CBC Television announced Monday in Toronto that Jenny Hacker has been appointed creative head of comedy. Hacker replaces Anton Leo, who is now a bigger head, or as CBC calls it, senior executive in charge of production for live comedy.
Prior to joining CBC in 2007, Hacker worked as a lawyer in the TV industry. You could say that she dropped her briefs to work at CBC. It wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened.
If Hacker had been a judge and then become a justice of the supreme court, you could say that she lost her honour to become a madam. But no, she will head comedy development at CBC, beating out several accountants and an actuary for the job. There might even have been a comptroller.
Hiring a lawyer for the top network comedy job may seem like an odd choice but consider some of Hacker's landmark court triumphs. There was Roe v. Costello, Regina v. 30 Rock and Joe E. Brown v. Board of Education.
Aside from making Peter Mansbridge do stand up, CBC hasn't exactly been on a comedy tear of late. There'll be fewer episodes of 22 Minutes next season. Ron James won another half season plus New Year's Eve gig, and there'll be more Just Four Laughs. As announced last week, the Paul Gross comedy Men with Brooms is joining the CBC schedule in 2010-11. Not as fall-down-funny as his more recent film Paschendale, but it's a start.
Comedy is the hot genre Stateside this upfront season so, yes, sure, put a lawyer in charge. "CBC Comedy--Laugh or we'll sue your ass!"