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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

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  • 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

    Maslany is one of the biggest stars on TV right now. She's won a Critics' Choice Award two years in a row for her multiple roles on "Orphan Black," and she was nominated for a Golden Globe. More to come for this awesome Canadian actress.

  • 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 3 starts up in the fall.

  • 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 finished up last year.

  • 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 co-stars 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 wielded some sort of power over Don. Now, after the end of Season 7 Pt. 1, we may have seen the last of Megan.

  • 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. We also can't forget her incredibly popular turn as Maria Hill in 'The Avengers' movies.

  • Anna Paquin

    Who would have thought this Oscar-winning actress could transition so smoothly into television? But she did! People love Sookie Stackhouse from "True Blood," but they'll only have one more season to enjoy her, since the show wraps after this current one.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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

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  • 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 and public break-up with fellow Canadian Jay Baruchel helped.

  • Adam Beach

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  • 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," and he can currently be seen on TV commercials.

  • 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 one of his latest ventures, "Touch," was cancelled. But don't worry, "24: Live Another Day" has been killin' it so far.

  • Missy Peregrym

    This understated beauty has been carrying "Rookie Blue" for five seasons. She just got married in a secret ceremony.

  • 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, so it's too bad her latest project, "Killer Women," was axed so quickly.

  • 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 roles of his, though, were as Nate on "Lost Girl" and Steve on "Warehouse 13."

  • 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.

  • Kim Cattrall

    Yes, it's true, this "Sex And The City" actress was born in the U.K., but she moved to Canada as an infant, so we're counting her as a Canadian.

  • 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 last year. Look for him next in "The Odd Couple," a rehash of the original series.

  • 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 just finished up the "Veronica Mars" reboot, and can be seen on hit medical drama "Remedy."

  • Eric McCormack

    Toronto-born-and-raised McCormack was the calm voice of reason on "Will & Grace," and starting in the fall he's currently starring in Season 3 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 also appeared on "Crossing Lines," which premiered on CBC last 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 five seasons, Mitchell has been working magic in her breakout role as Emily 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, just for today.

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  • The Rock

    Yes, Dwayne Johnson's father is Nova Scotia-born wrestler Rocky Johnson. As the <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/thehero/14-things-you-didnt-know-about-the-rock" target="_blank">first generation child of a Canadian, Johnson is eligible for Canadian citizenship</a>. Johnson also played in the CFL for the Calgary Stampeders during the 1995 season, but was cut after two months.

  • James Doohan

    Scottie was totally from Vancouver.

  • Emmanuelle Chriqui

    The "Entourage" star was born in Montreal.

  • Frank Gehry

    The world-famous architect was born in Toronto.

  • Rick Fox

    The former NBA star was born in Toronto.

  • Norm Macdonald

    The comedian is from Quebec City. Bonus points if you knew his brother is CBC journalist Neil Macdonald.

  • Nathan Fillion

    The "Castle" and "Firefly" star was born in Edmonton.

  • Ted Cruz

    The potential Republican presidential nominee was born in Calgary. However, because his mother is American, U.S. officials have ruled that he <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/05/19/cruz-eligible-presidential-run/" target="_blank">would be eligible to run for the presidency</a>.

  • Men Without Hats

    That's right, "Safety Dance" came from a Montreal group.

----

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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