Being Erica ‘built to compete’

Temple Street bosses say time-traveling therapy series is designed to hold up against U.S. shows, drawing co-viewing men and women to CBC

In the works for about two years, CBC’s comedic drama Being Erica started out with a young girl who could go back in time, via her grandma’s paintings, to the 1920s, and morphed into a story about a woman who relives key moments from her own life through time-travelling sessions with a therapist.

The series from Jana Sinyor (Dark Oracle) is due to join the Ceeb schedule this mid-season, and is ‘built to compete with American network dramas,’ says Ivan Schneeberg of Temple Street Productions.

‘It’s a universal theme, wanting to go back,’ says Schneeberg, who exec produces with Sinyor, Aaron Martin of Degrassi: The Next Generation fame and his Temple Street (How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?) co-president David Fortier. ‘The challenges are always in the writing when it comes to making a time-travel piece work… It’s about attention to detail.’

It would also appear to be about building on the success CBC had last season with its quirky and female-aimed comedy Sophie.

‘We got a sense [the CBC] was looking for something that was less male-skewed, and without too much edge — more family viewing, primetime, network family viewing,’ says Fortier, though he referred any further questions on positioning to the network. CBC, as usual, is keeping quiet on the show until closer to its debut in January.

Women aged 20 to 40 are the show’s primary demographic, but Schneeberg expects strong male characters and universal themes to bring ‘a lot of co-viewing, with men enjoying it as much as women.’

Being Erica, originally titled The Session, delves into the life of over-educated but underachieving Erica Strange, played by The L Word‘s Erin Karpluk.

‘Erica’s one of these women who was supposed to make it — she had all the right friends, she did all the right things — but now in her own mind she doesn’t have anything going on,’ says Fortier.

Her therapist, played by This Is Wonderland‘s Michael Riley, has the power to send Erica back in time to moments she’s always regretted. Ethan, Erica’s best friend, is played by Wonderfalls‘ Tyron Leitso, who posted his audition on YouTube.

Shooting on a ‘healthy’ budget at Temple Street until December, the 13 one-hour episodes are expected to air starting in January. BBC Worldwide, which recently bought a 25% stake in Temple, is handling international distribution.