CBC okays Men with Brooms

Pilot based on 2002 comedy gets the go-ahead at E1 and Serendipity. Gross to exec produce, Paul Mather to showrun

The popular 2002 Men With Brooms movie is coming to the CBC as a sitcom pilot.

The pubcaster has given the production order to E1 Television and Serendipity Point Films for a pilot episode to loosely follow Paul Gross’ curling comedy and directorial debut.

The movie racked up $4.2 million on theatrical release, portraying a reunited curling team overcoming personal struggles to capture a national trophy for their late coach.

The offbeat comedy starred Gross, Leslie Nielsen, Kari Matchett, Molly Parker and Polly Shannon.

Gross will share the executive producer credit on the TV version of Men With Brooms and make random appearances. Paul Mather (Corner Gas, Little Mosque on the Prairie) will showrun the half hour.

Mather said the project will take the original movie’s concept of curlers in a fictional Canadian town and introduce new characters to celebrate Canada’s ‘working guy culture.’

He added the pilot’s sensibility will also echo in part Corner Gas and Little Mosque after they managed emotional connections with Canadians.

‘It’s all the same ball park, all 8 o’clock Canadian comedies that you can watch with your family, but also are sharp enough to appeal to adults as much as kids,’ Mather explained.

This is the second curling pilot for the CBC in as many years, after Original Pictures’ Throwing Stones, which portrayed four working class women as friends in a Winnipeg curling club. That pilot starred Patty Duke, Lolita Davidovich, Caroline Néron, Stephanie Mills and Barbara Radecki.

Kirstine Stewart, general manager of CBC Television, said the pubcaster is eyeing other possible Canadian movie-to-TV adaptations, including Bon Cop, Bad Cop, to exploit a built-in audience for a series launch.

Men with Brooms is a known entity, and it’s nice to build on that. It did have a special home-town feel,’ Stewart said.

The CBC has also enlisted Shaftesbury Films to do a separate pilot for a one hour action adventure series entitled Tangled, to be showrun Phil Bedard and Larry Lalonde (The Listener) and to feature a female lead.

Stewart said the CBC continues to build on its audience dominance of Global Television, as it edges towards CTV.

‘We’re solidly number two — CTV, CBC then Global. We’ve been building on audiences, and diversifying our portfolio,’ she said.