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Bonnie and Clyde meet Sons of Anarchy in Lilyhammer; top 10 must-sees for the week

- December 7th, 2013

Emile-Hirsch-and-Holliday-Grainger-play-Bonnie-and-Clyde-in-miniseries

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Dec. 8

1 Bonnie & Clyde
Debut: A four-hour, two-night simulcast over three channels that stars Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger as the infamous Depression-era title couple. Also with Holly Hunter and William Hurt.
When: Sunday on History, Lifetime, A&E

2 Lilyhammer
Second-season debut: Steve Van Zandt, best known as Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist in the E Street Band and Sil on The Sopranos, heads back to Norway for more criminal and cultural clashes.
When: Friday on Netflix

3 Sons of Anarchy
In a special extended episode to wrap up the sixth season, the ramifications of the choices made by Jax (Charlie Hunnam) put his club and his family in jeopardy. Um, isn’t that every episode?
When: Tuesday on Super Channel

4 Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale
Debut: This is billed as a comedic musical take on a traditional Christmas morality story. Joining Clarkson are the likes of Blake Shelton, Jay Leno, Robin Williams, Heidi Klum and Danica Patrick.
When: Wednesday on NBC, Global

5 Dragons’ Den
The Dragons – Arlene Dickinson, Bruce Croxon, Jim Treliving, David Chilton and Kevin O’Leary – get into the Christmas spirit by listening to holiday-themed pitches. Ugly festive sweater, anyone?
When: Wednesday on CBC

6 Civil War 360
Canadian premiere: Hosted by Ashley Judd, Trace Adkins and Dennis Haysbert – all of whom had ancestors who were greatly impacted – this three-part series explores the American Civil War.
When: Sunday on the Smithsonian Channel

7 Cedar Cove
Back-to-back episodes: Olivia (Andie MacDowell) is shocked by the arrival of a pregnant woman with a possible connection to Jack (Dylan Neal). Yep, might put a damper on turkey dinner.
When: Wednesday on W

8 The Sing-Off
Return: Hosted by Nick Lachey, this reality-competition holiday extravaganza for “a cappella” groups will air seven episodes before Christmas, including the two-hour finale on Dec. 23.
When: Monday on NBC, CTV Two

9 Holidaze
Debut: Made-for-TV movie follows Mel (Jennie Garth), an executive who unexpectedly finds herself in her home town trying to convince residents to let her company construct a massive discount store.
When: Sunday on ABC Spark

10 Modern Family
In a holiday episode directed by Bryan Cranston, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) is on edge because her mother is visiting. Likely will be slightly less violent than Cranston’s recent work on Breaking Bad.
When: Wednesday on ABC, City

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Dragons’ Den tests the economic realities of the Christmas spirit

- December 6th, 2013

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You’d be forgiven for wondering if Dragons celebrate Christmas. All that fire has to be murder on mistletoe.

This year’s special holiday episode of Dragons’ Den – which airs Wednesday, Dec. 11 on CBC – proves that the scary beasts at least acknowledge there’s something different going on at the end of each calendar year. But does it make them feel any more generous than usual?

Dragons’ Den, of course, is in its eighth season and currently features Bruce Croxon, David Chilton, Jim Treliving, Kevin O’Leary and Arlene Dickinson as its signature investors.

We all know the format of the show by now. Entrepreneurs come in and pitch their business ideas. They’re all looking for investment money from the Dragons, in return for a chunk of whatever their money-making scheme is. The Dragons either can agree to the terms the entrepreneur has suggested, propose new terms, or take a polite pass. Well, sometimes not so polite.

The holiday episode showcases a batch of holiday-themed pitches, naturally. Everything from ugly Christmas sweaters to exterior light-hanging apparatuses designed to reduce trips to the hospital are presented, as entrepreneurs hope to find some much-needed cash in their stockings.

Something to watch for: Think of the grumpiest Dragon. Now think of a silly costume. The mind wanders.

The holiday pitchers this year are: Holiday Rejects (Chris Cheng, Adil Hooda and Kyle Fitzgerald from Calgary); Christmas Linka Lights (Patrick Grau and John Schram from St. Catharines, Ont.); You Stuff It Boxes (Mary Read from Orr Lake, Ont.); Hot ‘N’ Clean (Shayne Elliot from Haney, B.C.); Winter and the Secret of Santa (Janelle Jeffrey from Squamish, B.C.); Magball (Enock Laplante from Toronto); Kooldog House (Ki Park from Richmond Hill, Ont.); and Rollergard (Victor Posa, Benito Posa and Paul Steinhauser from Aurora, Ont.).

Will the Dragons be naughty or nice?

Seems like an obvious answer if we’re talking about Dragons. But the Christmas spirit can do miraculous things.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Air Farce, Ron James plan an “ex-PSY-ting” New Year’s Eve, Stephen Harper style

- December 30th, 2012

Air Farce - Paul Henderson, Craig Lauzon as Don Cherry

Canada doesn’t seem to treasure as many traditions as it has in the past. That can be a good thing or a bad thing depending upon your point of view.

But one Canadian tradition that has hung on is comedy on CBC on New Year’s Eve.

First up at 8 p.m. (local time) is the annual Air Farce New Year’s Eve special. That’s followed at 9 p.m. by The Ron James Show’s New Year’s Eve Special.

Then at 10 p.m., it’s the news, which rarely is funny. So let’s focus on those first two.

The Air Farce extravaganza this year features a hilarious video parody starring Craig Lauzon, doing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, doing Korean rapper PSY. The words to PSY’s massive hit “Gangnam Style” have been changed to reflect Harper’s world.

Besides Lauzon, the usual Air Farce crew of Don Ferguson, Luba Goy, Alan Park, Penelope Corrin and Arnold Pinnock will be on hand. Guests include hockey legend Paul Henderson (pictured above left, with Lauzon as Don Cherry at right), Olympic gold medallist Rosie MacLennan, Yannick Bisson of Murdoch Mysteries, recording artist Victoria Duffield and David Chilton of Dragons’ Den.

Then it’s time for Ron James (pictured below), who – as we successfully head into 2013 – vows “never to listen to a Mayan again.” Damn straight.

Regular James characters Aunt Vivien, Buell Crawford and fan favourite Li’l Ronnie also stop by to help ring in the new year.

The real beauty of the back-to-back Air Farce and Ron James New Year’s Eve specials is that you can watch both and still have two hours to get drunk.

Now THAT’s a Canadian tradition.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Ron James New Years Eve

Wealthy Barber author urges Dragons’ Denizens: “Don’t be hairy with your cash!”

- September 13th, 2012

Cast of Dragons' Den

The author of The Wealthy Barber understood quickly that he had to sharpen his scissors for Dragons’ Den.

“I’ll admit, my first week or so, I was quite weak – I really had trouble saying anything critical,” said Chilton, the newest dragon (pictured above, far right). “My whole life I’ve tried to stay very positive.

“But Arlene (Dickinson, fellow Dragon) actually pulled me aside one day and said, ‘Dave, some of these people are doing nutty things, and with The Wealthy Barber they have a lot of faith in your judgment on those things. I think you should speak up a little bit more and tell them this isn’t a great use of their money.’

“So as time went on I think I got stronger in that area. One of the things I’m trying to do on the show, strangely enough, is educate. I have an opportunity to say to people, ‘This is a crazy way to invest your money, and even your time.’ And I do that.”

Chilton makes his debut on Dragons’ Den as the seventh season of the highly rated Canadian series premieres Wednesday, Sept. 19 on CBC. Numerically Chilton is replacing Robert Herjavec, alongside returning dragons Dickinson, Kevin O’Leary, Jim Treliving and Bruce Croxon.

Chilton’s claim to fame dates back to 1989 when – at exactly the right time, apparently – his book The Wealthy Barber was released. Teaching and preaching the basics of sound personal financial management in an easy-to-read and relatable way, more than 2 million copies of The Wealthy Barber have been sold in Canada.

“I only set out trying to sell 10,000 copies, that was my goal,” Chilton said. “It wasn’t like I had this master plan. In fact, I thought 10,000 was a stretch.

“So to get to (two) million, and it leads to a second book, and to publishing and calendars, it’s all from one idea. I’ve had only one good idea in my life and thank God I had it when I was young.”

Chilton is being modest, of course. But he admitted he was wary about joining Dragons’ Den, which sees aspiring entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to the dragons with the dream of securing financing.

“I was a little bit mixed, not because of the venture-capital issue – in fact, I really enjoy looking at businesses,” Chilton said. “But the reason I was apprehensive was that I’m very low-key and I like to live a low-key life. And Dragons’ Den is about as high-profile as you can get in this country.

“But I went to an audition – they wanted to see me on tape, and I wanted to see how the whole thing worked – and I loved it. I was so into it. I actually said yes to a couple of the audition pitches.

“I have met so many great people. One common denominator about most of them is they’re passionate about what they’re doing. With the benefit of hindsight, I am so happy I did this.”

And forevermore, David Chilton will be the answer to the trivia question, “What do you get when you cross an author, a barber and a dragon?”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv