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Over The Rainbow Fall Launch 2012 - Daryn 2 Host: Daryn Jones (CBC)
Over The Rainbow Fall Launch 2012 - Daryn 2 Host: Daryn Jones (CBC)

John Doyle

New Canadian shows, and a modest proposal for attracting a new U.S. audience Add to ...

Today we’ll talk about upcoming Canadian TV shows. We are awash in info about what ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS are about to unleash, but not much attention is being paid to Canadian material. There is not a ton of it, and much of it won’t be seen until early next year. But attention must be paid.

First, however, a digression – one that underlines the difference between the United States and Canada, such as it is.

More from John Doyle

I put it to you that if Mitt Romney is elected U.S. president, and delivers on what is promised in the Republican Party platform, there is a potential tourism bonus for Canada. And it’s TV-related.

No, it’s not some elaborate tax-break thing that might benefit the Canadian industry. It’s about people watching other people canoodling and having coitus on TV. As an outfit in the U.S. called Morality in Media has been boasting, the wording of the Republican platform was changed just before the recent GOP convention. Instead of merely targeting “illegal child pornography,” the platform says, “current laws on all forms of pornography and obscenity need to be vigorously enforced.” And, specifically, that means targeting for fines and other legal action the distribution of porn on the Internet, by cable and satellite companies, and by the porn providers who serve hotel or motel TVs.

Think about it – American travellers who value the pleasure of watching carnality on TV in the privacy of their hotel (or motel) rooms can be assured that in Canada such consumption is still possible. Bonus for Canada, I’d say. There’s loads of money to be made from serving the needs of U.S. travellers. I’m, like, just putting that out there, And, should such visitors change the channel and investigate what Canadian TV has to offer that is unique to us, what will they see? Damn fine question. Sizzling eccentricity, that’s what.

Over the Rainbow (CBC, Sundays and Mondays, 8 p.m.; begins this Sunday) takes us into the glamorous, highly competitive world of choosing a Dorothy to star in a stage production of The Wizard of Oz. With everyone aware of how gripping the search was for a Maria for The Sound Of Music, the excitement is building. Or so they say. Host and professional funnyman Daryn Jones (as CBC describes him) will be our guide as 10 hopefuls try to get a grip on singing Over The Rainbow, which CBC reminds us “is no easy task.” The gist, says CBC, is “eight jam-packed, toe-tapping, music-filled weeks of competition. In the end, one Dorothy is left standing. Oh jeez. Brace yourself, Canada.

Rogers, which owns the CITY-TV stations and a bunch of cable channels, is darn excited about two Canadian shows going into production for later broadcast. One is Seed, a comedy about a chap who made abundant contributions to a sperm bank and, somehow or other, begins meeting his many kids. Another is called Package Deal, and this one is high-risk for Rogers. See, it’s a multi-camera comedy about three brothers who are obsessively close to each other. (Cast so far is comedian Harland Williams.) “Multi-camera comedy” means building a set and filming it in front a live studio audience – just like all those CBS sitcoms that people lap up. (One imagines a laugh track will be necessary too. To be local, it could be the sound of viewers watching that comedy carnival, Sun News.) Package Deal will be made in Vancouver, while Seed will be shot in Halifax.

The Movie Network and Movie Central have in production right now a thing called Rogue, a 10-episode “suspense-drama” starring Thandie Newton, who isn’t Canadian, but you can be certain some Canadians will turn up. Newton plays Grace, “a morally and emotionally conflicted undercover detective who is tormented by the possibility that her own actions contributed to her son’s death.” Further, she’s involved in a forbidden love affair with “the crime boss who may have played a hand in the crime.” Okay, that does sound sticky.

That’s a mere taste of coming Canadian TV. Mind you, those American visitors, delighted to find the enjoyment of erotica without fear of legal repercussions in Canada, might tend to look for something else. Remember Octomom, that mother-of-14 named Nadya Suleman? Well, financial need and the urge to do something new have inspired Octomom to star in a celebration of her body and carnal urges called Octomom: Home Alone. Look for it on your hotel (or motel) TV, if you must.

 

Also airing tonight

The National (CBC, 10 p.m.) promises an exposé of soccer-match-fixing in Canada. Senior investigative reporter Diana Swain “looks at a gang from Germany responsible for manipulating games in top professional soccer leagues all around the world – and reveals stunning wiretap evidence of how players were paid to fix a Canadian Soccer League (CSL) game played in Trois Rivieres, Que.” It sounds intriguing, especially since the Canadian Soccer League is so obscure and, with respect, so utterly lacking in profile that most people aren’t aware of its existence.

 

All times ET. Check local listings.

 

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