CBS picks up Canuck series
STRUCK DUMB: THE INVASION BEGINS: Hopeful voices have been suggesting since before the Hollywood writers’ strike began that the U.S. networks would be looking northward to fill gaping holes in primetime schedules, but those brief but fervent fantasies of seeing shows like Intelligence, Corner Gas, Whistler, Da Kink In My Hair or Air Farce on U.S. big four network prime time have been dashed cruelly.
So far, the only Canadian show that’s actually found a place on U.S. airwaves since the strike began has been Kenny Vs. Spenny, which made its debut on the cable Comedy Central network mostly because South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone were fed a big turkey dinner and lots of wine and cocoa and given a “full service” massage before being wrapped in comfy bearskins and shown an episode of the Showcase show, after which they were hypnotized and told to dictate a nice e-mail to their friends at Comedy Central.
In this context, I can confidently proclaim that the “floodgates” have “opened,” and we’re about to inundate U.S. airwaves with Canadian programming. Well, it’s just one show, actually – a co-production between CTV and CBS that was announced this week with a story in Variety.
Flashpoint is – surprise, surprise – a police drama, which will feature both Canadian writers and actors, including Enrico Colantoni, formerly of Veronica Mars. Scheduled to debut in early summer, the series is “believed to be the first scripted project developed and ordered to series by a broadcast network since the WGA walkout in November,” according to the Variety story.
CBS says that they’re looking to do more deals like this, as a way of cutting down the development cost of pilots, and have been negotiating with producers in the U.K., Australia and Israel.
"It just worked," an unnamed CBS exec told Variety. "It hit all the right buttons for us. And we had a great meeting with the producers, who already had story ideas for another four or five episodes."
Production will also happen up here, though it seems that the American partners had to be reassured that production values “will be as good as any American production,” according to “a person familiar with the project.”
Which means that we’ll have to hold off for a few episodes before the main character starts talking to his faithful police dog, or takes long, ruminative walks in the snow, or storylines shift to the rural Maritimes, where the business of police work takes a back seat to the coming of age story of a young girl with ambitions larger than gutting cod on her father’s boat, dreaming all the time about becoming a singing star in Toronto.
These are our stories people, and they have to be told.