THE BRIDGE: CTV to develop new projects from creator and star of ‘The Bridge’

CTV to develop new projects from creator and star of ‘The Bridge’
Date: January 14, 2011


CTV announced today it is moving forward on the development of new projects from producer Craig Bromell, actor Aaron Douglas and Entertainment One (eOne). The re-focusing comes as CTV, Bromell and eOne have mutually agreed not to proceed with a second season of “The Bridge,” as previously announced.

“Our focus is on the future,” said Susanne Boyce, President, Creative, Content and Channels, CTV Inc. “We look forward to building upon the relationships we’ve developed on ‘The Bridge’ with Craig, Aaron and eOne.”

“We have had a tremendous run,” said Executive Producer Craig Bromell. “I am very thankful for having had the chance to work with so many talented people behind and in front of the camera. We could not bring all of the necessary elements together to create a successful second season. CTV has been so supportive throughout the life of the show and I look forward to working with them on other ideas.”

Bromell and CTV are developing a project following the intense and complex personal and professional lives of a police drug squad. In addition, CTV has also forged an on-going creative relationship with actor Aaron Douglas through a non-exclusive development deal. Additionally, CTV is developing a character-driven legal drama with eOne and writer Pam Davis (“Flashpoint,” “House”).

The announcement follows CTV’s December announcement of the pick-ups of pilots for two, new one-hour dramas: “Saving Hope,” from the acclaimed Gemini award-winning producer Ilana Frank (“The Eleventh Hour,” “Of Murder and Memory,” “Rookie Blue”) and writer Morwyn Brebner (“Rookie Blue”); and “Stay With Me”, from the celebrated Gemini award-winning producing team of writer Suzette Couture and Pierre Sarrazin from Sarrazin Couture Entertainment (“The Man Who Lost Himself”). Production on both is expected to begin this Spring. Also announced in December was the new one-hour drama “Highland Gardens” (working title), from the internationally acclaimed and Gemini Award-winning Epitome Pictures producing team of Linda Schuyler and Stephen Stohn (“Degrassi”), and writer Martin Gero (“Bored to Death,” “Young People F*cking”).

THE BRIDGE: nominated for 4 DGC Awards

THE BRIDGE has been nominated for four DGC (Directors Guild of Canada) Awards.

The Awards Ceremony will be held on Saturday, September 25, 2010 at the Regal Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. The event will be hosted by Dave Foley.

Being Erica – Eps. 109 “Everything She Wants”
Flashpoint – “One Wrong Move”
Sanctuary – Eps. 213 “Kali Part 2”
The Bridge – Eps. 110

Adrienne Mitchell for Durham County – “Little Lost Children”
Robert C. Cooper for Stargate Universe – “Human”
Helen Shaver for The Bridge – Eps. 110
Holly Dale for Flashpoint – “Perfect Storm”

Jeff Warren for The Bridge – Eps. 109
Teresa De Luca for Durham County – “Little Lost Children”
Gareth C. Scales for Flashpoint – “Good Citizen”
Paul Winestock for The Border – Eps. 305 “Missing in Action”

Murdoch Mysteries – Eps. 212 “Werewolves”
The Bridge – Eps. 113
The Listener – Eps. 106 “Foggy Notion”
The Tudors – Eps. 308

Source: 2010 DGC AWARDS – Nominees

For some reason the haven’t listed the names of THE BRIDGE episodes in the above list but if I go by the production numbers …..

Episode 10 (nominated for best tv series and best direction in a tv series) is The Blame Game.
Episode 9 (nominated for best picture editing) is Never Let Me Down Again.
Episode 13 (nominated for best sound editing) is the season finale Chain of Fools.

THE BRIDGE: E1 Entertainment Adds France to Global Distribution Network

E1 Entertainment Adds France to Global Distribution Network
Date: April 8, 2010
Source: E1 Entertainment


– First releases scheduled for July 2010 –

TORONTO – E1 Entertainment (E1), one of the world’s premiere independent entertainment distributors, is adding another major market to its territory list, expanding its international operations to France. With the move, E1 grows its strong presence in Europe and positions itself for growth in the French market and internationally.

“E1’s global success has been directly tied to our ability to develop and service a global distribution network,” said Patrice Theroux, President, Filmed Entertainment at E1. “We’re thrilled to be bringing the E1 brand to France, enhancing our robust distribution operations in Europe and leveraging our expanded network to position us for further growth internationally.”

E1’s strong programming acquisition strategy has created a powerful international distribution division and the company is proactively expanding its extensive library of international titles, including actively acquiring rights for the countries in its distribution network. The company’s ongoing investment in production and rights acquisition across the film, children’s and TV drama genres has fueled its expansion, allowing E1 to maximize revenue generating opportunities while minimizing risk.

E1 has acquired several films for distribution in France including the French-Canadian thriller, “7 Days” (Les 7 jours du talion); “Dorian Gray” starring Colin Firth and Ben Barnes; “Love Ranch” featuring Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci and Brian Cranston, and “$5 a Day” starring Christopher Walken and Sharon Stone. Television titles to be released soon on DVD include E1’s own productions CBS show “The Bridge”, ABC series “Copper” and Syfy series “Haven.”

“The initial list of titles for release in France is an excellent snap-shot of the quality programming available through our extensive film, TV and children offering,” said Theroux. “In France, we will offer content through numerous channels with E1 International Television overseeing sales to international digital outlets and local television networks and E1-branded DVD titles being released through Aventi Distribution. This approach, like the one we recently announced in Australia and New Zealand, allows us to acquire rights on a larger scale and distribute across multiple formats including DVD, TV and digital into an expanded list of territories.”

Since its formation in 2003, Aventi Distribution has grown rapidly to become a major independent distributor of home entertainment content in France. Aventi manages the exclusive distribution of approximately 3,000 titles and has successfully built strong relationships with independent publishers and its customers.

Aventi exclusively distributes the catalogues of key entertainment enterprises such as BAC Films, M6 Video (SND), Opening, CTV etc. With sales team of 15, the company has more than 3,000 live customer accounts that include Auchan, Carrefour, Casino, Fnac, Leclerc, Media Saturn, Virgin and Amazon.

Richard Lechartier of Aventi stated: “I am delighted that Aventi will be the E1’s home entertainment distribution partner in France. In recent years E1 has been acquiring some major titles, not only becoming a key player the home entertainment category, but in the overall global filmed entertainment industry. The team and I are very excited about bringing E1’s exciting catalogue to the French market and we look forward to developing a lasting and successful relationship.”


Note: This story also appeared in The Hollywood Reporter.


E1 Entertainment advances into France
TV, digital content and DVD titles to be distributed
By: Etan Vlessing
Date: April 8th, 2010
Source: The Hollywood Reporter


TORONTO — Canadian distributor E1 Entertainment has opened a beachhead in France by signing Aventi Distribution to release its DVD titles, while its E1 International Television unit will market TV and digital content locally.

The move, following a similar expansion in Australia and New Zealand, comes as E1 and Canadian rival Alliance Films look beyond a mature home market to Europe to build out a multi-territory distribution network (HR, Feb. 23).

E1 already has distribution units in the U.K. and the Benelux.

The first E1 releases into France, starting in July 2010, include the Canadian French-language thriller “Les 7 jours du talion,” “Dorian Gray,” starring Colin Firth and Ben Barnes, “Love Ranch,” featuring Helen Mirren, Joe Pesci and Brian Cranston, and “$5 a Day,” with Christopher Walken and Sharon Stone.

DVD titles from E1 Entertainment’s TV slate bound for France include the CTV cop drama “The Bridge”, also picked up by CBS, the upcoming summer Global/ABC cop drama “Rookie Blue” and Syfy’s “Haven.”


Note: This story also appeared in Variety.


Canada’s E1 expands into France
It will distribute pics and TV shows for home entertainment
By: Brendan Kelly
Date: April 9th, 2010
Source: Variety


MONTREAL — Hot on the heels of the announcement earlier this week that it is entering the U.S. theatrical market, Canuck film company E1 Entertainment is expanding into the home entertainment market in France.

Toronto-based E1 has acquired several pics for distribution including French-language Canuck thriller “7 Days,” “Dorian Gray” toplining Colin Firth, “Love Ranch” (the company’s first U.S. release) with Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci, and “$5 a Day” starring Christopher Walken and Sharon Stone. TV shows to be released on DVD include E1 production “The Bridge” (on CBS in the U.S.), ABC series “Copper” and Syfy series “Haven.”

“The initial list of titles for release in France is an excellent snap-shot of the quality programming available through our extensive film, TV and children offering,” E1 prexy of filmed entertainment Patrice Theroux said on Thursday. “In France, we will offer content through numerous channels with E1 Intl. Television overseeing sales to international digital outlets and local TV networks and E1-branded DVDs being released through Aventi Distribution.”

Aventi exclusively distributes the catalogs of a number of companies, including BAC Films, M6 Video, Opening and CTV.

The move into France greatly expands E1’s reach in Europe. It already distributes in all media, including theatrical, in the U.K. via its subsidiary E1 U.K., and it also distributes in Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg via E1 Benelux, a company it formed after buying the Amsterdam-based distributor RVC.

It has also moved into the distribution biz in Australia and New Zealand, where it is releasing titles in conjunction with Beyond Home Entertainment.

THE BRIDGE: The Bridge: It’s like The Wire without the moral complexity

The Bridge: It’s like The Wire without the moral complexity
By: Robert Cushman
Date: March 11, 2010
Source: National Post


Frank Cassini as Bernie and Ona Grauer as Abby on The Bridge.

“Together” says Frank Leo, newly elected president of the police union, “we own this city.” The city is unnamed, but looks very much like Toronto; and when Frank says “we,” he appears to mean not the population at large but just him and his fellow cops. It is not a very reassuring message; but The Bridge, the new CTV drama series of which Frank is the central figure, seems disinclined to question it. It may be the first ever right-wing pro-union show.

That’s probably the newest thing about it. It’s being promoted as depicting police as real people with their own lives, and as taking on issues of corruption within and around the department; but it’s hard to think of a recent cop show that hasn’t tried to do such things. Publicists were probably making similar claims back in the days of Dragnet.

A decade or so ago, there was a brilliant British series, shown over here as Inside the Line, whose protagonist had an extremely colourful private life

and whose main job as a cop was investigating other cops. Here, admittedly, he differs from Frank, whose energies are largely devoted to opposing the investigation of other cops. He’s concerned with rooting out individual bad apples but they have to be very bad indeed: An officer, for example, who’s using his uniform to steal money from drug dealers. And even his main offence is that he’s threatened the lives of other police.

Frank’s real enemies are the brass, i.e. the departmental chiefs, and what might be called the super-brass: the bureaucrats and politicians who spread distrust of the guys on the beat. What makes him froth at the mouth is the sight of the men from the Criminal Investigation Unit, officious busybodies who arrive to ask annoying questions whenever somebody, say, dies in police custody.

The Bridge’s executive producer is Craig Bromell, former police officer, president of the Toronto Police Association and radio host: so, two-thirds of Frank’s own trajectory. As union president, he was famous for his vociferous opposition to any outside attempts to police the police. Whatever the politics of this, it makes for thin — because it’s one-sided — drama.

It’s probably unfair to compare The Bridge to The Wire (it may be unfair to compare any TV show to The Wire) but it’s inescapable. Both shows centre on loose-canon rank-and-file detectives who take a principled stand against their superiors, who in turn devote themselves to making the hero’s life miserable. Frank leads a revolt to secure a proper police funeral for an officer who’s committed suicide. He succeeds, and is elected union boss on the strength of it, but the brass will never forgive him.

The Wire’s Jimmy McNulty ran into similar problems when trying to expose the gang bosses of Baltimore; and his opponents, both within and without the force, were at least as unscrupulous as Frank’s. But they were also more human and more detailed, capable of surprising moments of decency; which in turn made Jimmy himself, a far more flawed character than Frank, more sympathetic because he was more real. They were also part of a wider civic picture.

It’s early days, of course, but so far The Bridge shows no signs of going there. Its villains are one-dimensional; there’s a female deputy chief who’s a monster of charmless (and clueless) vindictiveness, while the CIU men are filmed, and musically accompanied, like Gestapo interrogators. There are top cops with political ambitions, whom we rarely meet, and there’s a do-gooding demagogue whom Frank demands be robbed of his “bully pulpit” and whom we’ve yet to meet at all. The writing (by Alan Di Fiore, of DaVinci’s Inquest) and the performances, led by Aaron Douglas’s square-jawed Frank, are vigorous enough, but they’ve yet to display any depth or texture. This even goes for Michael Murphy, who plays a police chief with ambiguous sympathies, i.e. he’s playing both sides against the middle. Amusingly, when he and Frank have secret meetings in cars, each of them, unknown to the other, records the conversation. I think we can guess which of them, in a future episode, will resort to selective quotation.

One of Frank’s colleagues tells him that, though notionally a civilian, he still thinks and acts like a detective. This could be the show’s salvation; on the strength of tonight’s episode it’s beginning to function as another police procedural, of reasonable speed and grittiness. Frank has two sidekicks: his former patrol partner and union-rep predecessor, who’s less impulsive than he is, and a lawyer who’s also his girlfriend: another McNulty resemblance, though here too the love interest suffers in the comparison. Frank says, and the show’s publicity backs him up, that he wants to clean up the city, not just the police department, “from top to bottom.” So far, though the non-criminal civilians — the people he is sworn to serve and protect, the ones on whose behalf the show asks us to protect him — have been conspicuous by their absence.

– The Bridge airs tonight at 10 p.m. on CTV.

THE BRIDGE: Toronto-set drama’s focus is on the cops, not the crimes

Toronto-set drama’s focus is on the cops, not the crimes
By: Brad Oswald
Date: March 5, 2010
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 5, 2010 d7)


Rich and poor. Virtue and vice. Bosses and workers. Good cop, bad cop.

Each pairing represents a study in contrasts, a comparison of opposites that are separated by the widest figurative distance possible. But there’s always a point of connection; there’s always a bridge.

And that, apparently, is the metaphorical intent of the title of Canuck-TV’s newest entry in the cop-show genre, The Bridge, which premieres tonight at 9 on CTV.

Unlike the vast mass of procedural dramas that have dominated this field for the past decade, this newcomer is a personality-driven piece that focuses on the human behaviour, blind ambition, flawed emotions and misplaced motives that influence events in a big-city police department.

Inspired by the real-life exploits of controversial Toronto police union boss Craig Bromwell — who first pitched the notion of a TV show based on his career in 2005 and now serves as an executive producer on the show — The Bridge follows the exploits of Frank Leo (Aaron Douglas), a level-headed beat cop who becomes disillusioned with the favouritism, vindictive behaviour and flat-out corruption that exists in the (fictional) Toronto Police Department’s upper levels.

Like most officers in the patrol-car class of cops, Leo has always had a bit of a problem with authority figures. But his disdain for the brass escalates to the boiling point after his beloved former partner and mentor commits suicide and the downtown bosses refuse to allow a formal police funeral.

Leo takes matters into his own hands and organizes an unofficial officers-in-uniform ceremony; when word gets out that it will be attended by thousands of police personnel, the chief’s office is forced to endorse the event.

It’s a victory for the ground troops, but Leo soon finds that doing the right thing has placed a target squarely on his back.

When an officer-involved shooting prompts an internal-affairs probe, it’s pretty clear that the chief’s office is going to do everything in its power to make sure Leo takes the fall — for that incident, and also for a series of drug-dealer rip-offs that appear to have been pulled by someone with inside-police connections.

It’s a messy business, and Leo’s willingness to take a hands-on approach to crises serves him well when his police-union representative turns weak-kneed and forces Frank to fight his own battle. At that point, he decides that maybe the only way to protect good cops and rid the department of its upper-echelon corruption is to remake the union from the inside out.

A crusader is born. And enemies abound. In tonight’s two-hour premiere, The Bridge does a pretty decent job of establishing a complex back story and defining Frank Leo as a steel-willed flatfoot who has rightfully attracted the support and loyalty of his peers.

Series star Douglas is an imposing presence as Leo — burly and stone-faced, much more inclined to do a slow burn than exhibit a flash of rage. He has a worthy adversary in Chief Ed Wycoff (Michael Murphy), who carries the weight of his office uneasily and does not like having his authority challenged by a mere street cop.

Standing at Leo’s side are fellow officers Tommy (Paul Popowich) and Billy (Theresa Joy), Staff Sergeant Bernie Kantor (Frank Cassini) and prosecutor Abby St. James (Ona Grauer). Also lending support in tonight’s opener is Frank’s father, Vic Leo (Stuart Margolin), an ex-cop and former union boss who, it turns out, has a dark secret that some folks might try to use against Frank.

While it does lose momentum at times during this extra-long pilot episode, The Bridge does succeed in creating a credible and engaging storyline, as well as a central character and supporting cast that seem worth getting to know at least a bit better. The premiere ends with a plot twist that is certain to bring viewers back to see how it’s resolved.

In short, the thinking here is that you should watch this Bridge when you get to it.

THE BRIDGE: Can The Bridge live up to its Olympic hype?

Can The Bridge live up to its Olympic hype?
By: Alex Strachan
Date: March 5, 2010
The Edmonton Journal


The Bridge, CTV’s new police drama about union bosses, corruption and internal upheaval inside a big-city Ontario police department, comes with a solid pedigree.

The concept is based on the real-life reminiscences of one-time Toronto police union boss Craig Bromell.

The writer is Alan Di Fiore, the co-writer and co-executive producer of Da Vinci’s Inquest, with Chris Haddock.

The star is Aaron Douglas, the New Westminster, B.C.-born actor whose seething, angry-man character Galen Tyrol on Battlestar Galactica was one of that series’ more memorable supporting players — and that’s saying a lot in an ensemble that included James Callis, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Michael Hogan and Edward James Olmos.

Episode directors include Holly Dale, a Gemini winner for Durham County, and John Fawcett, who directed a then-unknown Elisha Cuthbert in Lucky Girl, a searing indictment of teenage gambling addiction.

The Bridge has also been pre-sold to U.S. TV, to CBS, the same network that gave Flashpoint a boost before placing it on the shelf (temporarily, CBS executives say).

CTV promoted The Bridge relentlessly throughout the Winter Olympics, so a large audience is expected to tune in tonight, if only out of curiosity. It’s an open question, though, how many of those viewers will stay in the following weeks. Because the sad truth is that, while there are moments of real intensity — the opening scene, for starters — The Bridge looks and feels very much like a work in progress. Strong scenes are followed by less compelling confrontations, and many of the transitions are awkward. Tonight’s two-hour opener will leave some viewers feeling a little cold, and that’s a shame for a series that comes with such high expectations.

Douglas is convincing as the regular beat cop who, tired of the beating his colleagues are taking in the press, with no support from their union reps or from higher-ups within the police department, decides to run for union boss. He rises swiftly, but of course there are hidden complications — internal politics, rogue cops and recalcitrant bosses who insist that old-school is the only school.

The Bridge’s own internal politics aren’t entirely clear in the opening two hours. Real-world civil-rights advocates are apt to be disturbed by The Bridge’s depiction of police officers who play fast-and-loose with the rules to get what they want, and real-world police officers are apt to be disturbed by The Bridge’s assertion that police corruption and rogue cops are more prevalent than we’d like to think.

Perhaps that’s the point: The police profession, as with any other calling, attracts both heroes and closeted criminals, and it’s not always easy to tell the two apart.

The Bridge is ambitious, adult and compelling, for all its faults. It’s well worth a look. Just don’t compare it to any of the truly memorable police procedurals you may have seen. The Bridge may get there one day, but it isn’t there yet. (CTV, 9 p.m.)

NOTE: This article also appeared in the The Windsor Star with the title ‘Cop drama The Bridge shows rookie jitters’.

THE BRIDGE: ‘The Bridge’ premieres tonight on CTV

‘The Bridge’ premieres tonight on CTV
Date: March 5, 2010
Source: CTV News


TORONTO – The new cop series “The Bridge,” based on the insights of former Toronto police union head Craig Bromell, debuts tonight on CTV.

Aaron Douglas stars as police officer turned union head Frank Leo, who is trying to clean up the force.

