CBC reveals fall/winter lineup including ‘Battle of the Blades,’ ‘Lady Dicks’

CBC reveals fall/winter lineup including ‘Battle of the Blades,’ ‘Lady Dicks’

TORONTO — “Battle of the Blades” won’t have a live audience. And “Family Feud Canada” is searching virtually for season 2 contestants.

But the two shows, along with the rest of the CBC’s fall-winter lineup, are “ready to go and confirmed” despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the public broadcaster said Wednesday as it unveiled its 2020-‘21 programming slate.

CBC is the first Canadian broadcaster to reveal future programming plans to advertisers — in what’s known in the industry as an upfront presentation — amid the pandemic that’s seen the production industry grind to a halt.

The programming slate was revealed in an online video with on-air talent, instead of the usual splashy in-person event.

Executives said when the global crisis hit, the CBC already had a number of shows done and ready to go — from the previously announced new series “The Trickster” and “Enslaved,” to returning titles “Still Standing and “Baroness von Sketch Show.”

From there, it was a matter of strategically scheduling a fall lineup to suit the entertainment and escapism audiences are currently craving.

Executives said they’re also working with producers to figure out how to film shows like “Family Feud Canada” with host Gerry Dee, and the fall skating competition “Battle of the Blades,” safely while following public health guidelines.

“We wouldn’t green light a series unless we had gone through an incredibly thorough process with our producers about what their plans are to ensure that these shows will be safe for all cast and crew, for everyone involved,” Sally Catto, general manager of entertainment, factual and sports at CBC, said in a phone interview.

“And the producers have been remarkably creative and committed and stepped up.”

Executives also noted the CBC is in a unique position during the pandemic, because unlike other Canadian broadcasters, it is not beholden to U.S. schedules and syndication amid production shutdowns.

“Many of our colleagues of other Canadian broadcasters are much more dependent on the U.S. networks to provide them with the bulk of their prime-time programming for the broadcast year,” said Barbara Williams, executive vice-president of CBC.

“And so as the U.S. networks are trying to figure out what they’re going to do, that leaves some of our colleages here in Canada in a bit of a holding pattern to be able to sort that through.”

New fall CBC debuts include “The Trickster,” an adaptation of the acclaimed “Son of a Trickster” novel by Eden Robinson, who grew up in Haisla territory near Kitamaat Village, B.C.

Michelle Latimer and Tony Elliott co-created the series, which was announced at last year’s upfront and has already been renewed for a second season. Newcomer Joel Oulette stars as an Indigenous teen dealing with a dysfunctional family and visions of “strange things.”

Also announced at last year’s upfront was the Canada/New Zealand relationship-driven thriller “The Sounds,” which will premiere this fall with Canadian actress Rachelle Lefevre among the stars.

And the previously announced documentary series “Enslaved,” in which Oscar-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson traces the history of slavery through underwater archaeology, will premiere this fall. Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici directs.

Other new fall programs include “Orangeville Prep,” which profiles a high school basketball program in Orangeville, Ont., that has produced a high amount of Division 1 College and NBA players.

There’s also the international series ”War of the Worlds,” starring Daisy Edgar-Jones of the buzzy new drama “Normal People,” which started streaming on CBC Gem Wednesday.

“War of the Worlds” is a U.K./France drama based on the sci-fi novel by H.G. Wells and also stars Gabriel Byrne and Elizabeth McGovern.

Winter debuts will include “Lady Dicks,” which was announced as in development in February. Meredith MacNeill of “Baroness von Sketch Show” co-stars alongside “Orange Is the New Black” actress Adrienne C. Moore as detectives in their early 40s.

The show is co-created by Canadian screenwriters Tassie Cameron and Sherry White.

Also set for a winter debut is the new factual show “Arctic Vets,” about a team of veterinarians in Canada’s north.

Returning titles also include the comedies “Kim’s Convenience” and “Workin’ Moms,” and the dramas “Murdoch Mysteries,” “Frankie Drake Mysteries” and “Coroner.”

“The Nature of Things” will kick off its 60th season in the fall with “State of the Planet,” featuring a conversation between David Suzuki and Sir David Attenborough.

Other returning series include: “Dragons’ Den”; “The Fifth Estate”; “Tallboyz”; “The Great Canadian Baking Show”; “Heartland”; “Marketplace”; “Pure”; ”This Hour Has 22 Minutes”; and the fifth and the final season of “Baroness von Sketch Show.”

“We’re proceeding full speed ahead with the development of our projects,” Catto said. ”Producers are pitching virtually, we are continually putting new projects into development. We announced recently our creative relief fund and we have an unbelievable response to that.

“So we are really still in that business of active development, looking to production, looking ahead, as I think all broadcasters and streamers are doing.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 27, 2020.

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

CBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Manny’s Motel demolition underway. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
Manny’s Motel demolition underway

The property has been vacant since the fire that destroyed most of the structure Jan.14, 2020.

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read