Back in January I attended a TCA press tour dinner in Pasadena presented by the Hallmark Channel. The cable network likes to mix the press in with the stars from their upcoming family movie offerings. There at one table sat the great Ed Asner.
I walked over and said hello to the TV legend. He’s 85 now, and while he brandishes a cane, he’s still gruff and lovable Lou Grant.
I caught up to him again at the end of the evening as he lined up for his limo and mentioned how much I liked him in the CBC comedy Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays. Asner played the shrink who sorted out the shrink (Bob Martin). Asner smiled and then said, “Yeah–they’re supposedly bringing it back.”
My heart sank. The man has Alzheimers, or perhaps early on-set Dementia. Nobody brings back a series with ratings that low cancelled three full seasons ago.
Not so fast, Mary. Seems newsman Lou was handing me a scoop: Wednesday, CBC confirmed Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays will be part of its 2015-16 season. Season Two will pick up five years later. Guess you can never have enough therapy.
I thought the one and only season of Michael was smart, funny and really well made. It was, however, almost completely ignored by CBC viewers. There’s a saying in television that the viewers are always right, so while I’ll look forward to Season Two, I’m puzzled why this isn’t being revived on a premium cable service such as HBO Canada (home of Martin’s more recent series, Sensitive Skin). If this was a hockey move, it would be like giving this Leafs team 30 more games to make the playoffs.
CBC also announced that Being Erica, Little Mosque and Not My Department! are back. No they did not. Not yet.
Instead, Da Vinci’s Inquest creator Chris Haddock will return to the network with the new Vancouver-based espionage thriller The Romeo Section. Its apparently about a veteran agent who seeks to recruit a high-value informant. Hopefully she’s a pregnant woman so I can call this The Romeo C Section. Haddock is a brilliant storyteller and has been off the air too long, so welcome back.
There’s plenty more to the release. There’s something called New Address but that might just be about where CBC is moving to. Based on Ins Choi’s award-winning play, Kim’s Convenience is a new comedy set in Toronto’s Regent Park. There are a couple of new reality shows and a sketch show. Schitt’s Creek will be back, as previously announced. Murdoch and Heartland are back of course, as are Mercer, Dragon’s Den, 22 Minutes and Mr. D. CBC is now partners with Rogers on Bruce McCullough’s Young Drunk Punk. This show trading is starting to look like an NHL deadline kind of dealio. There’s word CBC will also pick up Super Channel’s When Calls the Heart as a summer series. Seems like a good fit behind Heartland.
X Company, which pulled 717,000 overnight, estimated viewers Feb. 25, gets a second season. There’s no mention of Ascension in the CBC release, so looks like it’s grounded.
Gone is Strange Empire and John Doyle’s not happy about it. The series certainly seemed to fulfill the new gang’s darker, edgier mandate. It lost 70% of its hefty Murdoch lead every week, however. That will get you yanked off any schedule. Here seems to be another opportunity, however, for HBO Canada to poach a series that got the full CBC billboard treatment.