Bromell says although there are some similarities between him and Douglas’s character, the show is purely fictional.

Bromell was a police officer for 19 years before becoming president of the Toronto Police Association in 1997.

He left his post in 2003.

The show is taped in Toronto but the police force in it isn’t set in a particular city.


Aaron Douglas as Frank Leo in The Bridge.
The CTV Original Canadian series premieres Friday, March 5 at 9 p.m. ET.


THE BRIDGE: Cdn ‘Bridge’ has American feel

Cdn ‘Bridge’ has American feel
By: Bill Harris
Date: March 4, 2010
Source: Toronto Sun


OK, we’ve been in a lot of bars across North America. Not braggin’ or complainin’, just sayin’.

We bring this up having just watched the two-hour debut episode of the CTV cop drama The Bridge, which airs Friday.

The main off-duty watering hole for the police in The Bridge is a place called Ruby’s. There are a lot of scenes there, at least in the first two hours.

But while The Bridge clearly is set in Toronto, our well-conditioned “bar radar” senses something different.

The look and feel of Ruby’s, at least in the way it’s presented here, screams Boston or New York. It doesn’t feel like Canada. It feels like the United States.

And ultimately, so does The Bridge. The atmosphere of this Canadian series is very, very American, right down to the accents of some of the characters.

That’s an interesting result, given the Canadian pedigree of The Bridge. It was inspired by the insights of former Toronto police union head Craig Bromell, who serves as an executive producer.

But the path to broadcast was a winding one for The Bridge, which has been sitting around ready to go for quite a while.

Back when the TV and film writers’ strike prompted a creative ice age in the United States, CBS bought into The Bridge, in the same way it bought into another CTV series, Flashpoint. But as the U.S. writers got back to work, the notion that “international co-productions” would be the wave of the future quickly was erased, and CBS would not commit to an air date for The Bridge.

Finally, CTV got tired of waiting. That’s why The Bridge is debuting Friday only on CTV, not on CBS.

Anyway, now that the Canadian public finally gets to see The Bridge, what can they expect?

First, the good news: Series lead Aaron Douglas is compelling as Frank Leo, a.k.a. the Bromell-based character. There are no weak actors among the supporting cast. In performance and production, The Bridge is very slick.

Plot-wise, however, we had a big problem with the “everything but the kitchen sink” aspect of the two-hour debut.

Often when Canadian series go for “dark” they get “dour.” It seems The Bridge was so acutely aware of that pot-hole, it chose to assault the audience with a story-line way too full of extremes and twists and double-crosses.

In no particular order, here are some of the things that occur in the first two hours of The Bridge:

Suicide. Hit-and-run homicide. A guy making out with a lesbian. Drug-dealing kid. Sex scandal. Dead family members. High-speed chase through residential neighbourhood. Heart attack. Loss of limb. Insurance scam. Amateur video of alleged police misconduct. Secret recordings. Open propositioning of co-workers. And more secret meetings in cars and outdoor locations than we ever could possibly count.

By the end, we must admit, we were just waiting for it to be over.

Now, maybe the two-hour chunk is the problem. Perhaps we’ll go back and watch it again, splitting it into separate one-hour viewings. But hey, the debut is airing in a two-hour chunk, so that’s the fairest way to analyze it.

The Bridge is a Canadian series that doesn’t feel Canadian, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As we said earlier, it is very well-acted and sharply produced.

But for us, without question, The Bridge in a two-hour block is a Bridge too far.

THE BRIDGE: So what if CBC goes for light entertainment

So what if CBC goes for light entertainment
By: John Doyle
Date: March 3, 2010
Source: The Globe and Mail


Note: The below is a copy and paste of just the part about THE BRIDGE. To read the full article please click on the link above.


The Bridge, which starts Friday (CTV, 9 p.m.) is as dark as Doyle is light. We are thrown into the murky world of Toronto cops, where rogue officers feed on corruption, good cops have little choice but to turn a blind eye, and the bosses try to manipulate everybody. At its centre is Frank Leo (Aaron Douglas in a fine, utterly compelling performance) who, outraged by the bosses’ treatment of a fellow officer who committed suicide, decides to run for office as head of the police union. As soon as he’s elected, a toxic issue surfaces that could harm him and the entire union.

In the hands of writer Alan DiFiore – who did many of the finest, most moody episodes of Da Vinci’s Inquest, there is little traditional melodrama but plenty of acrid, low-key drama that paints a grim picture of the insular police world. It’s a fast-moving, splintered narrative. Occasionally it suffers from an overcooked thumping soundtrack, but it takes us into a nasty, hushed world of urban crime, corruption and heady male malevolence. The atmosphere is dark, oppressive and the little bits of lightness are the more shocking for that.

Right now, I’d guess, The Bridge is not the sort of TV drama that CBC is interested in making and airing. It has gone the populist route, getting viewers interested in the fun of Battle of the Blades and Republic of Doyle. This kind of TV fare fits well with existing hits such as Rick Mercer Report, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Little Mosque and 18 to Life. There’s no harm in that. CBC has decided it’s not HBO and it isn’t interested in being an HBO-style channel. It’s also unlikely that CBC would be interested in Crash and Burn, another acrid, blackly comic drama that recently ended its run on Showcase. Paranoiac realism is not CBC’s bag right now. Perhaps it should be, but the argument about CBC’s mission and mandate, in these times, is for another day.

THE BRIDGE: Another Homegrown Cop Show

Another Homegrown Cop Show
By: James Bawden
Date: March 2, 2010
Source: James Bawden Blogspot


It’s hard to believe but at one time the very notion of a homegrown police series seemed , well, unCanadian.

Security issues was an American thing due to the open gun policy in the U.S.

But wasn’t Canada supposed to be a mosaic and not a melting pot where guns were regulated?

Way, way back CBC had a cop show starring Jonathan Welsh and Donnelly Rhodes titled Sidestreet and it barely lasted three seasons (1975-78).

I guess CBC’s Wojeck (1966-68) all about a Canadian coroner played by John Vernon was partly a police show and later there was CBC’s DaVinci’s Inquest made along the same lines.

And let’s not forget Global’s Blue Murder with Jeremy Ratchford who jumped to CBS’s Cold Squad.

But recently Canadian cop shows seem all over the place. Is this creeping Americanization or what?

CTV has Flashpoint up and running. The Movie Network has The Line. Global (and ABC) will soon debut Copper.

And now comes a second CTV police procedural The Bridge.

First the title: it’s a reference to the police precinct which supposedly is near the Bloor St. viaduct.

Only the viaduct is never actually named. Neither is Toronto. But it’s clear from the skyline where the series located. Streetcars buzz by. People gather in Queen St. eateries.

The opening is a boldly structured two hour feast of action and human drama that gripped me for more than its first hour.

Then things began dragging along as the story had to be explained and there were too many pat coincidences. But subsequent episodes will be an hour.

