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Canada’s Smartest Person: Competition or job fair?

- April 22nd, 2014

capture dyakowski

When you first hear CBC is seeking Canada’s Smartest Person, it sounds like a job posting to run the CBC.

But despite the challenges facing CBC with regard to government budget cuts and the loss of the NHL contract to Rogers, how you parlay the title of Canada’s Smartest Person into other successes will be up to you.

Canada’s Smartest Person, which aired as a two-hour special in 2012, is returning to CBC this fall as a nine-episode series. It will be taped in front of a live studio audience.

The application process currently is under way, having begun last week and remaining open until June 15. But waiting until the last minute would not be, um, a smart thing to do. Details are available at cbc.ca/smartestperson.

Applicants must be 16 years of age or older as of January 2014. So no annoying whiz-kids, please.

Canada’s Smartest Person is based upon the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which in recent years has endeavored to redefine what it means to be smart. According to the theory, there are six main categories of intelligence: Logical, visual, physical, linguistic, musical and social. Most people have strength in two or three of these areas, but few excel in all of them.

Which essentially means, you don’t necessarily have to be a rocket scientist. Back in 2012, Peter Dyakowski – an offensive lineman with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, pictured above – emerged with the title of Canada’s Smartest Person.

Dyakowski now has a corner office at CBC. I kid, I kid. But nonetheless, being named Canada’s Smartest Person would be a pretty impressive thing to put on a resume.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Devious Maids clean up after a Bad Teacher in Salem? TV must-sees for the week

- April 20th, 2014

Ari Graynor in Bad Teacher

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of April 20

1 Bad Teacher
Debut: Based on the Cameron Diaz film, this stars Ari Graynor (pictured above) as a former trophy wife masquerading as a teacher. Wait a minute, isn’t there already a show called Trophy Wife? I’m so confused.
When: Thursday on CBS, Global

2 Devious Maids
Season-two debut: More sexy clashes between the rich and not-so-rich. Marisol (Ana Ortiz) finds a new love, while Zoila (Judy Reyes) discovers that Valentina (Edy Ganem) has returned from Africa.
When: Sunday on Lifetime

3 Salem
Debut: This is a new take on the infamous witch trials of the 17th century, exploring intriguing theories as to why they actually may have taken place. Stars Janet Montgomery and Shane West.
When: Sunday on Space

4 Parks and Recreation
One-hour, sixth-season finale: Leslie (Amy Poehler) ponders her future while Ron (Nick Offerman) has another run-in with ex-wife Tammy 2 (Megan Mullally). Michelle Obama guest-stars.
When: Thursday on NBC

5 Tracy Morgan: Bona Fide
Canadian debut: Standup special sees Morgan performing in his home town of Brooklyn, talking about everything from growing up in the projects to the time he had to be, um, removed from Prince’s house.
When: Saturday on Comedy

6 Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Debut: If you’ve ever wondered what happens to “dead letters,” well, this is not a documentary. Rather, it’s a new series about ridiculously dedicated postal people, starring Eric Mabius and Kristin Booth.
When: Sunday on M3

7 Veep
Dan (Reid Scott) tries to minimize the impact of a Saturday Night Live sketch about Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) just as she is preparing to announce her candidacy for president of the United States.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

8 Black Box
Debut: Kelly Reilly stars as Dr. Catherine Black, a world-famous neurologist intent on unraveling the mysteries of the human brain. But she is hiding the fact that she’s bipolar. Is that good thinking?
When: Thursday on ABC

9 The Returned
Canadian debut: This creepy series from France allegedly breaks conventional zombie stereotypes. I’m just stunned we’re living in a world where conventional zombie stereotypes exist.
When: Saturday on Space

10 True Tori
Debut: I’m not going to lie, while it really doesn’t affect my life one way or the other, I don’t quite get the endless fascination people have with Tori Spelling. What is this, reality show No. 90210 for her?
When: Tuesday on Lifetime

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Signed, Sealed, Delivered follows the “letters” of the law

- April 19th, 2014

 

Signed, Sealed, Delivered, cast pic

In real life, traditional mail delivery is dying in many communities across Canada and the U.S.

Alas, if only budgets allowed for the impossibly dedicated postal employees who are characterized on Signed, Sealed, Delivered, a new series that debuts Sunday, April 20 on M3 in Canada and on the Hallmark Channel (the show’s network of origin) in the United States.

