LOS ANGELES-- You can't kill MVP with a hockey stick.
The "desperate hockey wives" soap may be out of the CBC playoffs but it is still in contention south of the border, where it airs on ABC Soapnet.
I was standing with my Globe and Mail colleague John Doyle at the tragically under-air conditioned ABC party last night when Doyle got a heads up on one of those newfangled blackberry thingies. It was from MVP producer Mary Young Lechie telling him one of the stars from her series, Lucas Bryant, was somewhere in the crowded banquet room.
The instructions were to look for the dude in the dark blue T-shirt near the coffee station.
Doyle and I snaked our way into the room, past Scrubs' Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Dirty Sexy Money's Peter Krause and William Baldwin, Desperate Housewives Teri Hatcher and press tour Hall of Famer Dana Delany and a bunch of other A-listers and lo and behold, Lechie's instructions were right on the money. Would that she could help me find (well, okay, Doyle find) 90210 Canuck Shenae Grimes at tonight's CBS/CW affair. (Wait--she's not on the list. Bloody publicists!)
Bryant says he is amused that MVP, which was slammed hard into the boards by many critics in Canada, seems to be getting two minutes for looking so good here. "I suppose its kind of par for the course in some ways.," says Bryant, who stickhandled through this perhaps over caffeinated analogy about people in Canada "standing in line by the bank or waiting for the bus" and pretending not to notice somebody stripping off their shirt, whereas an American would holler, "Hey! Put your shirt on!"
Explained Bryant, "in some ways, the reaction here is not what I expected, but it is typically American."
Bryant says he has heard rumblings that the producers are working to get this thing back on the ice for a second season. (Season One, by the way, is just out on DVD.) "People are trying to work out how they could pull it all together," he says.
So why did it get high sticked in Canada? I always thought the network and producers blew it by not casting a star, someone with name recognition, to draw viewers who might have been put off by the sorta sports premise into the mix. The pilot started with the broken down captain of the team going over a balcony to his death. If they had even had the cheek to cast Tie Domi in that part, add half a million Toronto viewers and thank me later.
Plus Canadians don't want to know from slutty hockey wives. As Doyle put it, "the NHL is so woven into the culture, people are suspicious." In America, he figures, all this steamy hockey boinking is simply exotic.
Anyway, that's the view from the coffee bar at the Beverly Hilton.