Starring is Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica) who has the burly build to competently play a tough but compassionate streetbeat cop. Starring as the police union head Frank Leo, Douglas is hardly a conventional lead. He has the bulk to beat up any bully. Plus he’s devoted to his old man, how can he not be a likeable antihero?

His partner , Tommy Dunne, is played by Paul Popowich who has grown up since I interviewed him on the set of TV’s Nancy Drew.

Other Canadian names in the sprawling cast include Frank Cassini as Bernie Kantor, Frank’s mentor, Inga Cadranel as comely Jill, a detective, Theresa Joy as police constable Billy and Pna Grauer as prosecutor Abby St. James.

Michael Murphy is the gnarled chief of police Ed Wycoff and here’s a surprise– Emmy winner (Rockford Files) Stuart Margolin is Frank’s father Vic –it’s the same sort of father figure that Ken Howard played so winningly on Crossing Jordan.

The first episode was excitingly shot on Toronto streets by director John Fawcett (Whistler) and cinematographer Thom Best (Queer As Folk). Even the exterior of the police precinct seemed jarringly real and not a TV set.

And if the dialogue rings true that comes from veteran executive producer/writer Alan Di Fiore (DaVinci’s Inquest).

One minor cavill: the effort to mask the Canadian origin which is probably due to a desire to sell the series to a U.S. network.

So many locations are used in the first two hours one wonders what parts of the city are left for future episodes? Toronto standing in for Toronto –there’s a novel concept in itself.

This one will succeed if you can get into Frank Leo’s mindset and understand where he’s coming from, his blue collar rage. And if you understand him then you’ll be eagerly waiting for his next heart-to-heart with his aged father.

The Bridge could become CTV’s bridge to strong Friday night ratings over its 12 week run.


MY RATING: ***1/2.

About the Author: Jim Bawden has been a TV critic for almost 40 years starting at The Globe And Mail in 1970. In 1971 he became TV critic at The Spectator and in 1980 TV columnist at The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, retiring in 2008.

THE BRIDGE: The good, the funny, and the ugly

The good, the funny, and the ugly
Canadians have endured a zillion promos for CTV’s three new shows – The Bridge, Dan for Mayor and Hiccups. Are they worth watching?

By: Patricia Treble
Date: February 28, 2010


Note: The below is a copy and paste of just the part about THE BRIDGE. To read the full article please click on the link above.


Canadians have endured a zillion promos for CTV’s three new shows – The Bridge, Dan for Mayor and Hiccups.
Are they worth watching?

The Bridge
Premiere: Friday, March 5 at 9 pm (its regular time slot is Fridays at 10 p.m.)

While the idea of another cop show might not sound appealing, The Bridge delivers with a crisp concept designed to dazzle everyone jaded by the plethora of procedurals that dominate the airwaves. The show focuses on Frank Leo (Aaron Douglas of Battlestar Galactica) and is based on the life of Craig Bromell, the controversial and confrontational former leader of Toronto’s police union. The Bridge flips the traditional police drama on its head by focusing not on a crime of the week, but rather on the behind-the-blue-line relationships and politics that shape life within a metropolitan police department. And everyone has a dirty little secret or two, including Frank Leo. Douglas’s nuanced performance in The Bridge is even better than his role in BSG as Chief Galen Tyrol. Douglas is the perfect NCO: authoritative yet not arrogantly commanding and with a presence that steals every scene. Originally the pilot was going to be just 60 minutes long, but then CTV re-cut it to a two-hour format. It was a smart move as the extra time gives the plot and characters enough time to gel. By the end-and it’s a shockingly unexpected last few minutes-viewers are left eager for more. And that’s a good thing, because the Canadian network is taking a gamble, airing their drama, which is shot in Toronto, before its American partner, CBS, finds room on its schedule for The Bridge. If the pilot is any indication, CTV has a sure bet on its hands.

THE BRIDGE: CTV leaves CBS behind on ‘The Bridge’

CTV leaves CBS behind on ‘The Bridge’
Sets timeslot ahead of CBS announcement
By: Etan Vlessing
Date: February 3, 2010
Source: The Hollywood Reporter


TORONTO — CTV won’t wait for CBS to set a U.S. primetime slot for “The Bridge” before it debuts the Canadian cop drama on the same airday.

The Canadian broadcaster instead hopes the homegrown cop drama gets a post-Olympics bounce after it bows on Friday nights from March 5.

CBS, which co-produces “The Bridge” with CTV, left the E1 Television scripted drama off its lineup for lack of real estate when it revealed its prime time schedule last month.

So CTV will bow “The Bridge” on Friday, March 5 at 9 p.m. with a special two-hour series premiere.

The Aaron Douglas-starrer will then move the week after to a permanent slot on Fridays at 10 p.m.

Going solo marks a major departure for CTV and other Canuck broadcasters that usually wait until a U.S. network sets an airdate.

The Canadians then follow the American lead and simulcast a series in the same time slot, replace the American feed and air their own Canadian commercials to maximize advertising revenue.

That had CTV waiting until CBS scheduled “Flashpoint,” another CBS/CTV co-production, before it simulcast the popular cop drama in the same slot.

Now “The Bridge” will go out right after CTV wraps its coverage of the 2010 Vancouver/Whistler Olympics in late February.

THE BRIDGE: MIA on the 2010 CBS lineup

There was a ‘TCA Winter 2010 Press Tour’ today and here are some articles discussing the same thing we were talking about the other day about there being no sign of The Bridge on the new CBS schedule.

Depending on which article you read below, they are saying that Nina Tassler (CBS Entertainment President) said that “summer is a possibility” or she’s saying it “will make it to air at some point”.



No sign of Toronto-shot police drama ‘Flashpoint’ in CBS’s lineup
By: Bill Brioux (The Canadian Press)
Date: January 9, 2010

Canadians waiting for CBS to finally add Toronto-lensed dramas “The Bridge” and “Flashpoint” to its schedule will have to wait a little longer.

CBS announced Saturday at the winter TV press tour that “Miami Medical,” a new series about a Florida trauma facility, will be getting the Friday night time slot in place of “Numb3rs” starting April 2.

CBS had programmed “Flashpoint” in that Friday night time slot last year before shelving the series, which has been a hit in Canada ever since it premiered on CTV.

“The Bridge,” about a combative police union boss, is another CTV/CBS collaboration that was developed back when the writers strike sent U.S. networks scrambling across the border in search of content.

CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said the fact that “The Bridge” missed this latest chance to join her schedule is simply a factor of CBS having “more content then we had real estate for.” She says CBS has 18 episodes of “Flashpoint” and 13 episodes of “The Bridge” to draw on when a time slot opens up.

There is still no CBS debut date for either show, although Tassler said that a summer run for both shows was a possibility. She also said “Numb3rs” could still return to the schedule next season despite the fact that the network cut back on its episode order for 2009-10.


