I have no idea why CBC's upfront presentation began and ended with I'm Not in Love by 10cc. It's old and it's not Canadian. The point, I think, was to drum up a "Love CBC" campaign, with hashtags on Twitter and such. Because you're nobody and you're not achieving anything if you don't have a hashtag on Twitter.
I can't say if I love CBC's newly announced 2015-2016 schedule. It's just an announcement. Haven't seen the new shows. Do have impressions, mind you. So do you want the good news or the bad, gleaned from impressions? Never mind, I'll press ahead.
Things opened with Shad, the new guy on q, not to be confused with Q. There was a bit where Pastor Mansbridge tutored him on how to say "CBC." This tells us one thing – CBC considers Shad and Mansbridge to be the biggest opening-act stars.
Along came Bonnie Brownlee, who has the title – wait for it – "Executive Director Communications, Marketing, Brand and Research, CBC English Services." Such titles explain the existence of the term "spokesthingy." It was Brownlee who got the "Love CBC" thing rolling and, by heavens, sometime later "Love CBC" was trending on Twitter. There you go, eh?
Heather Conway, the CBC boss, came along and said CBC had delivered on its promises. She boasted about "great content that takes risks" and "can compete with premium cable." This isn't true. There is a lot that's mediocre or rinky-dink about CBC's programming. For heaven's sake, a new series highlighted at the presentation features L.A.-based Canadian comic Will Sasso doing a hidden-camera gag show. The last thing the world needs is another hidden-camera gag show. Sasso told the assembled multitude that he "loves being home in Canada." He said it so many times that a person might begin to doubt his sincerity.
Rick Mercer came and praised Heather Conway, said CBC News is brilliant and joked about Sun TV. Mark Kelley arrived, praised the fifth estate, told us he'd won an International Emmy and announced that some CBC thing is, wait for it, "No. 1 on Facebook." Whatever gets you through the night.
Anna Maria Tremonti told a joke about pronouncing the word "the," which was incomprehensible. She did mention that CBC is "the strongest media brand in the country." It oughta be, with the money the country spends on it.
Jonny Harris, who plays Crabtree on Murdoch Mysteries, is, apparently, the new Wayne Rostad. In his new show, he goes from town to town and gets to know people. It's called Still Standing, which the CBC is, though a little wobbly and in need of your love.
There's a major "event TV" thing coming which chronicles health care across Canada in one 24-hour period. All those people getting treatment, having babies and such. It's called Keeping Canada Alive. Which is CBC's self-defined role, apparently.
There was a big emphasis on CBC Sports. Scott Russell, who is a helluva nice fella, explained that CBC will cover not just the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio but also the 2020 games in Tokyo. CBC viewers will get 360-degree coverage of the Canadian athletes and the athletes' point of view. "Nothing brings a nation together like sports," declared Russell. This is true, if you've got the broadcast rights.
The good news is twofold. Da Vinci's Inquest and Intelligence creator Chris Haddock is returning to the CBC with the espionage thriller The Romeo Section. It's set in Vancouver.
And, after years of being negligent in the area, the CBC is going to do more arts coverage. Some on TV, some on the Web and radio and, you know, in a "hub." One show is Crash Gallery, described as "a high-energy art competition series." Now that's nice, but does everything have to be a competition show?
CBC is in a competition, mind you, and CBC-TV must try to deliver hits. Are there hits galore in the new season? Would love to say, but can't. It might be just a phase I'm going through.
Airshow (Discovery, 8 p.m.) is a Canadian reality series that follows a group of airshow pilots and performers across Canada and the United States. It's the sort of show that gives you the collywobbles if you're not enthralled by the thrill ride. There is a lot of dramatic, soaring footage and guys get annoyed and swear about damaged planes and the cost of keeping everything going. The most interesting segments feature Carol Pilon, one of the last "wingwalker" performers in the racket. Yeah, she walks out on the wings of small planes doing amazing manoeuvres in the sky. Now that's an odd job.
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