Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Reaching a Flashpoint at the CTV Launch

So, I've been in Toronto now for more than 24 hours but not quite 48. It's easy to keep busy here. Already I've joined in a demonstration at Queen's Park (Ontario's provincial legislature), looked at dinosaur bones at the Royal Ontario Museum, and seen Corner Gas's Brent Butt pay a tearful tribute to his co-stars at CTV's fall network launch.

CTV unveiled its new Canadian programs at an event offering few news-bites, but mostly a chance to mix and mingle at the Park Hyatt with the talent behind its Canadian programs.

In a nutshell, here are the headlines:Flashpoint, starring Enrico Colantoni and Hugh Dillon, premieres July 11; Fall air dates were confirmed, but no specifics were announced for So You Think You Can Dance Canada and The Listener. The latter, from Christina Jennings's Shaftesbury, will debut on Fox International in December before airing on NBC in 2009. And the Juno Awards 2009 will broadcast from Vancouver, hear that my friends at home? By then Chad Kroeger may have his license back and can drive himself to the venue.

Butt and Corner Gas provided some of the day's big news. Although the upcoming season will be the last for Corner Gas, Butt said a TV movie franchise is a definite possibility. “There's no deal, but all the people in the decision making process seem to want it to happen,” said Butt, talking to a packed room of mostly Toronto-based media.

Along with that, Butt will develop a new half hour comedy for CTV, it was announced today.

Anyone who suspected a huge heart beats inside the big lug's chest, was proven correct. Butt and his cast-mates took the stage where he thanked his fellow thesps Fred Ewanuick, Nancy Robertson, Gabrielle Miller, Janet Wright, Eric Peterson, Tara Spencer-Nairn and Lorne Cardinal for “breathing life” into the characters he created. Butt couldn't hold back his tears, and neither could his co-stars. You can't fake a spirit like that, and it's the same one that's embraced by Corner Gas's many fans.

Butt isn't sure how the series will end, but it was suggested his hero Bob Newhart might play a cameo role. “I don't have many heroes, but he's one of them. We've asked him, but he said he doesn't want to do half hour comedy any more.”

The afternoon included a splashy presentation at The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts,with some of SYTYCDC's judges and choreographers, Tre Armstrong, Jean Marc Generex, Blake McGrath, and guest judges Rex Harrington and Mary Murphy, showing off a few of the moves that made them famous.

You Can Dance ... For Inspiration

It's good to have heroes. Like Butt, I don't have many, but at the CTV launch, I met one, Rex Harrington. The day's accomplishment: Having the sense to not gush in His presence, and restricting comments to: “I've seen you perform.”

Not that I imagined he couldn't sense my feverishness...For a brief second, he had that imperiled look made famous by people in TV movies of the week; one that says, "Stalker?" No. I promise. To add a little context, watch him dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRdD6chE9Mk&NR=1 (with Greta Hodgkinson).

I was once advised, “It's best not to meet your heroes. You will be disappointed.” Not true. Harrington, officer of the Order of Canada, could not have been more charming and generous. And the wink from the baby blues? Nice touch - and it wasn't even my birthday (though it was my sister's...Sorry I missed it.)

Harrington will serve as a guest judge this fall on SYTYCDC, in episodes expected to air in November.

“We'll seen what happens, by that time the dancers will be of a certain level, he said. “We'll see what happens; it's live TV. They could end up 'bleeping' me...It could be dangerous.

“But I love this stuff, performing, I love TV. I've been joking that it's such a different way of being treated...Just having someone to drive you around, someone to help with you with wardrobe. It's so different from [dance], where you schlep your own stuff as you go around the world.”

Harrington, the National Ballet of Canada's former Principal dancer officially retired in 2004. He's still an artist-in-residence with the company. Since then, he's been working building an acting career, and still dances, at last enough to keep in shape.

“What I've been thinking about what I want to see when I look at dancers if of course, timing, style, technique and that sort of thing but you really want to see somebody who's going to move you.”

Words from a master.

The whole deal ended with the fabulous Jully Black singing her hit Seven Day Fool. And the event wrapped up with a cocktail reception attended by 2.1 million of Toronto's 2.48 million people.

And that's where Alison experienced what could be called her very own Flashpoint moment.

Just kidding.

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