Source: Yahoo! Canada News



Snippet from Entertainment Weekly …

Tassler didn’t beat around the bush when she answered a question about whether the organ transplant drama Three Rivers has been officially cancelled. “Unfortunately we’ve all known each other long enough that when something is on hiatus, its code for something else.” But she acknowledged the network still has plenty of new series to program, including 18 more episodes of the actioner Flashpoint and 13 episodes of the new drama The Bridge, an Aaron Douglas starrer about a cop-cum-union rep. “We had a terrific fall launch,” she said. “A lot of our shows are working so we had more content than we had real estate.”




Snippet from TV addict …

In fact, things have been going so well for the network (With of course the notable exception of the whole pesky ‘Charlie Sheen’ criminal issue which Tassler promises won’t affect TWO AND A HALF MEN) that their only problem is a ‘high class’ one. Translation: The network’s schedule is too solid. Which is bad news for the 18 episodes of FLASHPOINT and 13 episodes of the Aaron Douglas (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) vehicle THE BRIDGE that are anxiously waiting to see the light of day. Not to mention, the future of MEDIUM and NUMB3RS, whose futures remain murky, even though Tassler was quick to point out are both “absolutely still under consideration” for next season.

Source: TV addict



Snippet from TV Guide Canada …

In fact, CBS is seeing so much success, according to Tassler, that they have a “high class problem.” Unfortunately for Canadians, this means that the Eye’s current schedule is so tight, there is no room for two Canadian series waiting air time: Flashpoint and freshman series The Bridge.

While Tassler says that the existing 18 episodes of Flashpoint (which have already aired in Canada) and 13 episodes of The Bridge will air, they will “Wait and see what happens.”

Source: TV



Snippet from IF Magazine …

“Our strategy is to always look ahead,” says Tassler. “We’re thinking not just this season, but future seasons. We’ll be shooting as many pilots as previous years. You can’t be complacent. You have to stay competitive in terms of looking forward.”

With the success of so many of their new shows, it’s also left the return of FLASHPOINT (which they have 18 episodes in the can) and the new show THE BRIDGE up in the air until a time slot opens up.

“We had a high class problem this season and a terrific fall launch,” she says. “A lot of shows that were working, we had more content and not a lot of real estate for it. Right now, the schedule is stable and doing well.”




UPDATE (January 10, 2010): More articles …..


Snippet from Toronto Sun …

CBS president Nina Tassler refuses to set a wedding date for her network’s extended engagement with CTV series Flashpoint and The Bridge.

Despite having the rights to 18 more episodes of Flashpoint and 13 episodes of yet-to-be-seen The Bridge, Tassler claims her network simply has “more content than we had real estate for.”

Tassler added, “We had a high-class problem this season. We had a terrific fall launch. We had a lot of shows that were working. So we’ll wait and see what happens.

“We’ve got both (Flashpoint and The Bridge) and obviously they’ll make it to air at some point. But right now, the schedule is stable and doing well.”

Hmmm, that’s a pretty non-committal commitment. Nina, you tease!

Yet another hospital show, Miami Medical from the Jerry Bruckheimer stable, will join the CBS schedule on Friday, April 2, yanking a slot that otherwise might have gone to one of the two Canadian shows.

Source: Toronto Sun



Snippet from Premium Hollywood …

Fans of the network’s Canadian imports, “Flashpoint” and “The Bridge,” will be pleased to know that CBS is sitting on 18 and 13 episodes of those series, respectively. They will be less pleased, however, to learn that it’s not yet confirmed when we’ll actually see any of them. “We had a high-class problem this season: we had a terrific fall launch, we had a lot of shows that we’re working, so we had more content than we had real estate for,” she admitted. “So we’ll wait and see what happens. We’ve got both shows, and obviously, they’ll make it to air at some point, but right now, the schedule is stable and doing well. Like I said, it’s a high-class problem.”

Source: Premium Hollywood

THE BRIDGE: E1 packs drama, factual for Cannes

E1 packs drama, factual for Cannes
By: Martin Buxton
Date: September 25, 2009
Source: C21Media


Two police dramas, two factual series and a science-fiction kids drama are heading up Canadian indie E1 Entertainment’s Mipcom slate this year.

Copper, already sold to ABC in the US and Global Television in Canada, is a one-hour workplace drama that centres on five rookie police officers. E1 Entertainment handles international distribution.

Joining it at Cannes is fellow police procedural The Bridge (13×60′), which stars Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica), as a police union leader who must battle against not only criminals but also his own bosses in order to protect the officers he represents. The series will air on CBS in the US and Canwest Global in Canada.

In the factual vein are Outlaw Bikers, which airs on History Television in Canada and follows biker gang the Hells Angels; and makeover Re-Vamped, which follows eight single women in their bid to get in shape and form a burlesque troupe. Revamped is also available as a format.

Finally, teen-targeting sci-fi series Stormworld (26×30′) centres on two friends who are transported to a parallel universe.



WEBMISTRESS NOTE: I asked Aaron about this because I thought Cannes was just a film festival. He said that Cannes has two festivals. One is for selling TV shows internationally and the other is for films.

USA (CBS), Canada (CTV), Latin America (AXN), France (Marathon and Double V), Germany (Tele-Munchen Gruppe), Iceland (ITC), Italy (AXN) and Africa (AXN) are already getting The Bridge. So fingers crossed for the UK and Australia.

P.S. Ignore the part in the article where it says that The Bridge is airing on Canwest Global in Canada. It’s not. It’s airing on CTV.


THE BRIDGE: Ex-street cop relishes new role in TV land

Ex-street cop relishes new role in TV land
By: Dan Robson
Date: August 25, 2009
Source: Toronto Star


Toronto’s most notorious cop is suddenly all Hollywood – Starbucks cup in one hand, Dominican cigar in the other.

On the set of The Bridge, a joint CTV-CBS project loosely based on his tumultuous career running the Toronto police union, Craig Bromell puffs a cigar as the tape rolls.

“Quiet! Quiet on the set! – and – Action!”

Dramatically, a pretty blonde actress standing beside a silver Mercedes coupe delivers the line of her character, a lawyer: “You know Frank will do anything to help a cop in trouble.”

To which an equally pretty blonde actress playing a cop replies: “Even if it means – crossing the line to do it.” They glare at each other coldly.


For Bromell, The Bridge is fiction with a touch of reality because he, of course, would also do anything to help a cop in trouble. For six years at the head of the Toronto’s 7,500-member police union, he did just that – and those years were controversial to say the least.

He first hit the headlines as one of nine officers from 51 Division accused of beating up a homeless man in 1996.

The case languished in court for years, until they were acquitted, but eventually an out-of-court cash settlement was reached in 2003.

“Street cop becomes union boss – that’s where it ends,” Bromell says of the line between him and Frank Leo, the show’s main character.

