During a virtual upfront presentation today, CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, revealed its 2021-22 slate of original programming for CBC TV and CBC Gem, featuring over 35 new and returning original series from Canadian creators, producers and storytellers across all genres.
“As we look ahead to a new broadcast year, we remain focused on serving all Canadians by delivering what no other media company in Canada can offer all in one place: the essential information audiences rely on each and every day, and authentic, engaging entertainment that reflects the diverse, fascinating spirit of our country,” said Barbara Williams, Executive Vice-President, CBC.
“Our new slate of original programming is an embodiment of our promise to better represent and reflect more people, places and perspectives across the country in new ways, and we look forward to sharing this remarkable range of Canadian storytelling,” said Sally Catto, General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports, CBC.
The new east coast family dramedy Moonshine and the 1920s drama The Porter will join returning Canadian dramas Coroner, Diggstown, Heartland, Murdoch Mysteries, and Pretty Hard Cases.
CBC will continue to build its award-winning comedy slate with four new original series: Andrew Phung’s Run the Burbs; Son of a Critchfrom Mark Critch; Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo’s dramatic comedy Sort Of;and Strays starring Nicole Power; with Tallboz, This Hour Has 22 Minutesfeaturing new cast member Aba Amuquandohand Workin’ Moms renewed for new seasons.
Bay of Fundy sand sculpture series RACE AGAINST THE TIDE with Shaun Majumder joins returning factual shows ARCTIC VETS, DRAGONS’ DEN featuring new Dragon Wes Hall, FAMILY FEUD CANADA with Gerry Dee, THE GREAT CANADIAN BAKING SHOW and STILL STANDING with Jonny Harris.
CBC Gem continues to offer a distinct slate of short-form original series including more JENSPLAINING, NEXT STOP and TRUE DATING STORIES and new series FRICK I LOVE NATURE, HELLO (AGAIN) from Nathalie Younglai and Simu Liu, REVENGE OF THE BLACK BEST FRIEND from Amanda Parris, and WHO DO YOU THINK I AM? starring Madison Tevlin.
CBC will also feature the BBC limited series A SUITABLE BOY from director Mira Nair and Season 2 of international hit WAR OF THE WORLDS this fall.
New CBC original television comedy and drama series announced today for the 2021-22 season include:
SORT OF (Premieres Tues. Oct. 5 on CBC Gem and Tues. Nov. 9 on CBC TV; 8×30, Sphere Media’s Sienna Films)
From creators Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha) and Fab Filippo (Save Me), is a big-hearted dramatic comedy about Sabi Mehboob (Baig), a fluid millennial who straddles various identities from sexy bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar, to the youngest child in a large Pakistani family, to the de facto parent of a downtown hipster family. Sabi feels like they’re in transition in every aspect of their life, from gender to love to sexuality to family to career. When Sabi’s best friend 7ven (Amanda Cordner) presents them with an opportunity to live and find themself in the “queerest place in the galaxy,” Sabi instead makes the decision to stay and care for the kids they nanny after their mom has a serious bike accident. Do they regret it? Sort of. A coming-of-age story, Sort Of is a show about how each and every one of us is in transition.
STRAYS (Premieres Tues. Sept. 14 on CBC TV and CBC Gem; 10×30, Thunderbird Entertainment)
Follows Shannon Ross (Nicole Power) from Kim’s Convenience as the new executive director of the Hamilton East Animal Shelter, where she is boss to an eclectic staff. Now in her 30s, Shannon is ready for a change and new challenges. She’s putting Toronto in the rearview to focus on her new job, new relationships, reuniting with family and learning more about herself. Shannon’s trademark positivity is put to the test as she manages an oddball team, including her apathetic cousin Nikki (Nikki Duval), her over-eager animal care manager Kristian (Frank Cox O’Connell), her overly sheltered office manager Joy (Tina Jung) and the building’s maintenance guy Paul (Tony Nappo), whose straight-faced prison humour keeps everyone on their toes.
Created by comedian, writer and actor Andrew Phung (Kim’s Convenience) and his best friend and collaborator, filmmaker Scott Townend (The Secret Marathon). The series follows a young, bold Canadian family taking a different approach to living life to the fullest in the suburbs, featuring Phung as a stay-at-home dad with an entrepreneur wife and two kids.
SON OF A CRITCH (Winter 2022; 13×30, Project 10 Productions)
Based on the award-winning, best-selling memoir from Mark Critch (This Hour Has 22 Minutes), created by Critch and Tim McAuliffe (The Office (U.S.), Last Man on Earth) and produced by Andrew Barnsley (Schitt’s Creek). This new original comedy is the hilarious and very real story of 11-year-old Mark coming of age in St. John’s, Newfoundland in the 80s. It’s a heartfelt window into the life of a child – much older inside than his 11 years – using comedy and self-deprecation to win friends and connect with the small collection of people in his limited world.
MOONSHINE (Premieres Tues. Sept. 14; 8×60; Six Eleven Media and eOne)
From creator, showrunner and executive producer Sheri Elwood (Call Me Fitz), is a raucous, one-hour dramedy that tells the story of the Finley-Cullens, a dysfunctional clan of adult half-siblings battling for control of the ancestral business, The Moonshine, a ramshackle summer resort on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, two stars on a good day — and that day was in 1979. It’s an epic tale of lust, legacy and lobster, set against the backdrop of financial hardship, insane tourists, small-town intrigue and a long-buried secret that threatens to annihilate the Finley-Cullens once and for all. Featuring an ensemble cast including Jennifer Finnigan (Salvation), Anastasia Phillips (Reign), Emma Hunter (Mr. D), Tom Stevens (Wayward Pines), Alexander Nunez (Avocado Toast), Corrine Koslo (Anne with an E), Peter MacNeill (This Life), Erin Darke (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Farid Yazdani (Suits), Allegra Fulton (The Shape of Water) and Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s).
THE PORTER (A CBC and BET+ original series; Winter 2022; 8×60; Inferno Pictures and Sphere Media’s Sienna Films)
Set in the 1920s and inspired by real events. Co-starring Aml Ameen (I May Destroy You, Yardie), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Star Trek: Discovery, Pretty Hard Cases) and Mouna Traoré (Self Made, The Umbrella Academy), the series follows the true story of railway workers from both Canada and the United States joining together in the fight to give birth to the world’s first Black union. In the midst of the struggle there are loves lives and friendships that suffer and thrive. Set primarily in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit as the world rebuilds after the First World War, The Porter focuses on the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal – known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North.” They’re young, gifted, and Black, from Canada, the Caribbean and the U.S., and they find themselves thrown together in an era that boasts anything is possible. If change isn’t coming for them, they will come for it. Originated and created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon, Travelers) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2, Cardinal), and led by showrunners and executive producers Annmarie Morais (Killjoys, Ransom, American Soul) and Marsha Greene (Private Eyes, Ten Days In The Valley, Mary Kills People), and directors and executive producers Charles Officer (Akilla’s Escape, Ransom, Coroner) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot, Utopia Falls).
THE RED (New greenlight, one-hour drama; Eagle Vision and Halfire Entertainment)
A fictional investigative series created and written by Canadian Métis director, writer and producer Marie Clements and inspired by real crimes. The Red follows Payton Thiso (Sarah Podemski) and Gia Jonsson (Sarah Gadon), two women from completely different backgrounds, who find themselves thrown together inside the newly formed Indigenous Task Force, looking for answers while unearthing the systemic racism within the criminal and social justice systems. Can these broken systems be fixed? Or do we need to build new systems from scratch?
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.