by Tara Thorne
Hundreds of thousands of financially savvy Canadians felt a cold chill last week when Halifax-produced international phenomenon Street Cents got the axe from CBC after 17 years. The show is a seven-time Gemini winner and won an international Emmy in 2001. It helped put names like Jonathan Torrens, Demore Barnes, Brian Heighton (AKA Ken Pompadour), Andrew Bush, Anna Dirksen and Kim D’Eon (now with ET Canada) on the Canadian map.
This decision results in a shortened season and puts more than a dozen people—two full-timers, the rest contracts—out of work in Halifax. (Luckily current Street Cents co-host Allie Dixon has been filling in as anchor on the six o’clock news this summer. Good luck girlie!)
“Nobody disputes the fact that the program has been an exceptional success for the CBC,” says Ceeb spokesperson Jeff Keay from his Toronto office. “It’s been a fantastic show, everyone at the CBC is very proud of the thing. Having said that, the particular demographic that the program was aimed at, the research shows very clearly that the demographic is moving away from television.
“The viewership has been turning downward since 1999.”
Currently the network is developing a “youth strategy” to figure out how to get kids interested in their public broadcaster. They’re talking internet, but here’s a thought: don’t stick your best original youth-oriented program on Saturday afternoons.
The final episode of Street Cents—this is a painful sentence—airs on Sunday, October 1.
Journalling at the AFF
The Atlantic Film Festival has been frustratingly quiet to this point, but as of last week the lid began coming off. (Full line-up, including individual ticket sales, drops August 30.)
The Journals of Knud Rasmussen has been announced as the opening film of the 26th edition of the AFF. Director Zacharias Kunuk is also the helmer behind beloved national phenomenon Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), which closed the AFF in 2001. Journals is about a shaman grappling with the arrival of Christianity in the north and how it affects his life and Inuit culture.
“We are excited that they have once again delivered an incredibly powerful story in a dramatic setting,” says AFF director Lia Rinaldo. “This film is a true reflection of the Atlantic Film Festival’s ongoing desire and commitment to showcase Canadian filmmaking talent.”
After the film’s September 14 screening, Argyle Street will be closed for drunken staggering and general reverie. Tickets to the film and party—you can buy in combos ranging from $15 to $75, depending on how schmoozy you’re feeling—are available online at atlanticfilm.com or by visiting the newly opened box office at 1599 South Park, AKA the Radio Room in the CBC building.
Check this space next week for more line-up deets.
Bits, blabs and corrections
Last week we told you about Eastern Front Theatre’s season opener Corvette Crossing and that it would take place aboard HMCS Sackville. We must have left our brain at sea because that’s wrong—Corvette races into EFT’s home at Alderney Landing Theatre on October 25. Apologies for the mistake. EFT is still looking for somebody to replace Hans Boggild, by the way. Visit easternfront.ns.ca for details. … Thursday, August 24, sees a benefit for the Aeolian Ride—where 50 people wear wind-inflated suits while riding their bikes—passing through Halifax on September 10. Five bucks gets you performances by Scribbler, Ancients, Broken Deer, Be Bad and Catano.
The Atlantic Fringe Festival descends on Halifax for 10 days beginning August 31. The following look cool to us: 13 Ways of Looking at a Madman, from DaPoPo Theatre; Bill the Amazing, starring the consistently hilarious Bill Wood; Angels and Heroes’ Caged, co-starring Greco man Shawn Duggan (sweet!); Calculus: The Musical just because of the title; Deranged Love: The David Hasselhoff Story for the same reason (note to self: dig out Don’t Hassel the Hoff t-shirt); Living Shadows: A Story of Mary Pickford, who was a major force in Hollywood as a co-founder of United Artists and America’s first sweetheart despite being Canadian; Marion Bridge from the new Metamorphic Theatre and a version of David Mamet’s The Shawl. And that’s only a dent. Tune in next week for more.
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