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Hockey is leaving, but Mr. D., Murdoch Mysteries, Heartland and Republic of Doyle are “on side” at CBC

- April 4th, 2014

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Amid the uncertainty of a reduced-hockey existence, Mr. D, Murdoch Mysteries, Republic of Doyle and Heartland are the scripted comedies and dramas that officially have been renewed by CBC.

Also on the list of renewals, which was released Friday, was Dragons’ Den (which had been confirmed previously with the announcement that new Dragons Michael Wekerle and Vikram Vij are replacing the departing Kevin O’Leary and Bruce Croxon), The Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, The Fifth Estate, The Nature of Things, Doc Zone, Marketplace, Just For Laughs, Steven and Chris, and Winnipeg/Halifax Comedy Festival.

New series include Schitt’s Creek (with Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara), Strange Empire, Canada’s Smartest Person and Of All Places.

Prior to this announcement, the news had circulated that The Ron James Show, Arctic Air and Cracked have been cancelled by CBC.

Late last year it was announced that Rogers has purchased Canadian rights to NHL games, beginning next season. Hockey Night in Canada will continue as a staple on CBC on Saturday nights for at least four years, but the broadcast will be controlled by Rogers, and there are no guarantees beyond that four-year window.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Friends With Better Lives win Juno Awards while Inside Amy Shumer; TV must-sees for the week of March 30

- March 29th, 2014

Cristin Milioti, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Bob Saget

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of March 30

1 Juno Awards
Live: Co-hosted by Serena Ryder, Johnny Reid and Classified, scheduled performers include Arcade Fire (taped), Tegan and Sara, Sarah McLachlan, Robin Thicke, the Sheepdogs and Thunderface (kudos if you get that joke).
When: Sunday on CTV

2 How I Met Your Mother
Series finale (cast pictured above): There are many rumours and theories about what might be revealed, some of them quite dark. Here’s hoping Ted (Josh Radnor) and “the mother” (Cristin Milioti) aren’t facing some horrible tragedy. It’s a sitcom, people!
When: Monday on CBS, City

3 Friends With Better Lives
Debut: New sitcom following the How I Met Your Mother series finale that clearly wants to be the next How I Met Your Mother, albeit a notably dirtier one. With Kevin Connolly, Brooklyn Decker and James Van Der Beek, among others.
When: Monday on CBS, City

4 Short Poppies
Debut: This eight-episode series sees Rhys Darby – who you will remember as hapless band manager Murray Hewitt on Flight of the Conchords – playing multiple characters in a “mockumentary” about ordinary New Zealanders.
When: Thursday on Netflix

5 The Late Late Show/The Price is Right
It’s an April Fool’s switcheroo, as Drew Carey and Craig Ferguson swap jobs. Note that Carey hosts The Late Late Show in the early hours of Tuesday, a.k.a. late Monday night, with Ferguson hosting The Price is Right on Tuesday morning.
When: Tuesday on CBS, OMNI/CBS, City

6 Inside Amy Schumer
Season-two debut: Another 10-episode campaign for this combination sketch/standup/interview series gets off to a purposely awkward start, as Amy’s characters marry a black guy, lose a tennis match and try to pray away a nasty case of herpes.
When: Tuesday on Comedy

7 Dragons’ Den
Eighth-season finale: The Dragons hit the road to surprise some of the show’s most memorable pitchers. Have the people who landed deals succeeded or failed? And what of those who were turned down but were convinced the Dragons got it wrong?
When: Wednesday on CBC

8 Raising Hope
Series finale: Back-to-back new episodes wrap up this underrated series after four seasons. In the first episode, Downton Abbey’s Lesley Nicol guest-stars. In the second, Kenny Loggins makes a musical appearance, playing himself.
When: Friday on Fox, City

9 Intelligence
First-season finale: Riley (Meghan Ory) and Gabriel (Josh Holloway) are shocked to learn there are foreign sleeper agents embedded in the U.S. government, and even more shocked when the identities of the spies are revealed.
When: Monday on CBS, CTV Two