“Everything is fictional. All the characters are fictional. The stories are all fictional.”

During his term as union boss, critics accused Bromell of ushering in a police state.

Some politicians feared he had officers bugging their offices and following them.

He championed the “True Blue” campaign to offer windshield stickers that indicated the amount of money drivers had donated to the union.

“Obviously he’s an inspiration,” says the show’s acclaimed writer, Alan Di Fiore. “But we worked very hard to find stories and situations that were universal.”

Back on the set – sockless in brown leather loafers, beige shorts and a wide Hawaiian shirt – Bromell takes another puff. During the shoots, he provides a touch of authenticity for the actors.

His goal, he says, is to someday produce a Hollywood movie. He has more than 300 stories banked from his policing days, he says, and there are already whispers of another show.

“This is what I do,” he smiles, as the two beautiful actresses are powdered to reshoot a scene. “It’s f—ing unbelievable.”

Aaron Douglas, a.k.a. Chief Galen Tyrol from Battlestar Galactica, plays Frank Leo on The Bridge. Despite the apparent similarities between Bromell and Leo, the actor says the former cop turned executive producer really only contributed “the cop walk, the cop talk, the stance, that sort of thing.”

Douglas says the show deals with the part of reality of policing the “public never sees, never hears about.” Sometimes, he says, officers have to make sure “justice is served” through less than judicial means.

“You have to bend the law to enforce the law – and sometimes you have to break the law to enforce the law,” he says.

Sound familiar?

The Star’s own headlines splash across Bromell’s controversial legacy: “Bromell huffs, puffs, and blows his credibility” – “Bromell takes heat for comments” – “Bromell defies summit” – “Police Union bullying” – “Man sues, alleging beating by nine officers.”

But he seems to have loosened up today.

He takes another puff.

“I wanted to be a stunt driver – they wouldn’t let me,” he says with a laugh. “I wanted to beat someone up – they wouldn’t let me.”

Still, as an executive producer, Bromell does manage to get his way:

“They said they wanted less blood,” he says. “I said, I want more blood.'”

Bromell seems oddly at home here, in TV land, where controversy and violence are just part of the script.

“People aren’t going to expect this,” he said about the show, which is set to air late this year, or early in 2010.

“These aren’t hero cop stories – cops can be heroes and cops can be villains.”

Former Toronto police union president Craig Bromell chats with actress Ona Grauer on the Queens Quay set of 'The Bridge.' The CTV-CBS show, set to air late this year or early next year, is loosely based on Bromell's career as a cop.


THE BRIDGE: TV partnerships are great – until they’re not

TV partnerships are great – until they’re not
By: Gayle MacDonald
Date: July 27, 2009
Source: The Globe and Mail


Note: The below is a copy and paste of just the part about THE BRIDGE. To read the full article please click on the link above.


One obvious advantage of a Canadian-American partnership is that a show gets out into a broader universe. And while a licence fee from a U.S. network is never massive, it does allow Canadians to put more razzle-dazzle onto the screen. Further, a CBS/NBC/ABC/Fox stamp of approval is significant in the international television market. “If you’re a buyer in France, Australia or Brazil, a stamp from one of these guys goes a long way,” says Mustos. “It brings a certain comfort level.”

Toronto’s Laszlo Barna, co-producer of the upcoming police drama The Bridge, is a huge fan of the American-Canadian buddy system precisely because it opens international doors. “This is not just about the U.S. and Canada,” insists Barna, whose 13-part police drama is also slated to air mid-season. “It’s about broadcasters in all territories facing the same budgetary crisis.

“The best producers in the country are only receiving about 70 per cent of their financing – and they used to receive 100 per cent. The shortfalls in revenues have caused all broadcasters – not just in the U.S. – to democratize their trade practices, which allows the best programming, from whatever market, to come to the top. This is not a glitch in Canada. It’s a worldwide trend.

“There is simply not enough money in Canada, with the subsidy system and the recession, for that extra piece to put us into the comfort zone and be competitive.” Both The Bridge and Flashpoint have ballpark budgets of over $1.8-million an episode.

THE BRIDGE: On The Cover

On The Cover
By: Chris Powell
Date: July 6, 2009
Source: Playback






Aaron Douglas stars as an outspoken police union head in the E1 Entertainment drama series The Bridge, which is slated for a midseason appearance on CTV and CBS.

But much of The Bridge’s most notable pedigree is behind the scenes, including principal director/creative producer John Fawcett and exec producer/writer Alan Di Fiore.

Splitting his time between Vancouver and L.A., Di Fiore has picked up five Gemini Awards, three LEO Awards and five Writers Guild of Canada awards for his work, which includes over seven seasons as head writer and executive story consultant for Da Vinci’s Inquest in Canada, and Ghost Whisperer and The Handler in the U.S. (For the latter, he also produced.) Di Fiore has also co-written and produced an indie feature, The Fork in the Road, with director/co-writer Jim Kouf, currently in distribution.

Fawcett’s debut feature film, The Boys Club, was nominated for five Genie Awards, including best direction, and his second, Ginger Snaps, premiered at TIFF in 2000. Fawcett’s TV credits include the MOWs Last Exit and Lucky Girl, as well as episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess, Da Vinci’s Inquest and Taken: Steven Spielberg Presents. Fawcett launched the series pilot of The Border, and has worked on Whistler, Queer as Folk and other series, including a new pilot for Global called Lost Girl.


[click thumbnails to enlarge images]

THE BRIDGE: Bridge sells overseas

Bridge sells overseas
By: Sean Davidson
Date: July 3, 2009
Source: Playback


E1 has extended its Bridge to Latin America and Europe, closing another handful of deals for its upcoming police drama.

The Toronto company said Monday that the 13 x 60 series has been picked up by Marathon/Double V for television in France, Germany’s Tele-Munchen Gruppe and by the Sony-owned AXN channels in Latin America, Italy and Africa.

The series is scheduled to run mid-season on CBS and CTV in 2009/10. E1 has another police series, Copper, which is set for ABC and Global.

The Bridge stars Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica) as the outspoken head of a police union, joined by Paul Popowich (Angela’s Eyes), Inga Cadranel (Rent-a-Goalie), Frank Cassini (Vice), Theresa Joy (Puck Hogs), Ona Grauer (Stargate SG-1), Michael Murphy (The Trotsky, X-Men: The Last Stand) and Stuart Margolin (Tom Stone, The Rockford Files).

THE BRIDGE: BANFF 2009: Cancon a growing trend on U.S. nets

BANFF 2009: Cancon a growing trend on U.S. nets
By: Norma Reveler
Date: June 11, 2009
Source: Cartt


BANFF – With Flashpoint, The Listener, The Bridge and Copper, all Canadian shows airing or about to broadcast on a U.S. conventional network, Canada’s creative community was given the low-down on the trend at the just wrapped Banff World Television Festival (BWTF).

