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Building an Empire; Hit Fox drama series gets trial run on City, in addition to OMNI

- January 26th, 2015
Terrence Howard and Taraji P
Empire is moving to the City. For a night, at least.

With hit rookie drama Empire having made such an impact on network-of-origin Fox in the United States, Rogers has decided to simulcast the series on City, Wednesday, Jan. 28.

The first three episodes of Empire have aired on another Rogers channel, OMNI, but City has a bigger reach across Canada (this Wednesday’s episode will air on OMNI, too).

Whether Empire might remain on City in future weeks largely will depend on how it does this week ratings-wise, one would assume.

Empire follows Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard, above left), the legendary head of a large music company. In the early stages of a debilitating disease, Lucious is dealing with his three sons and his fresh-out-of-prison ex-wife Cookie (Taraji P. Henson, above right), all of whom are vying for his throne.

“This phenomenon that’s happening, 1,000 years ago, or 2,000 years ago, it wasn’t a phenomenon for many people of different colours to get together and enjoy their cultures,” said Howard, asked why it seems to be the right time for a drama about a black family to be a wide-scale hit.

“Right now we’re seeing people enjoy the culture of America, the culture of the world as a whole, in this show. We’re showing real life now.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv​

 

 

 

 

 

FX Canada is re-branding as simply FX

- January 13th, 2015

Capture Americans

FX Canada is getting shorter in the hopes of long-term benefits.

As of Wednesday, Jan. 14, Rogers is re-branding FX Canada, dropping the “Canada” to be known simply as “FX.”

With the bulk of the Canadian channel’s marquee programming – The Strain, The Americans (pictured above), American Horror Story, etc. – airing on the same day as FX in the United States, the change is being made for the sake of simplicity and consistency. Also to save a few characters on Twitter, perhaps.

The Canadian version of FXX, also owned by Rogers, actually never has had the word “Canada” attached to it, so that’s another consistency with the new FX.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Archer and Agent Carter read The Book of Negroes and start an Empire with Glee; TV for the week of Jan. 4

- January 4th, 2015

Anna Faris, Allison Janney, People's Choice Awards

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Jan. 4

1 Marvel’s Agent Carter
Debut
Decades before the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, there was Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). She pledged a similar oath, but as a female in the 1940s, she had to fight from being marginalized when all the men returned home from World War II.
When: Tuesday, Jan. 6 on ABC, CTV

2 Downton Abbey
Fifth-season debut
Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) feels a bit insulted when the townspeople choose someone else to head up a local project. Meanwhile, Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) has trouble keeping her distance from her big secret.
When: Sunday, Jan. 4 on most PBS affiliates

3 People’s Choice Awards
Live
From the Nokia Theater in L.A., awards season kicks off by honouring fan favourites in movies, music and TV. Anna Faris and Allison Janney (pictured above) from the sitcom Mom are the hosts, with musical performances from Iggy Azalea and Fall Out Boy.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 7 on CBS, Global

4 The Book of Negroes
Debut
Six-part mini-series follows the harsh journey of Aminata Diallo (Aunjanue Ellis), who was abducted and enslaved as a child, but eventually returns home to West Africa. Also with Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lyriq Bent and Allan Hawco, among others.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 7 on CBC

5 Empire
Debut
Music-company kingpin Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) learns he has a disease and must choose one of his three sons to take over. But it gets even messier when Lucious’ ex-wife re-emerges unexpectedly and is determined to claim her share.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 7 on Fox

6 Archer
Sixth-season debut
Notice something different about this long-running animated series? The producers announced last fall that the spy agency no longer will be called the International Secret Intelligence Service – a.k.a., Isis – for obvious reasons.
When: Thursday, Jan. 8 on Teletoon

7 Sunnyside
Debut
Canadian sketch series featuring Kathleen Phillips and Pat Thornton centres on a quirky town where, for example, a voice from an open manhole replaces the internet. It’s the voice of Norm Macdonald, so I assume it’ll be sarcastic.
When: Thursday, Jan. 8 on City

8 Say Yes to the Dress Canada
Debut, back-to-back episodes
Set at a Toronto bridal boutique, Canadian brides must be more patient and polite than their American counterparts, right? Hello? Well, maybe brides are brides wherever you go, and they all speak the international language of tension.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 7 on W

9 UFOs Declassified
Debut
“Take me to your leader” aside, this six-episode series purports to present a balanced examination of the subject matter, with state-of-the-art CGI based on both eyewitness accounts and government/military documentation.
When: Friday, Jan. 9 on History

10 Glee
Sixth-season, two-hour debut
Upon learning that Sue (Jane Lynch) has banished the arts at McKinley High, Rachel (Lea Michele) endeavours to re-establish the glee club. More and more of the old gang will return home to help. Thank goodness this is the final season.
When: Friday, Jan. 9 on Fox, City

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv​

Hey, is that my stuff? Roy Dirnbeck sets up season two of Storage Wars Canada

- January 1st, 2015

 

Roy Dirnbeck, Rick Coffill, Cindy Hayden, auctioneer Don Reinhart, Ursula Stolf, Bogart Kenny, Paul Kenny

As a new year begins, maybe it’s time to reconsider your current junk situation.

After all, you don’t want to be watching Storage Wars Canada, and suddenly realize things are looking a little too familiar.