10 Family Guy
An ad executive guest-voiced by Peter Dinklage asks Peter Griffin (voice of Seth MacFarlane) to be the face of an anti-smoking campaign, as long as he continues to smoke. Sheesh, and I thought Game of Thrones was complicated.
When: Sunday on Fox, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Pretty Little Liars come Full Circle with a Crisis of Continuum? TV must-sees for the week of March 16

- March 14th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of March 16

1 Continuum
Third-season debut: Kiera (Rachel Nichols) jeopardizes everything to stop Alec (Erik Knudsen) from altering history in his mission to save Emily (Magda Apanowicz). But can Kiera’s new allies be trusted? Experience suggests no.
When: Sunday on Showcase

2 Crisis
Debut: The children of Washington’s elite are on a school trip when their bus is ambushed on a secluded road. Who are the kidnappers and what do they want? With Gillian Anderson, Dermot Mulroney and Rachael Taylor.
When: Sunday on NBC

3 Pretty Little Liars
Fourth-season finale: After years of questions surrounding the night Alison (Sasha Pieterse) disappeared, her four best friends – played by Shay Mitchell, Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson and Troian Bellisario – finally learn what happened.
When: Tuesday on M3

4 The 100
Debut: The only human survivors of nuclear destruction were in orbit, on space stations. Now, a century and three generations later, 100 juvenile prisoners secretly have been sent back to Earth, to see if it’s inhabitable.
When: Wednesday on CW

5 Glee
This is the 100th episode. In some ways doesn’t it feel as if this show has been around longer than that? Anyway, past and current members of New Directions gather to reminisce and reinvent their favourite performances.
When: Tuesday on Fox, City

6 Doll & Em
Debut with back-to-back episodes: Real-life best friends Emily Mortimer (The Newsroom) and Dolly West portray fictionalized versions of themselves in this semi-improvised comedy about an actress who hires her pal as a personal assistant.
When: Wednesday on HBO Canada

7 Love Under Cuban Skies
Documentary debut: Apparently there’s a steady stream of Canadian women partaking in sex tourism in Cuba. Many merely are looking for a little excitement. But some wind up bringing their new lovers back up north.
When: Thursday on CBC

8 Resurrection
Bellamy (Omar Epps) gets some help from Maggie (Devin Kelley) as he pushes hard for permission to exhume the tomb of Jacob (Landon Gimenez). Meanwhile, Pastor Tom (Mark Hildreth) reaches out to his childhood friend.
When: Sunday on ABC, City

9 Full Circle
Canadian debut: From DirecTV in the U.S., each episode has two characters talking in a restaurant. The next episode has one of those characters back, alongside a new character, and so on. Minka Kelly and Tom Felton get it started.
When: Thursday on Super Channel

10 Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure
Debut: The latest of many TV series from well-known Scottish interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan. In this one, they’re searching for a Canadian cottage in Muskoka on which to put their own stamp. Look out, loons!
When: Tuesday on Cottage Life

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Lindsay Lohan hears Sirens in Wild Canada; must-sees for the week of March 9

- March 9th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of March 9:

1 Resurrection
Debut (pictured above): One of the most buzzed-about shows of 2014, with Omar Epps, Kurtwood Smith and Frances Fisher starring in a tale about loved ones coming back many years after they disappeared, without having aged.
When: Sunday on ABC, City

2 True Detective
First-season finale: Gripping series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson has been razor-sharp and crazy intense from the get-go. Hard to predict how it’s going to end, but I’m betting not well.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

3 Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Debut: Meant as a successor to the Carl Sagan science series, Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane is one of the executive producers behind this new four-channel project. Hey, Stewie had a time machine, so that’s science-y.
When: Sunday on Fox, Global, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild

4 Sirens
Canadian debut: Adapted from a British show, this is a foul-mouthed but funny American series about paramedics and cops, executive produced and co-written by foul-mouthed but funny American Denis Leary (Rescue Me).
When: Thursday on Comedy

5 Believe
Debut: Created by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), this story focuses on a young girl named Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) who was born with special abilities and now needs protection. Kind of Heroes meets Touch.
When: Monday on NBC, CTV Two

6 Wild Canada
Debut: From the makers of Human Planet and Planet Earth, this is a four-part natural-history documentary series using the latest in camera technology to explore our nation’s sweeping terrain and diverse species.
When: Thursday on CBC

7 Working the Engels
Debut: Starring Kacey Rohl, Azura Skye, Benjamin Arthur and SCTV’s Andrea Martin, this sitcom is about dysfunctional relatives who must unite to run the family law firm when the patriarch passes away.
When: Wednesday on Global

8 Canadian Screen Awards
Hosted by Martin Short, this is the Canadian TV and film industry’s annual “everybody gets a trophy” soiree. There’s less hardware handed out at an average kids’ soccer tournament, and that’s saying something.
When: Sunday on CBC

9 Cache Craze
Season-two debut: Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes Alex Bilodeau, Rosie MacLennan and Benoit Huot participate in this adventure series based on the GPS-aided game called “geo-caching.” Um, did they do this in Sochi?
When: Tuesday on YTV

10 Lindsay
Debut: From filmmaker Amy Rice, this documentary series follows fallen actress Lindsay Lohan through yet another period of crisis and recovery, and crisis and recovery, and crisis and recovery. And crisis.
When: Sunday on OWN

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Vikings and Mr. D try Mixology for a Remedy? TV must-sees for the week

- February 22nd, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Feb. 23

1 Vikings
Second-season debut: Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) faces new challenges, both to his authority and on the home front. Will his brother Rollo (Clive Standen) have the guts to go through with his betrayal?
When: Thursday on History

2 Remedy
Debut: New Canadian medical show stars Enrico Colantoni, Sara Canning, Sarah Allen and Dillon Casey. High-stakes surgeries are fine for TV, but what this country really needs is a few more family doctors, am I right, people?
When: Monday on Global

3 Mr. D
Third-season debut: In his third year at Xavier Academy, Gerry Duncan (Gerry Dee) is determined to finally land the only job he really wants: Gym teacher. Just think, he’d get to yell at kids and wear shorts all day. Dare to dream.
When: Monday on CBC

4 Late Night with Seth Meyers
Debut: As Saturday Night Live alumni continue to populate the showbiz universe, Meyers joins the weeknight world. His opening-show guests are Amy Poehler, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and A Great Big World.
When: Monday (technically early Tuesday) on NBC, CTV

5 Mixology
Debut: This is a high-concept sitcom, with the entire season taking place on one night in a bar. Ten attractive young people are looking for sex and/or love. Who gets lucky and who goes home alone is the big question.
When: Wednesday on ABC, CTV

6 The Ron James Show
Fifth-season debut: Just how far would you go to avoid “spoilers” if you hadn’t seen the previous night’s Game of Thrones? That issue is explored in one of the sketches, and let’s just say more than winter is coming.
When: Monday on CBC

7 Growing Up Fisher
Debut: Eleven-year-old Henry (Eli Baker) always has been the eyes for his blind dad Mel (J..K. Simmons). So Henry understandably is a little insecure when a new guide dog basically takes over the job.
When: Sunday on NBC, Global

8 Hannibal
Second-season debut: Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is locked in an asylum, accused of crimes we know were committed by Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). The trick for Will is to get someone, anyone, to believe him.
When: Friday on NBC, City

9 Mind Games
Debut: This has nothing to do with the John Lennon song, although that would be cool. Rather, Steve Zahn and Christian Slater star as brothers who are part mental magicians, part master manipulators and part con artists.
When: Tuesday on ABC, City

10 The Americans
Second-season debut: Elizabeth (Keri Russell) comes back from her injury, but what should be a routine mission goes awry. She also cheers way too loudly for Russia in the Sochi Olympics. Wait, that’s not right.
When: Wednesday on FX Canada

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv