Make Canoe my Homepage

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

The “food chain” strengthens with season seven of CBC’s Heartland

- October 2nd, 2013

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Talking to Heartland stars Amber Marshall and Graham Wardle can make you hungry.

“It’s like a home-cooked meal as opposed to a fast-food fix,” says Wardle (pictured above left) when asked to explain the longevity of Heartland. The series begins its seventh season Sunday, Oct. 6 on CBC.

“It’s a very simple formula,” Wardle says. “There aren’t a lot of shows that are focusing on family, or the horse culture for that matter, and those are two areas of life that work so well together.

“What the characters are going through is relevant. It’s not just pretty things to look at. There are some nutrients in that home-cooked meal.”

Heartland is a multi-generational drama, set and shot in Alberta ranch country, that stars Marshall as Amy Fleming and Wardle as Ty Borden. While Amy and Ty will grow closer in season seven, they also will face some serious questions about their future.

In the seventh-season premiere, Amy works to heal a traumatized horse from the Saudi equestrian team who was injured on a turbulent flight to Calgary.

“There’s a character for everyone, there’s a story for everyone and there are life lessons for everyone,” says Marshall (pictured above centre). “You can watch it with your children and it will bring to light issues that might be going on in their lives, or in your lives, and it opens up that opportunity to talk about things.

“CBC says this, but really, we’re a show that brings your family closer. You can have dinner together and then watch a show that has something for everyone in the family, whether it’s an 85-year-old grandmother or a three-year-old toddler, and everyone in the middle.”

What was that, Amber, something about a grandma and a kid? You had me at “dinner.”

More talk about food. For the body and the soul. Maybe that’s the Heartland way.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Mauled by dinosaurs? Miranda Frigon stays safe on Primeval: New World

- October 22nd, 2012

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Miranda Frigon’s character is the voice of reason and the face of authority on Primeval: New World.

“Comedy is more my thing, but I have a blast playing the hardcore chick who’s just the straight guy telling everyone what to do,” said Frigon (picutred above, and second from left in the cast photo below). “I’m very good in the power positions on TV.

“Some of the other characters are out dinosaur-hunting, so I get envious a little bit. But I avoid getting eaten and things like that. It keeps me safe.”

It isn’t just dinosaurs that show up in Primeval: New World, which debuts Monday, Oct. 29 on Space. The setup of the series is that just about anything can get in and out of our world – and vice-versa – through these mysterious time anomalies in modern-day Vancouver.

Primeval: New World is a 13-episode spinoff of the original British series, focusing on animal experts and scientists investigating paranormal events while battling prehistoric and futuristic creatures.

Led by inventor Evan Cross (played by Niall Matter), the team is comprised of predator-attack expert Dylan Weir (Sara Canning), security specialist Mac Rendell (Danny Rahim) and physics prodigy Toby Nance (Crystal Lowe).

Ange Finch (Frigon) is Evan’s oldest friend and business partner, the woman through whom everything runs. Ange also is the key liaison to quirky Ken Leeds (Geoff Gustafson), the head of the government’s decommissioned department for investigating alien life.

“Nothing really happens without me,” Frigon said of her character. “I’m kind of holding the company together.”

Frigon has a diverse acting resume, including a recurring role on CBC’s Heartland, and episodic work on series ranging from Sanctuary to Dexter to Emily Owens, M.D. But getting this series-regular role on Primeval: New World was a long-delayed silver lining to a frustrating period of her life.

About five years ago, the Edmonton native made the mistake of traveling home to Canada while the renewal for her U.S. work visa was in process. When she tried to go back to L.A., where she was living full-time, she was stopped at the border.

“They locked me out of the U.S. for two months, they threw out my visa application, I had to re-apply, it was awful,” Frigon recalled. “I had, like, two days worth of clothes with me. I had to borrow clothes from friends.

“But during that time, I got the audition for Sanctuary (which was shot in Vancouver). That’s where I worked with (director and producer) Martin Wood, and we got along so well. Then all these years later, when I first got the breakdown for (Primeval: New World), I saw that the executive producer is Martin Wood.

“If I had never made that (visa) mistake, I never would have met Martin, we wouldn’t have hit it off, and I probably wouldn’t be here now. You make mistakes, but sometimes there’s a reason for everything.”

Thank goodness for that, because what would the other characters on Primeval: New World do without Miranda Frigon?

Even the dinosaurs know she’s in charge.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

cast of PNW