CBC is resurrecting its critically acclaimed but little-seen comedy "Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays" while adding an espionage thriller and health-care series to its programming slate.
On Wednesday, the public broadcaster announced 10 new projects including the Chris Haddock espionage series "The Romeo Section," the Sudz Sutherland drama "Shoot the Messenger" and single-camera comedy "Kim's Convenience," based on the hit play of the same name.
New for fall is the factual series "Keeping Canada Alive," in which cameras across the country film a day in the life of our health-care system.
In 2016, the factual series "Hello Goodbye" will feature emotional stories from people at a Canadian airport, while the comedy "Baroness von Sketch Show" will take aim at a range of issues including hipster culture and office politics.
Meanwhile, "Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays" returns with six episodes in 2016, five years after CBC cancelled it amid dismal ratings.
CBC says season 2 picks up five years later with Michael established in his new city, and David struggling to continue his practice without his regular sessions with Michael.
Programming boss Sally Catto explained that CBC's strategy is very much about "premium content" and supporting single-camera comedies "that are bold, that are distinct."
"And there's just a lot of love here for 'Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays,' " said Catto, general manager of programming for CBC Television, adding she couldn't comment on past strategy decisions that led to its cancellation.
"We think it is a really, really strong property and we can't wait to get it back on the air."
Although beloved by critics, the dry comedy about a psychiatrist and his anxiety-riddled patient struggled to find an audience when it aired in 2011. Catto said that doesn't concern her.
"We knew that not every program we did was going to appeal to the broadest possible audience. So that isn't our goal and it's certainly not our goal for every program," she said.
"We know there's a loyal and dedicated audience, we love the program itself, we feel it's a great fit for us and we also believe strongly that the audience will grow."
Nevertheless, the new additions seem to come at the expense of another edgy CBC series, the dark western "Strange Empire."
CBC announced earlier this week that it was axing the gritty show, which it had touted as an example of a bold new direction in the wake of budget cuts and the loss of NHL broadcast rights.
Catto said that was an "incredibly difficult" decision and that ratings were not a factor.
"There are so many brilliant programs and there's (only) so much space on the schedule and we had a number of strong projects in development," she said.
"I have a responsibility, as we all do here, to move forward with our strategy and make the best decisions we can."
Returning fall shows include "Heartland," "Murdoch Mysteries," "Canada's Smartest Person," "Dragons' Den," "Rick Mercer Report" and "This Hour Has 22 Minutes."
Returning in 2016 will be the Eugene Levy comedy "Schitt's Creek," Gerry Dee's high-school sitcom "Mr. D" and the spy series "X Company."
Also joining the CBC lineup is Bruce McCulloch's semi-autobiographical comedy "Young Drunk Punk," currently airing on City. Catto said the first season will essentially be repeated on CBC-TV in the fall, under a partnership with Rogers, which owns City.
"I know it sounds unusual but we're pretty creative in terms of the partnerships we're willing to enter into," she said.
"We just can't go with traditional models always. It's too difficult in this financial climate and we have to be cognizant of the reality of the way audiences consume content."
Previously announced shows in the pipe also include the summer comedy "Fool Canada" with "MADtv" alum Will Sasso employing hidden cameras and disguises to "poke fun at what it means to be Canadian," and the fall drama "New Address," an English adaptation of a hit Radio-Canada series.