“It must be funny, or sad, for people to watch their stuff getting rifled through,” said Roy Dirnbeck (pictured above left), one of the buyers on Storage Wars Canada, which returns for its second season, Jan. 8 on OLN.

“I own a courier business, and the other day when I was doing a delivery, I ran into a guy who says, ‘I watch your show, it’s amazing.’ Then he tells me the story of how he split up with his wife, and they had stuff in storage. I actually bought this guy’s locker. It was the first time I’d run into a guy whose locker I’d bought.

“I kept apologizing. But he was like, ‘No, it’s all right, now I know who it went to, you’re a good guy, and I hated her anyway.’ ”

I guess that would be a happy ending on Storage Wars Canada?

Regardless, Dirnbeck – alongside fellow buyers Rick Coffill, Cindy Hayden, Ursula Stolf, Bogart Kenny and Paul Kenny, as well as auctioneer Don Reinhart – will be trolling for more treasure in season two.

“You’re going to see a real-life story play out,” Dirnbeck said. “It’s actually hard to say without telling you too much. But people who looked like they were friends in the beginning, you’re going to see things change.”

Often in a comedic way, Dirnbeck has been painted as the villain on Storage Wars Canada.

“It’s a bit over-the-top, but mostly it’s me,” Dirnbeck said. “People who know me say, ‘Yes, that’s you, but we’ve never seen you with that much high-octane.’

“I’m a nice guy in the real world, but at storage auctions, we’re all trying to make money. So being the instigator is easy, because it’s an alter-ego. I get to tell people what I really think, without worrying about hurting their feelings.

“As many friends as I’ve tried to make there, greed always takes over. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m not going to have friends from storage auctions who I’ll invite to my birthday party. I have my friends, and this is just work.”

Actually, the storage game began merely as a hobby for Dirnbeck about seven years ago.

“There are more people showing up at auctions now because of the show, but I have to be fair, that’s how I found out about it, when I started watching the American one,” Dirnbeck recalled. “So we get a lot more newbies, and they drive the prices up.

“But having made contacts when I’m re-selling stuff, I now know that the experts, the guys making real money, are the ones who already have a buyer before they buy the locker. They don’t waste their time sorting through stuff. As soon as the door opens up, they know who they’re going to sell it to, which means they also know what they’re willing to spend.”

It’s a “tough business,” according to Dirnbeck, and therefore he took particular notice of a recent interview I did with Jeff Schwarz, a.k.a. The Liquidator, which is another OLN series. Schwarz was quoted as saying, “I’m not going to pick on shows, but unlike a storage-locker show, where you just show up and you bid, I have to adapt to whatever deal it is.” (Full story here.)

“He (Schwarz) takes a shot at me all the time,” Dirnbeck said with a laugh. “But you know what? That little b—- cries and calls me every night when he’s having a bad day. He actually has become a good friend.”

So there can be inter-show friends, but not intra-show friends, got it. As we know from Roy Dirnbeck and the Storage Wars Canada crew, it’s as much about personalities as it is about the prize.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv​

The Flash feels The Strain as a Million Dollar Critic of American Horror Story; television this week

- October 5th, 2014

Grant Gustin as The Flash, two

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Oct. 5

1 The Flash
Debut
Yup, more superheroes on TV. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin, pictured above) gains powers when lightning strikes him during a freak storm. Almost immediately, those raw new powers are needed.
When: Tuesday on CW, CTV

2 American Horror Story
Fourth-season debut
A “freak show” struggles to stay in business as TV conquers showbiz in the early 1950s. The likes of Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Evan Peters are back again, in new roles.
When: Wednesday on FX Canada

3 Homeland
Fourth-season debut, back-to-back episodes
Carrie (Claire Danes) makes a critical decision, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) struggles with his new role in the private sector and Quinn (Rupert Friend) spirals out of control.
When: Sunday on Super Channel

4 The Strain
First-season finale
Eph (Corey Stoll) and Fet (Kevin Durand) prepare an assault that Setrakian (David Bradley) assures them will kill the Master. Um, what’s the betting line on that one?
When: Sunday on FX Canada

5 Murdoch Mysteries
Eighth-season debut
While investigating the murder of a merchant, Detective Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) uncovers possible connections to the assault on Inspector Brackenreid (Thomas Craig).
When: Monday on CBC

6 Arrow
Third-season debut
With crime at an all-time low, Oliver (Stephen Amell) lets his guard down. You know, given all of my TV-watching experience, I’d wager that turns out to be a really bad idea.
When: Wednesday on CW, CTV

7 Strange Empire
Debut
A fateful convergence of lost souls near the Alberta-Montana border in 1869 leads to tragedy and a struggle for survival. Cara Gee, Melissa Farman and Tattiawna Jones star.
When: Monday on CBC

8 Million Dollar Critic
Debut
Giles Coren reviews food hot spots across North America, but in the first episode he meets Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to discuss where the city’s best hot dog can be found.
When: Tuesday on W

9 Cristela
Debut
Sitcom stars standup Cristela Alonzo. In the pilot, she gets an offer for an internship at a law firm, but her traditional Mexican-American family doesn’t quite understand.
When: Friday on ABC, CHCH

10 Mulaney
Debut
Sitcom stars former SNL staffer John Mulaney. In the pilot, he gets a writing job that turns out to be less glamorous than he expected. That sounds preposterous to me, boss.
When: Sunday on Fox, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv