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Comedian Ron James
Comedian Ron James

John Doyle

Why CBC-TV’s winter season junket misses the mark Add to ...

The CBC. Don’t get me started.

Last Wednesday I was a tad busy. Screened two new HBO series, wrote a column for Saturday’s paper. Then a short break to catch up on the Mayor Rob Ford news. Next, I wrote a feature about the upcoming World Cup for the sports section of this great newspaper.

What I didn’t do was go to the so-called “media junket” in connection with CBC’s winter season. Oh, I was invited, for sure. Reason for not going was this – there was no presentation about the winter season shows, no pitch to the press about CBC’s plans, no actual “event” that would pass muster in the TV racket in any instance except that of CBC.

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“There isn’t actually a presentation this time, just one-on-one interviews,” a note from CBC publicity said. Having no plans to do one-on-one interviews, especially about shows I haven’t seen, I didn’t go. It’s not that I have anything against meeting people who work in television. I’m going to Halifax today to do just that.

It strikes me that CBC is not lacking in the self-esteem department, is it? Don’t get me started. Apparently when summoned to a non-event, yours truly and counterparts are expected to show up.

Right now, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in charge at CBC. There’s a new vice-president incoming. That was announced two months ago, but she will eventually turn up, apparently.

What happened on Wednesday was, essentially, the e-mailing of a press release. CBC is thrilled to bits to bring us the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

“CBC is proud to be the official broadcaster of the Olympic Games, delivering first-hand comprehensive coverage, with insightful analysis and top-notch narratives that only CBC can provide Canadians.” See what I mean about self-esteem?

Are there new programs? Yes, indeedy. “Primetime welcomes political satire The Best Laid Plans.” That is the adaptation of the Terry Fallis novel. Hijinks in the backroom of Ottawa is the gist, I think.

Also the cooking/food show Recipe To Riches. Amateur cooks offer their nifty recipes in hopes of winning a prize. Kind of reminds me of CBC’s strategy – amateur-ish TV channel presents its wares in hopes of winning attention. Don’t get me started.

Also coming is Four Rooms, which appears to be an Antiques Roadshow knockoff. “Members of the public come from across Canada with prized possessions that they think could be worth a fortune. Waiting in four rooms are Canada’s top buyers, each of them ready to spend big money on whatever comes through their doors. But there’s a catch. Sellers can only visit one buyer at a time – and if they turn down an offer, it’s off the table for good, there’s no going back.” Don’t get me started. Darned if this thing doesn’t have more tension and twists than Breaking Bad, obviously.

Returning shows? You’ll be glad you asked! On “high-flying” Arctic Air, Krista returns after months of travelling abroad, determined to make changes in her life. Don’t we all, Krista, don’t we all? Clearly this show could deliver, you know, a Mad Men moment.

Mr. D is back, after the Olympics. Now, I like Mr. D. Funny, strange show. Of the Mr. D character, CBC says, in its epic press release, “What Mr. D. lacks in knowledge he makes up for in heart.” This is nonsense. The show isn’t heartwarming, it’s got a deadpan stoner quality to it. And is the better for it. Don’t get me started. Ron James also returns with his stunning rants. And it’s not like he’s short of material.

Thanks for the invitation, CBC. Thanks for nothing. May your self-esteem rise and rise, epic press release by epic press release.

 

Airing tonight

 

Generation Cryo (MTV, 10 p.m.) is a new reality show about a group of teen siblings fathered by an anonymous sperm donor. A young woman discovers her dad was an anonymous donor and sets out to find the others he fathered and the man himself. If she collected recipes along the way and found some antique things, it could be a CBC show.

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