CBC Upfront Announces 2020-21 Original Programming Slate


During a virtual upfront presentation today, CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, revealed its 2020-21 slate of original programming. The fall schedule will feature 1300 new hours for television spanning 22 new and returning series across all genres.

“These remarkable times have strengthened the truly unique role CBC serves as Canada’s most-trusted media brand, with record audiences turning to us for news and entertainment on all platforms in recent months,” said Barbara Williams, Executive Vice-President, CBC. “Looking ahead to fall and beyond, CBC is committed to serving Canadians across the country as no other broadcaster can by delivering distinct new programming and perspectives audiences won’t find anywhere else. This includes both new and returning series and a confirmed fall schedule that responds to emerging trends for more entertainment and escapism, along with storytelling that offers inspiration, comfort and connection to others.”

Some returning favorites to the CBC schedule (which can be seen below) include This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Workin’ Moms, Coroner, Still Standing, Kim’s Convenience, Murdoch Mysteries, Frankie Drake Mysteries, Tallboyz and Heartland. Also, as previously announced, the fifth and final season of Baroness von Sketch Show will air this fall.

In the reality arena, new seasons of The Great Canadian Baking Show, Family Feud Canada, Dragon’s Den and Battle of the Blades will air.

New CBC original television comedy and drama series announced today for the 2020-21 season include:

ENSLAVED (6×60 Documentary, Associated Producers/A CBC Gem and documentary channel co-production with Epix in the United States) : 

A blue-chip documentary series led by Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Canadian filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici (The Naked Archaeologist) that charts the history of slavery through underwater archaeology. The series coincides with the 400-year anniversary of the first African brought to the New World as a slave, and will retrace the harrowing sea voyage that brought millions to a life of slavery. Enslaved  is produced by Felix Golubev and Ric Bienstock and executive produced by Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Jackson, Eli Selden, Rob Lee, Simcha Jacobovici and Yaron Niski. International distribution by Fremantle.

ORANGEVILLE PREP (6×30 Factual, Orangeville Hoops Inc.)

 A character-driven factual series that offers an inside look at the competitive, high-pressure world of basketball’s most successful preparatory program. Tucked away on farmland in Orangeville, Ontario lies the sport’s best kept secret – The Athlete Institute (AI). This high school basketball program has produced more Division 1 College and NBA players in the last five years than any other program in the world. 

THE SOUNDS (8×60 Drama, Canada/New Zealand co-production, Shaftesbury and South Pacific Pictures)

A striking take on the relationship-driven thriller. Welcome to Pelorus Sounds, New Zealand – the sleepy settlement where nothing, including the visiting Cabbotts, is quite what it seems. Grieving wives, cheating husbands, epic embezzlement and historic crime all collide to weave a complicated web stretching through the Sounds’ hidden valleys and deep waters. Created by New Zealand-based author Sarah-Kate Lynch and directed by Peter Stebbings (Frankie Drake MysteriesThe Disappearance), the series stars Rachelle Lefevre (Mary Kills People, Under the Dome) as Maggie Cabbott and Matt Whelan (Narcos, The Luminaries) as Tom Cabbott. 

TRICKSTER (6×60 Drama, Streel Films and Sienna Films)

Based on the best-selling novel Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson, with CBC confirming today that it has been renewed for a second season. Starring newcomer Joel Oulette, this unique series is created by award-winning filmmaker Michelle Latimer (RISE, Nuuca) and Tony Elliott (Orphan Black), and directed by  Latimer. Oulette plays Jared, an Indigenous teen struggling to keep his dysfunctional family above water, holding down an after-school job and selling ecstasy to support his partying mom, Maggie (Crystle Lightning), who self-medicates an undiagnosed mental illness, and his unemployable dad, Phil (Craig Lauzon) and his new girlfriend. But when Jared starts seeing strange things — talking ravens, doppelgängers, skin monsters— his already chaotic life is turned upside down. Additional cast includes Kalani Queypo (Jamestown), Anna Lambe (The Grizzlies), Joel Thomas Hynes (Little Dog), Gail Maurice (Cardinal) and Georgina Lightning (Blackstone).

WAR OF THE WORLDS (8×60 Drama, UK/France, Urban Myth Films in association with StudioCanal and Fox Networks Group)

CBC will offer the exclusive Canadian premiere of this new series written and created by BAFTA award-winner Howard Overman (Misfits, Crazyhead, Merlin), based on the timeless story by H.G. Wells and starring Gabriel Byrne (In Treatment), Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey), and Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People). When astronomers detect a transmission from another galaxy, it is definitive proof of intelligent extraterrestrial life. Further contact comes quickly, and within days, mankind is all but wiped out by a devastating attack; pockets of humanity are left in an eerily deserted world.

LADY DICKS (10×60 Drama, Cameron Pictures)

A fun and honest portrayal of two radically different female detectives in their early 40s. The buddy cop drama series follows Guns and Gangs detective, Samantha (Meredith MacNeill, Baroness von Sketch Show) and Drug Squad detective, Kelly (Adrienne C. Moore, Orange is the New Black), who by day are true action heroes in their own particular way: skilled, tough, determined, and ruthless. But by night, they’re both grappling with loneliness, dysfunctional families, screwed-up love lives, and a sense that their professional ambitions may not be totally in line with their personal needs. Their friendship could help to balance each other out, if only they didn’t drive one another utterly insane. Lady Dicks is co-created by Tassie Cameron (Mary Kills People, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue, The Robber Bride) and Sherry White (Little Dog, Frontier, Ten Days in the Valley, Rookie Blue).

ARCTIC VETS (10×30 Factual, eOne)

Takes viewers up close with the remarkable wildlife that inhabits Canada’s frozen north and the team of veterinarians that works tirelessly to keep them safe. With around 40 patients per week, no two days are the same for the team at Assiniboine Park Arctic Animal Hospital in Manitoba. From muskox to seals, wolverines to reindeer, treating Arctic animals is often dangerous, but always rewarding. Whether they’re performing life-saving surgery on a polar bear, or tending to a snowy owl with a broken wing, the mission of the vet team is the same – save the lives of sick and injured Arctic species. 

CBC’s Fall 2020 Primetime Schedule:


7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*

8 PM – THE SOUNDS *New Drama Series*

9 PM – PURE *Season 2*



7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*



9 PM – BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW *Season 5 – Finale Season*

9:30 PM – CATASTROPHE *Seasons 3 and 4*/ HA!IFAX COMEDY FEST



7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*

8 PM – WAR OF THE WORLDS *Exclusive Canadian Premiere*

9 PM – TRICKSTER *New Drama Series*



7:30 PM – FAMILY FEUD CANADA *Season 2*


9 PM – DRAGONS’ DEN *Season 15* 



8 PM – MARKETPLACE *Season 48*

8:30 PM – YOU CAN’T ASK THAT *Season 2*/ ORANGEVILLE PREP *New Factual Series*

9 PM – THE NATURE OF THINGS *Season 60* 



Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES *Season 6* 


Afternoon – ROAD TO THE OLYMPIC GAMES *Season 6*


9 PM – ENSLAVED *New Documentary Series*