TORONTO (CP) _ Colin Mochrie, Wendy Crewson and Gordon Pinsent were among several dozen performers who put a damper on Global’s splashy fall TV launch Wednesday, waving placards and yelling slogans outside a downtown theatre demanding that more homegrown series be put on television.
The noisy protest, organized by the performers union ACTRA, forced TV advertisers, media and other industry players to sidestep a picket line as they filed in to see Canadian and U.S. stars trumpet shows set to appear on the broadcaster’s fall lineup.
Crewson said the protest was not targeted at Global specifically, but rather Canadian broadcasters in general.
"Our airwaves are now filled with American shows 24-7," complained Crewson, a veteran actress who appears in the sci-fi show "ReGenesis," and the film "Away From Her."
"We’re here to say that they have a responsibility to the Canadian public out of the millions and millions of dollars they make from advertising, by showing American shows, to put some back into Canadian content. We need to hear our stories, we need to see our people and our stories on the airwaves during prime-time hours."
Inside the theatre, Global executives touted the return of hit shows like "Heroes" and "House" to their prime-time lineup and introduced a slate of new programs featuring stars Jimmy Smits, Julianna Margulies, Adam Arkin and Kelsey Grammer.
The broadcaster introduced a handful of new Canadian series as well, including the dark thriller "Durham County," sitcom "About a Girl," Coast Guard series "Search and Rescue" and dramedy "’da Kink In My Hair," based on the award-wiinning play of the same name.
Global is the third of the big three Canadian networks to reveal its fall lineup.
Earlier this week, CTV announced a powerhouse schedule heavy on U.S. imports and featuring no new Canadian programming, although Canadian successes "Degrassi," "Corner Gas" and "Canadian Idol," are set to return.
CBC’s fall lineup includes a sexy new miniseries, "The Tudors," starring British actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers and returning comedy "Little Mosque on the Prairie."
Global’s new series include "Cane," a multi-generational drama about a Latin family starring Smits, and "Back to You," a comedy about a TV news team featuring "Frasier" star Grammer and "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Patricia Heaton.
It was also announced that Global anchor Kevin Newman will be transferring from Vancouver to Ottawa, a move the network said makes its national newscast the only one to be anchored in the nation’s capital. The main production hub of the newcast will remain in Vancouver.