It’s a good deal for them (Americans) because they can get the programming for a fraction of the price of what it would cost them to wholly fund a series, said Tara Ellis, vice-president of Showcase and drama content at Canwest, on Wednesday at a broadcaster briefing. Canwest-backed E1 Entertainment’s Copper, a series about five rookie cops, will air on ABC. Filming on the series begins this month.

It was the U.S. writers’ strike that really propelled the American networks to look at Canadian shows as they worried they would be left without any programming inventory. But it’s a trend that Ellis doesn’t anticipate will end, even now the writers are back to work, because of the cost-efficiencies of co-producing programming.

“From the CBS end, we were open to looking at Flashpoint because of the writers’ strike, and the sensibility of the show was right. It became a great opportunity and it’s been very successful for us,” said Christina Davis, senior vice-president of drama series development at CBS, the U.S. network that is simulcasting Flashpoint with CTV.

Davis was on a panel that looked at Flashpoint as a case study, and also on Monday’s “The Biz – Packaging, Pitching and Landing the U.S. Presale” session.

Flashpoint co-creator Mark Ellis also chalked the partnerships up to good timing: “There was the writer’s strike and it was also at the end of the Bush days and the beginning of the Obama days.” A pilot of the series about an elite tactical police unit was completed, and producer Bill Mustos presented it to Davis.

Davis noted that the series was in the perfect stage of development – advanced enough for CBS to get a feel for the series, but also not far enough along that the U.S. network couldn’t put its stamp on the show.

One concern was that co-creators Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern had limited TV experience, and Canada doesn’t have the U.S. tradition of using a single showrunner – one writer who becomes the voice of the show. As a result, veteran screenwriter Tassie Cameron was brought on board as head writer in the first season, and she helped shape the series.

Since then, Canwest initiated the Canwest Showrunner Training Program, in conjunction with the BWTF at last year’s festival, to train seasoned series writers for the role. The program is funded by the benefits package linked to Canwest’s acquisition of the Alliance Atlantis specialty TV channels.

Now that Flashpoint is on a more aggressive production schedule, it has seven full-time writers plus freelance writers, according to co-creator Ellis.

“We saw it was possible with Flashpoint, so we jumped in with The Bridge. The quality is there and it’s very affordable (especially in these times of economic downturn),” said Davis.

The street cop series, which has been in development since 2005 by Shaftesbury Films in conjunction with CTV, was originally commissioned as a two-hour movie of the week with a back-door pilot. The Bridge was the third Canadian drama series in less than 18 months from CTV to get distribution on a U.S. network. The Listener, a supernatural drama about a paramedic who can hear people’s most intimate thoughts, was acquired by NBC.

Shaftesbury Films chair and CEO Christina Jennings said the indie does all of its shows in partnerships, and that The Listener was fully financed before NBC came on board.

“If you want to sell to the States, you really have to do your homework,” added Jennings. She suggested researching what’s working in the ratings, where there are holes, etc. She added that Shaftesbury was thinking of opening an L.A. office to show there’s “a long commitment to be made” with U.S. partners.

Fellow panelist Bill Hamm, executive vice-president of original production and development at Starz Media agreed that knowing the types of shows already on the docket at the U.S. networks was helpful.

Starz is a U.S. pay TV channel that runs Canadian company Starz Animation Toronto. The Canadian animation house is producing an animated show called 9 by U.S. director Tim Burton, and Gnomeo and Juliet, a take-off of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with pop music superstar Elton John.

“Like with Flashpoint, find something unique. Flashpoint has more of an emotional component,” he said. “The Canadians have broken through; they’re on the map. Their shows are as good or better than (those created by) the Americans.”

Asked, if there is resistance on the part of the U.S. networks to obvious Canadian landmarks or references in the series, Davis responded, “We have agreed not to run from it or spotlight it.”

For example, Flashpoint is obviously set in Toronto, with the CN Tower appearing regularly and the characters referring to Toronto street names.

Jennings admitted to changing a reference to being as cold as Winnipeg to as cold as Buffalo in one episode of The Listener, but said the series generally tries to be “Canadian.”

“If Toronto is alienating to viewers then the U.S. networks shouldn’t buy the series,” she noted.

It’s ironic that Canadians are trying to break into the U.S. conventional TV market at a time when the CRTC is looking to curb the amount of money Canadian over-the-air networks spend on U.S. programming.

In a speech on Monday morning, CRTC chair Konrad von Finckenstein stated, “It was pointed out (at CRTC public hearings) that conventional broadcasters are spending increasing amounts on non-Canadian content. …we intend to make sure, through regulation, that an appropriate proportion of the financial resources of the English-language conventional broadcasters is devoted to Canadian programming in the years to come.”

THE BRIDGE: Funny, You Don’t Look Canadian

Funny, You Don’t Look Canadian
By: Katrina Onstad
Date: June 5, 2009
Source: (A version of this article appeared in print on June 7, 2009, on page MT2 of the New York edition).


Note: The below is a copy and paste of just the part about THE BRIDGE. To read the full article please click on the link above.


Soon television audiences will be seeing a lot more red mailboxes, as shows created in Canada infiltrate the American broadcast networks. NBC just introduced “The Listener,” about a telepathic paramedic; ABC has picked up “Copper,” described as “Grey’s Anatomy” with rookie officers; CBS has scheduled another police procedural, “The Bridge,” as a midseason replacement next winter. All three programs are shot in Toronto.

“The Bridge,” a CBS-CTV co-production, is another street cop show, this time loosely based on the career of a former Toronto police union boss named Craig Bromell. A controversial figure, he was once accused of being one of several officers who beat up a homeless man. (The case was settled.)

“All around the world people have this uneasy alliance with their police: ‘Do what you can to protect us, but if you have to break the rules to do it, don’t let us catch you,'” said Alan DiFiore, a show runner of “The Bridge.”

While members of the Strategic Response Unit on “Flashpoint” sport Canadian flags on their jackets, “The Bridge” seems to be moving toward a more generic sense of place. “Cops are the same in Italy, Canada, Spain,” said the show’s star, Aaron Douglas, best known as Galen Tyrol in “Battlestar Galactica.” “I’m playing it like Anytown, U.S.A.”

This is, in part, because of Mr. Bromell: a Toronto setting could leave the show vulnerable to lawsuits. But a Canadian-generated program set in Anytown, U.S.A., may be philosophically problematic for a heavily regulated television system, one that offers significant tax breaks and subsidies for shows that employ only Canadians in key positions on and off camera. The tax dollars that contribute some of the $2 million-an-episode budget of “The Bridge” are there to promote local productions, part of a larger policy intended to help Canada achieve some kind of artistic independence from the cultural behemoth next door.


American networks are showing increasing interest in series produced in Canada.
Above, Aaron Douglas, standing, is a star of The Bridge, a new police series shot in Toronto.