Edge-of-your-seat drama and adventure set in the clear, cold skies and stunning natural beauty of Canada’s new North while one of Hollywood’s greatest stars kicks off the new season of the adventures of Canada’s sexiest sleuth and the crusty cut-throat of Canadian business literally goes to jail for his search to find the country’s next great new entrepreneurs. These are just a few of the highlights in store for CBC Television’s 2012 Winter Season.
The excitement just doesn’t soar any higher – on the map or the altimeter – than it does on Arctic Air, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) beginning January 10. Strap yourself in as Adam Beach (Cowboys & Aliens, Flags of our Fathers, Law & Order: SVU) stars in this blockbuster action-adventure drama anchored around a group of renegade pilots based in Yellowknife, who battle the elements – and, at times, each other – as they struggle to complete their missions and keep the dysfunctional family business they all depend on from crashing, in every sense of the word.
He’s one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation as well as a Best Actor Academy Award® winner, and now Russell Crowe comes to CBC Television to kick off the third season of Republic of Doyle. Crowe joins series star Allan Hawco and the rest of the cast of Newfoundland’s most famous crime fighters in the season premiere January 11th (Republic of Doyle airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m./9:30 NT). Season 3 promises another wild round of life on the edge for private investigator Jake Doyle, his father Malachy and the rest of the St. John’s crew of characters who have made this action-drama such a runaway hit, averaging over a million viewers an episode.
One of Canada’s favourite comedians, Gerry Dee, brings his gift for laughs – and his own life experience – to the new half-hour comedy Mr. D (Mondays at 8 p.m./8:30 NT, beginning January 9). Before making his mark in standup comedy, Dee worked for nine years as a private school teacher. So he’s especially well-suited to play Gerry Duncan, a would-be gym teacher who gets a job at a prestigious private school only to find himself giving lessons on a subject he knows nothing about – and deciding he has no alternative but to fake his way through it.
New this season is Redemption Inc. (Mondays at 9 p.m./9:30 p.m. NT, beginning January 9). The prime-time series follows a group of 10 ex-cons as they are given the opportunity of a lifetime: a chance to set up their own business under the guidance of Dragon and multi-millionaire businessman, Kevin O’Leary. Kevin sees the business potential in giving these people a second chance, and he recognizes that these ex-cons paid their debt to society. At the end of the series, one of them will earn both Kevin’s support and $100,000 of his own money, to start a legitimate business. This is not a handout or charity scheme – this is business.
Dragons Arlene Dickinson and Jim Treliving from Canada’s top-rated entertainment program, Dragons’ Den, are hitting the road to help struggling companies get back on track by offering their expertise – and their own money. In each one-hour episode, new series, The Big Decision features two separate businesses that are facing tough times. A Dragon will visit each company, roll up their sleeves, and put their expertise to work. If the Dragons think they can help turn things around, they will invest their own money – and change the fortunes of good companies that have fallen on hard times.
“We are equal parts proud, thrilled and excited to present this amazing lineup of new shows, top stars and the finest made-in-Canada television available anywhere,” said Kirstine Stewart, CBC Executive Vice-President, English Services. “The winter season will set a new standard for excellence for CBC Television.”
Returning favourites include:
MarketPlace – Canada’s No. 1 investigative consumer show and winner of the 2011 Gemini Award for Best News Information Series, returns Fridays at 8 p.m./8:30 p.m. NT, beginning January 6. In the special hour-long season opener, the award-winning MarketPlace team brings you “Canada’s Worst Customer Service: The Store Edition,” investigating how bad the customer service really is in Canada’s major store chains, and revealing the chain with Canada’s worst service.
Little Mosque On The Prairie (Mondays at 8:30 p.m./9 p.m. NT, beginning January 9) – is back for its final season. Canadians can follow their favourite multi-denominational community for one last time. It’s a rapid-fire season jam-packed with competitive fasting, town audits, sacred chickens, and budding “bromances.” Celebrate Little Mosque On The Prairie with the people of Mercy, as the show that broke new ground for Canadian Comedy comes to a conclusion.
CBC’S Hockey Night In Canada – The action continues as Canada’s favourite sports program follows the NHL’s march to the Stanley Cup. Highlights of early 2012 programming include: Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada, traveling to Prince Edward Island for the annual celebration of our national sport (Saturday, Feburay 11 at noon ET); the NHL Winter Classic: New York Rangers at Philadelphia Flyers (Monday, January 2 at 12:30 p.m. ET), an outdoor game that promises to become the must-watch sporting event of the New Year, and the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game, live from Ottawa (Sunday, January 29 at 4 p.m. ET).
Rick Mercer Report (Tuesdays at 8 p.m./8:30 p.m. NT, beginning January 10) – More than one million Canadians tune into the country’s favourite commentator on the foibles and the folly of modern life every week on the Rick Mercer Report.
Dragons’ Den (Wednesdays at 8 p.m./8:30 p.m. NT, beginning January 11) – Maybe you think they’ve seen it all, and this season they’ve already seen ideas for everything from pet fashion to motorcycle hearse services. But there’s plenty more to come in the second half of Dragons’ Den Season 6, as Dragons Jim Treliving, Bruce Croxon, Arlene Dickinson, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary search for Canada’s next great entrepreneur – with their own money on the line.
Heartland (Sundays at 7 p.m./7:30 NT, beginning January 8) – Friends and secrets have arisen from the past to make this season of the multi-generational family saga Heartland a continued hit with families across the country. The real stories about real people will continue, played out in all their drama, romance and comedy under the big skies of the Canadian West.
The Fifth Estate – The multi-award-wining the fifth estate returns with new episodes of original and provocative journalism. Bob McKeown tells the story of Canadian teenagers dreaming of making it in the National Basketball Association, only to find the reality south of the border is vastly different than anything they ever imagined. Gillian Findlay explores the dubious science around “Shaken Baby Syndrome”, which has been used to unjustly convict parents. And Linden MacIntyre shows how certain prescription drugs have ruined entire communities.
The Nature of Things with David Suzuki – CBC Television’s long-running and multi-award-winning series, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, continues its extraordinary 51st season with more thought-provoking television. Highlights include:
- Smarty Plants – new research is now exploding the myth of an inactive, passive plant world and revealing instead a landscape pulsing with sex, movement, communication and social interaction
- Programmed to be Fat? – what if there’s another reason for skyrocketing obesity rates
- Surviving the Teen Brain – new research reveals the brain is most creative and productive during the turbulent teen years
- Japan 3-11 – David Suzuki travels to Japan to see if the cataclysmic Tsunami can be a blueprint for sustainable change
22 Minutes (Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m./9 NT, beginning January 10) – continues its 19th rabble-rousing, no-holds-barred season of political comedy and commentary. Always on top of any breaking news (and sometimes doing the breaking), 22 Minutes features cast members Mark Critch, Geri Hall, Shaun Majumder and Cathy Jones. No story is off-limits, and no personality is too big for the 22 Minutes team to tackle.
Movies and Specials
8th Fire (Premieres Thursday, January 12 at 9 p.m./9:30 NT on CBC-TV’s Doc Zone) – A provocative, high-energy four-part journey through Aboriginal Canada showing why we urgently need to build new relationships with our First Nations and fix Canada’s 500 year-old relationship with Indigenous peoples, now mired in colonialism, conflict and denial. With an energetic pace and stunning HD landscapes, 8th Fire propels you past prejudice, stereotypes and misunderstandings straight on to meetings with a surprising new generation of Aboriginal Canadians who are claiming both their culture and their confidence. They are the fastest growing population in Canada. More than half of them live in cities and those stills struggling on reserves in Third World conditions, are demanding a share of the vast mineral and energy resources in their midst.
The Wrath Of Grapes: Keep Your Head Up, Kid Part 2 – It’s the much anticipated sequel to 2010’s blockbuster television movie event Keep Your Head Up, Kid: The Don Cherry Story, which drew more than 1.3 million viewers. Part 2 is an exploration of Don’s latter years and his evolution into becoming an icon of Canada’s cultural media, starring Jared Keeso reprising his Gemini-winning performance as the co-host of Coach’s Corner.
