Who will take a chicken cannon blast on the chin in tonight’s Air Farce New Year’s Eve Special (8 p.m. on CBC)?
I already know, having attended the taping last week with my son and a friend. (While Air Farce Live episodes have indeed been live this season, the New Year’s special was taped in advance.) All three of us sat in the front row at the taping and caught some of the guck that spewed from the blast. There are several targets tonight, but lets just say the final bulleye was cheered by the 200 or so spectators in the bleachers (I’ll post a photo tomorrow).
The Air Farce New Year’s Eve specials, a tradition for the past 15 years, are generally among CBC’s highest-rated offerings. This one could also be the first blast in what is expected to be a big month for the network. With the U.S. writers’ strike continuing Stateside, CTV and Global are stuck with reruns and plenty of lame reality fare from their U.S. counterparts. CBC has seven new shows set to debut, including The Border, a 24-ish thriller that looks at terrorism and trafficking at Canadian entry points (starting Jan. 7 at 9 p.m.) and MVP, a sexy soap about NHL snow bunnies already dubbed “Desperate Hockey Wives” (Jan. 11 at 9 p.m.). Both have been getting good buzz from critics but that doesn’t always matter. Intelligence and even The Eleventh Hour were both recommended when they premiered, yet neither ever broke through to a mass audience (in fact, both failed the patented Brioux BPT (“Brampton Population Test”)—across Canada, both shows failed to draw and average audience larger than the population of Brampton, Ont. (aprox. 400,000).
The hope this time is that, as long as they can avoid slapping straight up against Fox’s American Idol (and they both should since Idol returns Tuesday, Jan. 15 and Wednesday, Jan. 16 in two two-hour audition episodes), The Border and MVP should at least get sampled by Canadian audiences. That, and plenty of promotion, is all a producer can ask for.
Other CBC rookies launching in January are Sophie, a quirky comedy about a young woman who’s life goes all to hell (Jan. 9 at 8:30) and jPod, a Chuck-ish entry about a nerd who gets mixed up with gangs and gory video games (Jan. 8 at 9 p.m.). CBC also launches its new daytime hope, The Steven and Chris Show, starring those Designer Guys, Steven Sabados and Chris Hyndman (Jan. 14 at 2 p.m.).CBC even has a new reality show but this one actually looks fun: The Week The Women Went follows a whole town full of women as they take a week-long break from their husbands and families. Does everything go straight to hell? The series debuts Jan. 21.