Brunch was promised. Where the CBC gets the notion that "brunch" happens at 9 on a Tuesday morning is a mystery. But the CBC has some peculiar notions – some of them, shall we say, a bit cracked.
Cracked as in the word and Cracked as in the show. We'll get to that.
At 9 a.m. on Tuesday, yours truly moseyed into the CBC HQ for the 2013 winter-season launch – "an intimate media brunch to preview the winter television season on the new set of George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight." Herewith, impressions and notes on the brunch-that-wasn't-brunch event.
Seems to me, a slimmed-down, hockey-less CBC is a sort-of CBC on a diet. Kirstine Stewart, boss of CBC bosses, kept her remarks brief. "This is our foundation season," she said. I'm clueless about what that means. But Stewart continued: Popular shows already exist on CBC. Republic of Doyle returns. Mister D returns. Ron James returns. The CBC news department is doing great work. CBC Live is doing great work. It creates a Canadian star system.
Not sure what CBC Live is, I looked it up. It's online. It's "where Canada clicks with the stars," it says. Righto – the top item on CBC Live on Tuesday morning was this: "Kirstine Stewart & Amanda Lang Are Two of Toronto's Most Powerful People." Also: Take Your Kid To Work Day: CBC Edition. And many photos of Jian Ghomeshi. Okay, so it's not Hello! Canada. It's Hello! CBC.
Stewart concluded by inviting attendees to consume the breakfast (not brunch) on hand. "Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day. It's also the least expensive." Very droll. The CBC can't afford to do lavish receptions to launch a "winter season" that has precisely one new show. That show is Cracked. It's about Detective Aidan Black (David Sutcliffe), "a seasoned officer dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, and his new partner, psychiatrist Stefanie von Pfetten (Battlestar Galactica) as Dr. Daniella Ridley." Sutcliffe tells me he is way happy to be doing a CBC show.
Me, I'm thinking about the scuttlebutt in the Canadian TV racket that suggests the CBC is adamant about wanting new scripted shows that are a familiar concept, but with a twist. Thus, we have new cop show, but the cop suffers from PTSD. It starts in January.
Murdoch Mysteries comes to CBC in January too. This is nice because the show will actually have a channel, day and time where it can be seen regularly. In its previous incarnation on CITY-TV stations, the emphasis was on the mystery of when it would air.
Nearby was Krystin Pellerin, who plays Sergeant Leslie Bennett on Republic of Doyle, the bane of Jake Doyle because they're right for each other but Jake is a skirt-chasing flibbertigibbet. Pellerin in also one of the coolest people in Canada. She just is. She's a company member of the Soulpepper Theatre Company and she is also a singer and does some jazz things with Lynda Boyd, from Republic of Doyle. After chatting about Irish writing, Pellerin tells me that on the next season of Doyle, Leslie Bennet takes a journey to the dark side. I could tell you about it, but then somebody from CBC would kill me. Possibly the cop from Cracked.
An announcement given some heft was that Best Recipes Ever welcomes a new host: Christine Tizzard. According to the CBC, "The Newfoundlander, mother of two, and accomplished chef will share even more tips, tricks and delicious recipes to make everyday life easier for Canadians."
That was it. CBC's winter-season launch. No brunch. Slimmed down and trying to stay healthy. Like everyone on a diet, you wish them good luck. And in that circumstance, Best Recipes Ever might be its most important show. I looked up Christine Tizzard online. According to a food site featuring her work, "She likes to get dirty, meaning seldom in the kitchen is she not dusted with flour or splattered with chocolate. She cleans up well, meaning you will see her from time to time on the cover of a magazine." Future of the CBC, this Tizzard, I'm telling you. Or maybe it was the hunger talking. Brunch was promised. But no brunch for me.