CBC new season lineup

A 30-hour documentary mega-project, Canada: A People’s History, is among the highlights of cbc’s 1999/2000 season lineup, which also includes four new drama and three comedy series and a slate of nine tv movies.

A joint project with Radio-Canada, A People’s History is produced by Mark Starowicz and features the work of 15 directors as it explores the history of Canada over the last 12,000 years.

New series on tap for the fall are pr, a comedy from Sullivan Entertainment revolving around the owner of a Toronto public relations firm that specializes in promoting the entertainment business; Alliance Atlantis Communications’ Harry’s Case, in which a down-on-his-luck former Bay Street lawyer turned private investigator befriends a native Canadian; In Tha’ Mix, a Back Alley/aac coproduction featuring Straight Up characters Dennis and Jeff as they start a campus hip-hop radio show; These Arms of Mine, an Arms Length Productions/Forefront Entertainment six-part, hour-long series set among a group of friends and lovers in Vancouver; and, the cbc in-house six-pack comedy series Jake & Jill, featuring Albert Schultz and Camilla Scott.

Anchoring the new schedule is a long list of returning series, including a second season of Da Vinci’s Inquest, Made In Canada, Nothing Too Good For a Cowboy, Twitch City and Pit Pony, and a third round of Riverdale and fourth of Wind At My Back.

cbc is flagging another sequel in the Anne of Green Gables trilogy, Anne of Green Gables: The Story Continues, on its movie lineup. Following on the success of last season’s In The Blue Ground, another North of 60 movie is also on the fall schedule.

Other high-profile tv drama specials include Revenge of the Land, a western epic set at the turn of the century, directed by John N. Smith (Boys of St. Vincent) and produced by Bernard Zuckerman and Cinar Films of Montreal; and, The Marilyn Bell Story, also from Zuckerman and Cinar, which tells the real-life drama of the 16-year-old Canadian who swam across Lake Ontario in 1954.

Also on the sked is Shaftesbury Films’ External Affairs, based on Timothy Findlay’s Cold War drama The Stillborn Lover in which a Canadian ambassador (Henry Czerny) and his wife become implicated in the murder of a Russian student, and the two-hour period tragedy One Heart Broken Into Song, directed by Clement Virgo, which tells the story of a young woman’s struggle for a new life in Nova Scotia during the Great Depression.

Another project with a high-profile director attached, Sturla Gunnarsson, is Scorn, the tale of a deeply disturbed b.c. teenager who masterminds the murder of his mother and grandmother to collect an inheritance.

The family film Dead Aviators, produced by Accent Entertainment of Toronto, follows a 12-year-old who spends a summer with her grandmother in a Newfoundland outport.

aac has a three-part action-adventure miniseries, Cover Me, in which two agents fight international terrorism on Canadian soil.

On the comedy front, Broadside, a new six-part, half-hour series created by Jane Ford and Diane Flacks, brings together a collection of Canada’s top comedic actresses to showcase women throughout history. The Red Green Show, Royal Canadian Air Farce and This Hour Has 22 Minutes also return.

The kids’ lineup includes Cinar’s Franklin and Mumble Bumble; Amigo and Me, a new puppet series by Radical Sheep Productions; and, Daring and Grace, produced by Roman Bittman and Microtainment of New Brunswick, chronicling the adventures of a high school basketball star who takes over his father’s detective agency when his father vanishes.

Other shows on the children’s front include the family action/ adventure series Back to Sherwood from Prisma Productions of Montreal, about a 16-year-old direct descendent of Robin Hood and Maid Marion who’s drawn back in time on a heroic quest; and Omni Productions’ Edgemont Road, set in a world of mega-malls and single-family homes.

The variety special lineup includes Must Be Santa (one of the biggest film projects every undertaken by cbc), a new Anne Murray special, and a one-hour sketch comedy show from This Hour’s Cathy Jones.

A new strand, CBC Thursday, provides a home for performance and arts programming, including Canadian and international feature films, tv series and docs. A two-hour nfb doc about Canadian diplomat Herbert Norman who was accused of being a Communist is among the highlights.

Arts Performance, a showcase for regional and national arts and performance programs will include The Shed, a half-hour drama set in New Brunswick, and The Beat, a one-hour pilot from Great North Productions centering on two policemen and a social worker in a small Alberta community.

Booktv is a new information series on the book business produced in association with ChumCity.

Daytime schedule additions include In The Company of Women, a Vancouver-produced talk show.

A ‘Best of the World’ strand will showcase foreign feature films such as the Robin Williams vehicle Jack, The English Patient, the British miniseries Oliver Twist, Bean: The Movie, Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies, and The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, produced out of Quebec, which tells the true stories behind such novels as Around the World in Eighty Days.

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