get advice from the Wealthy Barber
Wednesday's CBC Winter Launch at the downtown Toronto HQ may have been a toned down affair but it was still, for me, a bit of a blur. I think I talked with Yannick Bisson, Allan Hawco, Gerry Dee and several others. Everything happened so quickly I barely had time to steal any sandwiches.
Bisson and Hawco were on hand to promote their crossover episodes. Hawco appears on this coming Monday's episode of Murdoch Mysteries ("Republic of Murdoch"). Bisson and co-star Jonny Harris (Constable Crabtree) visit The Rock in an episode of Republic of Doyle in January.
How do they bridge the 112 year time difference? It's Jake Doyle's great, great, great grandfather you'll see Monday, see. That Peter Mitchell. Smart.
Hawco took advantage of his Toronto visit to zip along the QEW later to the Weather Network out in Oakville, where they put him to work tracking a storm heading over St. John's. I kid you not.
Caught up with Jonas Chernick at the CBC press sessions. He's starring in the upcoming miniseries The Best Laid Plans. The political satire begins January 5th and was shot in Ottawa, where I spoke with Chernick a little over a month ago. Canadian acting icon Kenneth Welsh, who co-stars with Chernick,was sporting his University of Alberta tie and also his Order of Canada pin. The man is full of stories and shared one or two about his old Stratford pal Christopher Plummer.
Was also great to see Carlo Rota at the press deal. The former Little Mosque and 24 star came back to Canada to shoot six episodes of Recipes to Riches, a reality bake off airing in the new year. The deal has home cooks across Canada whipping up their favourite concoctions. Prizes range from $25 grand to a chance to launch a new production line at President's Choice.
Rota was sporting a Rolex his wife, Nazneen Contractor (Little Mosque), bought him for his 50th birthday. She surprised him that day with a cup of coffee, the watch, and a used pregnancy tester--her way of telling him he was going to be a daddy. The couple have a two-year-old girl.
Gerry Dee was also in the house, promoting the third season of Mr. d. The episode where Dee's doofus teacher dresses up as Christ still cracks me up.
The CBC comedy returns the Monday after the Winter Olympic Games closing ceremonies. Mr. d executive producer Mike Volpe was also at the event and told me his idea for a crossover with another CBC series and, damn, I hope they get to do it.
CBC stars lined up Wednesday for a group shot/line dancing
I also yakked with the judges for the new reality show Four Rooms. It's kinda like Antique Roadshow meets Dragon's Den. The idea has participants bringing things they thought were of value to one judge at a time. If the thing is worth something, a deal could happen on the spot with the appraisers reaching into their own pockets for the cash. All said they spent big time over the course of the opening eight episodes.
I wished I had had a tape recorder with me for them to appraise.
The four buyers are Derreck Martin, Eddy Rogo, Jessica Lindsay Phillips and Scott Landon. All are impeccably dressed but Phillips has the best boots.
There was a public "CBC Connects" happening later on the ground floor of the CBC atrium, something the PR brass plans to make more of a regular event. But can it ever be dark enough for 16mm screenings, I wondered.
The press day had a nice, relaxed casualness to it. CBC seems to be finding its stride after a tough year of cutbacks and transitions. It still feels funny not to have Kirstine Stewart there with her stilettos. Maybe she'll tweet this report, hashtag symmetry.
Much more happened including some shared insights from the new CBC programming execs. More on that in an upcoming post.
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