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CBC unveils 40 new and returning series, expands FAST channels business

Canada’s public broadcaster the CBC has unveiled a slate of more than 40 new and returning series for its 2023/24 broadcast season, in addition to expanding its presence in the FAST space with the launch of a pair of new channels.

Barbara Williams

On the drama front, the pubcaster’s new commissions include a pair of police procedurals, Allegiance and Wild Cards.

Allegiance (10×60’), from Lark Productions, follows a rookie cop who finds herself torn between family loyalties and her job when her father, a public minister, is arrested on terror charges. It is created by Anar Ali (Transplant), with Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern (Flashpoint, X Company) serving as co-showrunners. Universal International Studios is the international distributor.

Wild Card (10×60’), produced by Piller/Segan, John Morayniss’s Blink49 Studios and Front Street Pictures, is a crime-solving procedural with a comedic twist, following the unlikely duo of a gruff, sardonic cop and a bubbly, clever con woman. The creative team includes Michael Konyves (creator/exec producer), Shawn Piller (exec producer), Noelle Carbone (head writer, exec producer) and James Genn (pilot director, exec producer).

Also new on the drama side is Blackberry (3×60’, Rhombus Media and Zapruder Films), about the rise and fall of the world’s first smartphone. The project is co-written by Matt Johnson and Matthew Miller and adapted from the book Losing the Signal by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff. Jay Baruchel (This Is The End, Knocked Up) will star alongside Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).

CBC also greenlit period drama Bones of Crows (5×60’), produced by Marie Clements Media, Screen Siren Pictures and Grana Productions, which follows a Cree musical prodigy who, along with her siblings, is removed from her family home and forced into Canada’s residential school system. It is written, directed and produced by Marie Clements.

Dramas returning to CBC’s line-up in the fall include Heartland (season 17, Dynamo Films and Seven24 Films), Murdoch Mysteries (S17, Shaftesbury) and Skymed (S2, Piazza Entertainment), in addition to Moonshine (S3, Six Eleven Media, eOne), which returns in July.

On the comedy front, CBC ordered One More Time (13×30’, Counterfeit Pictures), a workplace comedy about a fictionalised and distorted version of creator DJ Demers (The Tonight Show, Conan) as the hearing-impaired manager of a second-hand sporting goods store.

The pubcaster also handed third-season renewals to Sort Of (Sphere Media), Run the Burbs (Pier 21 Films) and Son of a Critch (Project 10 Productions), while also recommissioning This Hour Has 22 Minutes (S31, IoM Media) and The New Wave of Standup (S2-3, Just For Laughs TV).

CBC commissioned factual entertainment series The Great Canadian Pottery Throwdown (8×60’), produced by Frantic Films. Based on the UK series The Great Pottery Throw Down, the series will follow some of Canada’s top potters as they undertake tricky challenges and make beautiful creations as they vie to be crowned champion. The project is set to premiere in early 2024.

The broadcaster’s slate of returning factual formats and series includes Race Against the Tide (Marblemedia), Dragons’ Den, Family Feud Canada (Zone 3, Fremantle), The Great Canadian Baking Show (Proper Television, Love Productions), Still Standing (Frantic Films), Best in Miniature (Marblemedia), Bollywed (HeartHat Entertainment), Push (Fenix Film & Television, Small Army Entertainment), Canada’s Ultimate Challenge (Insight Productions, The Gurin Company) and Stuff the British Stole (Wooden Horse, WildBear Entertainment, Cream Productions).

Newly commissioned originals for SVoD platform CBC Gem include mystery drama The Bannocking (6×10’, Bad Bannock Productions); I Hate People, People Hate Me (6×15’, LoCo Motion Pictures), about two friends navigating their lives as outliers in Toronto’s queer community; and How to Fail as a Popstar (8×15’, Sphere Media), based on Vivek Shraya’s hit play about a queer brown boy trying to achieve stardom in Edmonton.

Forthcoming docuseries from the pubcaster include Black Life: Untold Stories (8×60, Studio 112 in association with Northwood Entertainment and Ugly Duck Productions) and Telling Our Story (4×60’, Terre Innue).

On the FAST front, CBC is launching the CBC Comedy channel, which will feature current CBC shows including Run the Burbs, Son of a Critch and Sort Of, in addition to off-air shows such as Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience, Baroness Von Sketch Show and Tallboyz, and stand-up comedy specials.

This marks the first time CBC has launched a FAST channel dedicated to scripted programming. The pubcaster is also launching a FAST channel dedicated to news from British Columbia.

“As we announce our new slate of remarkable storytelling, we remain focused on serving Canadians on the platform of their choice and offering what no other media company in this country can: the essential information audiences rely on each and every day, and authentic entertainment that reflects the changing face of Canada,” said CBC’s exec VP Barbara Williams.

“We’re different. We stand apart from others, just as strong and just as significant. We want all Canadians to see CBC as their thing – as a Canada thing that makes everyone feel they belong, regardless of their age, background or location.”

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