One of the shows trailing badly in the poll to the left may be the first on the list to win the real prize. Looks like Sophie is going Stateside.
According to this article in The Hollywood Reporter, ABC Family is negotiating with CBC to pick up 13 episodes of Sophie, the new Wednesday night sitcom starring Bailey's "It" girl Natalie Brown. There's also word that the producers of The Border--the new Monday night CBC drama leading our poll at the time of this posting--is being shopped to both CBS and ABC as well as U.S. cable nets TNT and USA.
Suddenly, Canada is where it's at. First, the Buffalo Bills want in. Now the U.S. networks are up for some cross border shopping.
Despite mixed reviews, Sophie has held its own since launching last month, drawing 618,000 viewers last Wednesday.
The report follows news that two other new Canadian-produced series are crossing the border in U.S. network deals. CTV's upcoming drama The Listener--about a young paramedic with telegenetic powers--is heading to NBC. As mentioned here previously, CTV's other new drama, Flashpoint, will be simulcast on CBS, likely as early as May or June.
The writers strike would seem to be the catalyst but a lot is at play here. The U.S. nets are done with pricey pilots and this reach across the border saves them millions in development costs. As some posters to this blog have pointed out, why pay out of your own pocket when the Canadian government can subsidize your development?
Still, that may be the price Canadians must pay to reach the vast and lucrative American audience.
Although--before we all get too carried away--let's see just how long this lasts if and when that damn strike is finally settled. The good news in the short term is that Canada is getting sampled. The longer the strike goes on, the more shows are likely to find their way south.
Among the other logical candidates is The Weight, an edgy new drama from playwright George F. Walker and coming to The Movie Network/Movie Central. I was on the set in Scarborough last November and a solid cast--including former Terminator heroine Linda Hamilton--should put this on the Yankee network pickup radar.