I have to say, Signed, Sealed, Delivered has a unique tone to it. It’s kind of funny, kind of serious, kind of sad, kind of dangerous, kind of corny, kind of sweet, kind of romantic, kind of modern and kind of retro, with a Scooby-Doo mentality holding it all together.

After a made-for-TV movie aired last year, it was decided to expand Signed, Sealed, Delivered to a series, the first season of which consists of 10 episodes. It stars Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty), Kristin Booth (The Kennedys), Crystal Lowe (Smallville) and Geoff Gustafson (Primeval: New World) as civil servants who transform themselves into an elite team of dead-letter detectives.

For example, in the first episode of Signed, Sealed Delivered, a legendary postal supervisor – played by Valerie Harper – oversees the unraveling of a mystery behind a letter from a young boy whose life is in danger. The letter is addressed merely to “Gramma,” and the team must identify both the grandmother and the grandson before it’s too late.

Shot in Vancouver, Signed, Sealed, Delivered was created by Martha Williamson, who also was behind the long-running Touched By An Angel. Generally, if not specifically, there are some similarities, I suppose. Signed, Sealed, Delivered tugs at the heartstrings, but bad guys get caught and loved ones are reunited.

In that way, Signed, Sealed, Delivered brings a whole new meaning to “going postal.”

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Hoser hottie Tim Warmels of The Bachelor Canada reminds me of Apu

- April 17th, 2014

Final capture copy

Wait, don’t all successful entrepreneurs have hot- and cold-running chicks anyway? Like a beverage counter at a Kwik-E-Mart?

OK, maybe I watch too much TV.

Point being, Citytv announced Thursday that Toronto entrepreneur Tim Warmels is the hoser hottie for season two of The Bachelor Canada. The series will air in the fall.

Warmels is a 28-year-old native of Campbellville, Ont., and a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. After moving to Toronto to prove himself as an investment banker, Warmels now has a number of tech ventures and his own boutique contracting business.

In his spare time, he enjoys writing, travelling, modelling and working with his hands building custom furniture and renovating his home.

My God, did you ever see that episode of The Simpsons when Apu gets dragged into participating at a “bachelor auction?” When, in his classic accent, Apu says, “In my spare time I like to build furniture and then to have a discussion about where to put it in a room,” all the women start to droll.

Maybe Tim Warmels’ REAL name is Tim Nahasapeemapetilon. It certainly will bring new meaning to Tim and one of his sexy ladies ducking out for a “Kwik-E.”

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

I see a red door and I want it painted (Orphan) Black

- April 14th, 2014

Orphan_Black_Season_2_First_Look_FINAL-1024x576

Orphan Black. Orange is the New Black. The Blacklist.

Are you sensing a theme here?

It seems as if the entire entertainment landscape has been painted black. Didn’t the Rolling Stones predict this in a song close to 50 years ago?

Regardless, the real subject at hand this week is Orphan Black, which returns for its second season Saturday, April 19 on Space in Canada and on BBC America in the United States.

Through its first season and in the subsequent months leading up to season two, Orphan Black has become one of those weird shows that retains its cool cult status, and yet everyone is talking about it.

Orphan Black exists as both a secret club and a mainstream media monster. It’s a niche show that everybody knows. Or at least, they know of it. With all the positive publicity, surely everyone involved with Orphan Black will be hoping for big ratings with the new campaign.

Orphan Black is a clone-based conspiracy thriller that stars Regina native Tatiana Maslany, who plays multiple roles. And more are coming. Sheesh, there must be some very long days on set where Maslany curses the modern filming technology that makes this all possible.

Maslany obviously was deserving of the accolades she received for season one. She won a TCA award, a Canadian Screen Award, a Critics’ Choice award, a Young Hollywood award and was nominated for a Golden Globe and a People’s Choice award (hey Emmys, do you think you missed something?).

In season two, while the bond remains strong between the core characters, they’ve all made choices that have dire consequences. That leaves main character Sarah (played by Maslany, or course) to navigate a dangerous world of new enemies and shifting allegiances.

Hmmm, sounds pretty dark. Black, even.

As Mick Jagger once sang, “No colours any more, I want them to turn black.” Orphan Black, that is.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv