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Denette Wilford

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CBC Brings Out the Big Guns This Winter

Posted: 11/14/2012 1:40 pm

Can you believe it's almost winter? One of the telltale signs -- aside from the Christmas lights, holiday music and bitter, brutal cold -- is when networks begin to promote their midseason shows. That's what CBC did Tuesday at a special event on the set of "George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight." And so it begins...

Unlike the spectacle we saw at the public broadcaster's fall upfronts, the presentation for the midseason schedule was much more subdued, but that doesn't mean it was any less extravagant. The media milled around with the talent, and it was a little unnerving sitting behind Rick Mercer, new "Best Recipes Ever" host Christine Tizzard, beside the cast of "Mr. D," and across from David Sutcliffe (Rory's dad! Oh, and the star of the upcoming "Cracked") and Murdoch himself, Yannick Bisson. But that's CBC's charm, showcasing the best and brightest stars while making content key.

"I think it's a real testament to the fact that Canadians want to watch Canadian television," Kirstine Stewart, executive vice president of English Services, CBC, said at Tuesday's presentation. "We had so many popular shows on the CBC. It's great because it really proves -- not just to us and to Canadians, but the whole system -- that this is actually something that can work. That we can actually put together great Canadian programming and Canadians come to watch it."

Stewart added: "We find that what we're doing at CBC is actually resonating with people and what's important to us. As we go forward, as we face challenges year after year, in terms of reduced funding, reduced resources, we have been able to try and find ways to reach more Canadians than ever before and I think it's incredibly important, given that Canadians want Canadian programming, that they actually have the opportunity to connect with it whichever way they want."

For its midseason schedule, CBC moves "Republic of Doyle" to a new night, adds the much-anticipated crime-drama "Cracked" to its lineup, and brings a touch of the past to the network with "Murdoch Mysteries" (its freshman year on the CBC; it's sixth season overall).

We'll also see the returns of "Mr. D" and "Arctic Air," and new episodes of "Dragon's Den" and "Heartland." Canadians, if you thought CBC's fall schedule was huge, things just got a whole lot bigger.

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  • Laura Vandervoort

    Vandervoort's sexy star has been rising for years, ever since she appeared on "Smallville" back in the day. She'll be starring in Space's new werewolf show, "Bitten," which arrives in the fall/winter.

  • Nina Dobrev

    Another "Degrassi" alum, Bulgarian-born actress Nina Dobrev originally played baby mama Mia Jones on the Canadian teen soap. Dobrev also had small roles in some big features like "Away From Her" and "Chloe" before getting her big break on TV with "The Vampire Diaries." As both Elena Gilbert and Katherine Pierce, Dobrev has broken hearts -- and veins -- on the drama, which has sent her straight to superstardom.

  • Tatiana Maslany

    We haven't seen the last of Maslany -- her star is on the rise. She won a Critics' Choice Award this year for "Orphan Black," and won a Sundance Film Festival award years ago for her breakout role. This awards trend is probably just the beginning.

  • Steve Amell

    As the lead on "Arrow," Amell is breaking hearts and dropping jaws when he shows his trademark washboard abs. Expect more of that when Season 2 rolls around.

  • Joshua Jackson

    Once known for playing the adorable Pacey Witter on "Dawson's Creek," Joshua Jackson is now on to bigger and better things ... or at least more supernatural ones. The actor played Peter Bishop on "Fringe," which just ended a few months ago.

  • Rachelle Lefevre

    Lefevre was originally popular for her role on "Twilight," but she's moved on to bigger and better things -- most recently, a starring role on hit show "Under The Dome."

  • William Shatner

    The Shat! The international icon came to prominence as Captain Kirk on "Star Trek," but really, what aspect of pop culture has he not invaded and made his own? As Shatner on the big or small screen, as T.J. Hooker, as Denny Crane, as any number of the characters he's played over the course of a 50-year career, Shatner is really just Shatner. That's not to take away from his distinctive skills, it's just our way of saluting a presence so outsized and ham-tastic that no mere screen, book, convention stage or universe can contain it.

  • Anna Silk

    She's been a guest star on dozens of Canadian series, including "Being Erica," but Silk made her biggest splash with the addictive supernatural drama "Lost Girl," which airs on both sides of the border. Her spunky portrayal of the succubus Bo is extremely enjoyable, as is Bo's banter with Kenzi (Ksenia Solo) and her sexy affairs with Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) and Lauren (Zoie Palmer).

  • Jessica Pare

    The "Mad Men" hottie stole the show by singing "Zou Bisou Bisou" in the Season 5 premiere, and throughout the rest of that season, her character Megan wielded some significant sexual power over Don Draper. In Season 6, she took a back seat, but she still wields some sort of power over Don.

  • Nathan Fillion

    Women swoon for this guy -- fans of "Castle" know what we're talking about.

  • Cobie Smulders

    Best-known for playing Robin Scherbatsky on "How I Met Your Mother," Cobie Smulders is talented, witty and charming. And the fact that her character was once a Canadian teenage popstar is kind of awesome.

  • Anna Paquin

    Who would have thought this Oscar-winning actress could transition so smoothly into television? She did, and she's not going anywhere. People love Sookie Stackhouse from "True Blood," even though she's a fairy vampire-lover.

  • Jason Priestley

    Most people know Priestley as the iconic Brandon Walsh from the original "Beverly Hills, 90210." Since then, he's certainly grown up and on -- starring in multiple series including "Haven" and "Medium" -- and was the lead on critically-acclaimed Canadian series "Call Me Fitz." He's moved on to directing (he's doing a few Canadian shows this year), and has even done some stage work in Toronto, in a play called "Race."

  • Elisha Cuthbert

    We'll admit it, we enjoyed making fun of Cuthbert's infamous cougar run-in on "24." But the days of her time in the Bauer clan are long past, and Cuthbert has ably reinvented herself as a ditzy comedienne in the recently cancelled comedy "Happy Endings." We'll see what comes next.

  • Cory Monteith

    Even non-"Glee" fans love this Canadian cutie. He's sweet, charming and he literally exudes the boy-next-door vibe.

  • Jordan Gavaris

    Gavaris has burst onto the scene as the awesome Felix on "Orphan Black." Virtually unknown before, he's leaped into stardom.

  • Will Arnett

    A favourite across the continent, and probably across the globe, Arnett recently returned to Netflix on "Arrested Development." Naturally funny and a great actor, he's pretty hard to look at without laughing.

  • Erica Durance

    Following in Kristin Kreuk's alliterative footsteps on "Smallville," Durance scored the iconic role of Lois Lane opposite Tom Welling's Clark Kent. She currently appears on "Saving Hope" with Michael Shanks and Daniel Gillies.

  • Grace Park

    From the moment we met Park's character Sharon on "Battlestar Galactica," we knew she was going to be around for a while. Post-"BSG" she was on "The Border" until its cancellation, and currently she's still starring in "Hawaii Five-O" -- though in a lesser capacity.

  • Kristin Kreuk

    Best known for playing Lana Lang, Clark Kent's high school sweetheart on "Smallville," and Laurel Yeung on "Edgemont," both filmed in her native Vancouver. Kreuk currently stars as Catherine Chandler in the reboot of "Beauty and the Beast," which films in Toronto.

  • Howie Mandel

    Everyone loves Howie! Enough to the point that he has his own show "Howie Do It," and he also helmed a six-part series entitled "Take It All."

  • Alison Pill

    Pill has had an upswing over the last year, snagging a starring role in HBO's "The Newsroom." Her upstart eagerness isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the woman has fans. We're not sure how much her topless Twitter pic helped.

  • Adam Beach

    Frequently referred to as "that hot Canadian actor," Adam Beach has been raking in the female accolades on CBC series "Arctic Air."

  • Amanda Tapping

    "Stargate" fans will tell you how amazing Tapping is, both onscreen and off. She also grabbed more rabid followers with her 4-year stint on the recently cancelled "Sanctuary." Not to worry, folks, we're sure she has countless roles to come.

  • Sandra Oh

    Sandra Oh started her Hollywood career on feature films ranging from "Bean" to "Under the Tuscan Sun" to "Sideways." But she really broke out on the small screen. First, she played Rita Wu on HBO's "Arli$$" and then, she went on to star as Christina Yang on the hit medical drama "Grey's Anatomy." The latter performance has earned her a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and five Emmy nominations.

  • Martin Short

    "Canada's Got Talent" may be finito, but Martin Short is still one of the funniest comedians around. He had a multi-episode arc as Marshall's boss on "How I Met Your Mother."

  • Jewel Staite

    After appearing in a number of family shows such as "Space Cases," "Higher Ground" and "Flash Forward" (not <em>that </em>one), Staite became a genre staple with roles on "Firefly" and "Stargate: Atlantis." She has roles on "The Killing" and "The Listener."

  • Kiefer Sutherland

    Sutherland has been in Hollywood since he was a young buck, and he shows no signs of tiring. As the star of "24," he garnered a major cult following, and his latest venture "Touch" was recenty cancelled. But don't worry, just wait until "24: Live Another Day" starts up.

  • Missy Peregrym

    This understated beauty has been carrying "Rookie Blue" for four seasons. It's about time she gets her due.

  • Sarah Chalke

    From "Roseanne" to "Scrubs" to "Cougar Town" and "How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life," Chalke has been on the TV scene for quite some time. Despite the latter's cancellation, we're sure she'll be back on the small screen in no time.

  • Tricia Helfer

    She was that amazingly hot Cylon in the red dress on "Battlestar Galactica" -- at first. Helfer soon proved her versatility by playing a variety of Number 6 characters, and after that show ended, she got steady work as a cast member or guest star on everything from "Chuck" to "The Firm." We enjoy seeing her on our screen regularly, and she'll be in a starring role on "Killer Women," coming in the fall.

  • Aaron Ashmore

    You probably know his twin brother Shawn from the movie franchise "X-Men," but Aaron has popped up here and there on TV. He played Jimmy Olsen on "Smallville" for several seasons, and has appeared on "Warehouse 13" and "In Plain Sight." Our fave recent role of his, though, was as Nate on "Lost Girl."

  • Shawn Ashmore

    Ashmore is a veteran of the small and big screens, and is undoubtedly one of Canada's most successful actors. He has a starring role on hit show "The Following" at the moment.

  • Matthew Perry

    It's Chandler Bing! After 10 years playing a funnyman on "Friends," Matthew Perry has appeared on "The Good Wife" and starred in NBC's "Go On," which was cancelled a few months ago.

  • Enrico Colantoni

    This lovable bundle of fatherly charisma was an absolute favourite on "Veronica Mars," and moved on to more notoriety on "Flashpoint" and "Person Of Interest." He's currently working on the "Veronica Mars" reboot.

  • Eric McCormack

    Toronto-born-and-raised McCormack was the calm voice of reason on "Will & Grace," and starting in the fall he'll be starring in Season 2 of "Perception," where he plays Daniel Pierce, an eccentric neuroscientist who helps solve crimes.

  • Kim Coates

    Ever the character, Coates is well-known throughout the country. His most recent role on "Sons Of Anarchy" has ensured an entirely new generation of fans. He will also be appearing on "Crossing Lines," set to premiere on CBC in the fall.

  • Kris Holden-Ried

    We had to include Holden-Ried on this list, mainly because of his steamy role on "Lost Girl."

  • Shay Mitchell

    For the past three years, Mitchell has been working magic in her breakout role on "Pretty Little Liars."

  • Yannick Bisson

    No, no, he doesn't wear mascara or eyeliner. Those are his natural eyelashes! Bisson is a man's man, and brings in the ladies with his charm on "Murdoch Mysteries."

  • Zoie Palmer

    Best-known for her role as Dr. Lauren Lewis on "Lost Girl," Palmer is technically a Brit, but we'll count her as a Canadian.

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Here's CBC's midseason lineup, beginning Jan. 6 (all times in ET):

SUNDAYS
7 p.m. "Heartland"
8 p.m. "Dragons' Den"
9 p.m. "Republic of Doyle"

MONDAYS
8 p.m. "Mr. D"
8:30 p.m. "The Ron James Show"
9 p.m. "Murdoch Mysteries"

TUESDAYS
8 p.m. "The Rick Mercer Report"
9 p.m. "Cracked"

WEDNESDAYS
8 p.m. "March to the Top" (debuts Jan. 30)
9 p.m. "Arctic Air"

THURSDAYS
8 p.m. "The Nature of Things"

FRIDAYS
8 p.m. "Marketplace"
9 p.m. "the fifth estate"

 

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