Sunshine Sketches Of A Little Town (Sunday, February 12) – A television movie event, based on the life and writings of Canada’s first and foremost humourist, Stephen Leacock. Airing on the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Leacock’s beloved book of the same name, the movie features a veritable Who’s Who of Canada’s top actors and comedic talent. Stars include Jill Hennessy (Crossing Jordan), Donal Logue (Terriers), Peter Keleghan (18 to Life), Colin Mochrie (Whose Line Is It Anyway?), Caroline Rhea (The Caroline Rhea Show), Debra McGrath (Little Mosque on the Prairie, Patrick McKenna (The Red Green Show), Leah Pinsent (ReGenesis), Sean Cullen (Mulroney: The Opera), Eric Peterson (Corner Gas), Ron James (The Ron James Show), Rick Roberts (Republic of Doyle), Gordon Pinsent (Away From Her), as Stephen Leacock, among others.
32nd Annual Genie Awards (Thursday, March 8 at 8 p.m./8:30 NT) – Launched by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television in 1980, the Genie Awards are an annual celebration honouring the biggest achievements in Canada’s film industry. Host details, musical performers and nominees will be announced in the coming months.
Breakaway ( Broadcast Date TBA) – A hockey enthusiast since 12 years of age, Toronto-based Rajvinder Singh (Vinay Virmani), even went to the extent of trimming his hair, discarding his Pagri/turban, did not complete his education, incurred the wrath of his father, Darvesh (Anupam Kher), who wanted him to be involved in the family business as well as confirm and respect Sikh religion principles and values. Hoping to play professional hockey, Rajvinder, along with other fellow Sikh players, instead finds himself treated as the object of ridicule, referred to as a ‘joker’, by mainstream Caucasian players. Even his friends tease him and ask him to take up ‘Guli Danda’ and Kabaddi’, while his father makes him work for Uncle Sammy (Gurpreet Guggi) as a truck driver. He is attracted to stunning law student Melissa Winters (Camilla Belle) while her brother, Dan (Rob Lowe), offers to coach Rajvinder and his team. Unable to get themselves included in any team, they form their own…
Spelling Night In Canada (April 2012) – It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s not your typical spelling bee. It’s Spelling Night In Canada – a one-hour prime-time event that will celebrate the country’s youth and keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Spelling Night In Canada takes the spelling bee format to the next level – with a fast-paced game-show style, and celebrity hosts and commentators.
Canada’s Smartest Person (March 2012) – A groundbreaking and entertaining new television special, Canada’s Smartest Person will redefine what it means to be smart. This two hour prime-time event draws upon the latest research to show that there is more to intelligence than having a high IQ score, or being a whiz at math or trivia. Using this cutting-edge research in intelligence, four participants will be challenged with fun and spectacular tests in each of the following six categories:
- Math and Logic
- Visual and Spatial
- Body and Kinesthetic
It’s up to the contestants to prove that they have the most versatile smarts in the country in order to earn the title of Canada’s Smartest Person, while audiences get to play along at home.
Romeos & Juliets (Spring 2012) – Set to the beloved score by Sergei Prokofiev, and the artistic direction of the National Ballet of Canada’s Karen Kain, Romeos & Juliets is a one-hour exploration of the process by which a remarkable new ballet production winds its way from rehearsals to opening night. Newly choreographed by world-renowned Alexei Ratmansky, Romeos & Juliets heralds the arrival of two new dance stars as they take on Shakespeare’s heartbreaking tale of love and loss. Cast members include Guillaume Côté (Principal Dancer), Elena Lobsanova (First Soloist) and many more. The film is produced by Shaftsbury Films with Christina Jennings and Peter Meyboom producing, and Moze Mossanen as a producer and a director.
Love Lies Bleeding (Monday, April 9 at 9 p.m./9:30 NT) – An extraordinary one-hour television adaptation of the contemporary ballet performed by the Alberta Ballet and adapted for CBC. Through brilliant choreography and music, the film explores the psyche of one of the most famous composers and performers of our time – Sir Elton John. Love Lies Bleeding is introduced by Sir Elton John and is structured into five distinct acts, each of which explores, through choreography and Elton John’s music, the emotional arc of a superstar’s life. Starring principal dancer Yukichi Hattori, Love Lies Bleeding is directed by renowned director Moze Mossanen, choreographed by Jean Grand-Maître, and produced by White Iron Inc.