June 13th, 2024

Allan Hawco, Snotty Nose Rez Kids among familiar names behind upcoming CBC lineup

By Alex Nino Gheciu, The Canadian Press on May 23, 2024.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids perform at the Polaris Music Prize Awards in Toronto on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. CBC's slate of new scripted programming will feature familiar faces, with series from hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids, writer-actor Allan Hawco and comedy collaborators Jennifer Whalen and Meredith MacNeill. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – CBCs upcoming scripted lineup showcases diversity and familiar faces, with Indigenous hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids, writer-actor Allan Hawco and comedy collaborators Jennifer Whalen and Meredith MacNeill debuting new series.

The public broadcaster announced a fall and winter slate Thursday that includes the half-hour scripted show “Snotty Nose Rez Kids,” bound for early 2025.

It tells the “not even true, real life story” of the Haisla Nation artists’ rise to fame with show creators Quinton (Yung Trybez) Nyce and Darren (Young D) Metz putting their story on TV after earning accolades in the music scene.

“For us, as native kids trying to pursue something, there weren’t a lot of people who stood behind us. It was two steps forward and 10 steps back, and that’s just the way that it is navigating this world that was never built for us,” said Nyce.

“It takes a decade in the making to have that overnight success. So, it’s really about the journey and to truly see like what an artists’ day-to-day life is.”

The comedy series, which features Jennifer Podemski as showrunner and executive producer, highlights the many roadblocks and failures the duo faced on the path to success.

Podemski said she needed “a laughing break” after wrapping up her Crave/APTN series drama “Little Bird,” which leads all TV nominees at next week’s Canadian Screen Awards.

“This was a great opportunity for me to flex that muscle. And I just saw a lot of relatable content (in this show). It really is the artist’s journey; all of the comedic misfortunes that happen to all of us as we pursue this dream.”

Also slated for early 2025 is the return of “Republic of Doyle” star Hawco, who is co-showrunner and star of “Saint-Pierre.” The crime procedural centres on an inspector with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary who is exiled to work in the French territory of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, just off the coast of Newfoundland.

“It’s a fictionalized version of Saint Pierre, while staying true to the actual reality of what the place is,” said Hawco. “It’s also about people discovering who they are in this sort of Narnia of an island where anything can happen.”

Hawco said he’s “super proud” to be returning to the CBC, which he said is “a huge part” of the “connective tissue” that sets Canada apart from other countries.

“Whether you love it, hate it, complain about it, whatever. I think it’s super important in terms of exploring what our identity is.”

Hawco will run the show with Robina Lord-Stafford, who has writing credits on “Wild Cards” and “Pretty Hard Cases.”

Meanwhile, the workplace sitcom “Small Achievable Goals,” also set for early 2025, sees the “Baroness Von Sketch Show” co-creators Whalen and MacNeill play podcast producers who are both going through menopause.

Whalen said the idea for the series came about while she was experiencing menopause during the pandemic. When she began to research what was happening to her body, everything she learned about the topic “was so relentlessly negative and depressing.”

“But at the same time, some of the things I was experiencing were so funny that I just thought, ‘What if we could make a really joyful comedy about something that people perceived to be negative? I think that would be kind of amazing.'”

MacNeill said the series fits into the CBC’s mandate of highlighting underrepresented groups – in this case, menopausal women.

“The fact that the subject matter can still make people feel uncomfortable yet half of the population of the whole world goes through it, or that we’re not seeing a million shows on it, even though half the population is going through it (shows that) it’s an underrepresented topic.”

Meanwhile, journalist Tanya Talaga writes and directs “The Knowing,” a documentary series on her family’s eight-decade long search for their matriarch, which she herself began to dive into while writing a book on Canada’s residential school system.

Talaga said she’s “grateful” the CBC decided to devote resources to her project, but criticized the network for failing to adequately cover residential schools in the past.

“The CBC has a lot to answer for in so many ways, like all of the mass media in Canada does. Where were they when genocide was happening? What did they do? How did they cover things?” she said.

“I’m always amazed that our media didn’t ask more questions.”

The new programming follows a slew of high-profile cancellations, including of the Bilal Baig-led “Sort Of” and the Andrew Phung-created “Run the ‘Burbs.” Likewise, DJ Demers’ “One More Time,” was not renewed for a second season.

Seth Rogen and Jennifer Robertson’s “The Great Canadian Pottery Throwdown” was also not renewed for a second season, confirmed Sally Catto, CBC’s general manager of entertainment, factual and sports.

“We have to make really difficult decisions. We cannot order an unlimited number of shows, so we look at everything – we look at the ratings, we look at what else do we have in development? What other stories need to be told? We balance it all. And so unfortunately, that was one that is not returning.”

Long-running returning favourites include “Heartland” and “Murdoch Mysteries” – which each launch 18th seasons this fall – and “Son of a Critch,” back with a fourth season in 2025.

Unscripted shows include a new offering from Toronto-based food writer Suresh Doss who will host “Locals Welcome” to shine a light on lesser-known eateries.

“The Great Canadian Baking Show” and “Dragon’s Den” will also return – the latter with multiple episodes featuring “Kim’s Convenience” breakout Simu Liu as a “celebrity guest Dragon.”

Meanwhile, Idris and Sabrina Elba are among the executive producers on “Paid in Full,” a docuseries slated for fall on the history of Black artists in the music industry, narrated by Jully Black.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2024.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said show creators Snotty Nose Rez Kids also star in their new series when in fact, they do not.

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