Is CBC really that ticked at Chris Haddock? Tomorrow night at 9 p.m., they're finally airing the writer/producer's spin-off feature "The Quality of Life: A Dominic Da Vinci Movie." A year after it was delivered, they're burying it on a Saturday in June, TV's equivalent of the witness protection program.
In addition, the Toronto-based publicity firm they've hired to promote their shows, Media Profile, is not doing any promotion for the movie. This for a follow up to a series that has run a decade on the network, giving Canadian viewers one of the most memorable characters ever, the Vancouver coroner/mayor so brilliantly played by Nicholas Campbell.
Haddock (above with Campbell), who I spoke with this week for The Canadian Press, thinks he's being punished for venting in public about CBC cancelling his more recent series, Intelligence. You can read the full CP piece here.
CBC head of media relations Jeff Keay brushed that off when I contacted him yesterday. "Not sure we'd agree with Chris's evaluation," he emailed. "We don't always agree, but we don't have a problem with him stating his opinion; hell, that's one of his best qualities!"
CBC is probably genuinely okay with Haddock sounding off. The free publicity brings some attention to the movie they've buried, guaranteeing at least a few dozen viewers Saturday night. But imagine Fox throwing a hypothetical David Shore House spin-off TV-movie away like this, or telling Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane (who they've just locked up with a multi-million-dollar development deal) that he's on his own for promotion on his next project.
Regimes change at networks and the last guy's show is not always given the same respect by the new team. CBC seems to be cutting its ties to the recent past, be it Air Farce or Da Vinci or a Hockey Night in Canada theme song. Like a new hockey coach assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the players before him, this is absolutely the prerogative of a new programmer in charge.
Just watch out for the other teams. CTV could pick up Da Vinci as easily as it picked up that hockey song. Haddock would have no problem with that, as long as he got to tell more Da Vinci stories. "Oh Yeah. Absolutely," he joked on the phone. "If you want to broker that I’ll give you a fee."