CBC's blog

Celebrated comedian Martin Short brings his unique brand of wit to CBC-TV with I, Martin Short, Goes Home, airing Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT).

This one-hour special features a star-studded line up of talent including Fred Willard (Modern Family), Eugene Levy (American Pie), Andrea Martin (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Robin Duke (Saturday Night Live), Joe Flaherty (The Second City’s Next Comedy Legend) and CBC’s own George Stroumboulopoulos (George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight).

When Martin Short learns that his childhood idol (played by Fred Willard) has fallen on hard times, he returns to his home town of Hamilton, Ontario to perform in a star-studded gala benefit.

Along the way, Marty is reunited with some childhood mentors and relives childhood memories though parodies, sketches and songs.

I, Martin Short, Goes Home, is a journey through the life and mind of Martin Short. And some of it is even true.

The Variety special also reunites Marty with Executive Producer Andrew Alexander (SCTV) and The Second City which helped launch his comedy career.

Heartland, CBC-TV’s most popular family drama, wraps its fifth season Sunday, March 25 at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT) with a gripping finale that sees several main characters’ relationships take some surprising turns.

When a mystery horse arrives at Heartland, Amy and Ty are sent down a path that will alter their lives.

Meanwhile, Tim and Miranda realize they have to take their son Shane’s wishes into consideration, so they decide to spend some quality time together with surprising results.

Peter drives Lou crazy when he takes over the plans for their second anniversary celebration but she is almost speechless when he reveals his surprise.

HEARTLAND is a sprawling multi-generational saga about a family getting through life together in both happy and trying times. Against the glorious backdrop and stunning vistas of the foothills of Alberta, HEARTLAND tells real stories about real people, people who Canadians from across the country have grown to love and welcome into their homes.

Fans of the show are encouraged to follow along with the finale drama on Twitter using the hashtag: #iloveheartland. They can also enhance their experience with Heartland Ranch – a branded Facebook social game that lets fans run their own virtual horse ranch, tending to injured horses and expanding their operation with the main characters from the show. The game is available as a Facebook App.

The man behind The Wealthy Barber is the newest member of CBC-TV’s DRAGONS’ DEN.

David Chilton, author and publisher of the multi-million selling Wealthy Barber series of personal finance books, will put his common sense approach to work judging and investing in new business proposals from Canadian entrepreneurs seeking help from the Dragons.

“David Chilton embodies Canadian entrepreneurial success, and through his terrific books he has shared his financial advice for the benefit of everyone,” said Julie Bristow, executive director of studio and unscripted programming. “We can’t wait to hear the insights he offers to those entering the DRAGONS’ DEN this season.”

The seventh season of DRAGONS’ DEN begins September 2012. Chilton will join the well-loved – and feared – returning Dragons:

Bruce Croxon, Internet Mogul – No longer the newest Dragon to enter the Den, Croxon is an active investor, advisor and start-up champ who co-founded one of the best-known online dating websites in the world, Lavalife.

Arlene Dickinson, Marketing Maven – CEO of creative marketing firm Venture Communications Ltd., Dickinson is an award-winning executive.

Kevin O’Leary, Investment Guru – Bay Street bigmouth and host of REDEMPTION INC., O’Leary started his fortune selling educational software, and now manages O’Leary Funds, his own mutual fund company.

Jim Treliving, Franchise Baron – This former RCMP officer has 40 years of franchising experience with both Boston Pizza and Mr. Lube, also manages a portfolio of multi-million dollar property, sports and real-estate investments.

Everyone knows about the Pirates of the Caribbean. Johnny Depp’s portrayal of pirate Jack Sparrow is already the stuff of movie legend.

But what about the pirates of Atlantic Canada? Pirates and Privateers is a half hour documentary that explores the rough-and-tumble history of marine piracy in the Maritimes.

Hundreds of years ago, the secluded coves and inlets of the Maritimes were perfect hiding places for pirates avoiding detection by the King’s navy. And with the huge fishing industry, the Maritimes were a perfect hunting ground for supplies, ships and new recruits.

Pirates and Privateers introduces the viewer to several notorious pirates who plundered Atlantic Canada, and tells a story that recalls the blunderbuss, the cutlass, evil deeds, and supposed buried treasure.

Not many Canadians know what is meant by the word “privateer”, even though privateering was a significant social and financial force in times of war, whether against the Spanish, the French, or the Americans during the War of 1812. Pirates and Privateers explains how the business of privateering worked, as practiced in one of Canada’s most successful privateering centres: Liverpool Nova Scotia.

Pirates and Privateers was written and directed by award-winning Halifax documentary-maker Geoff D’Eon, best known for his work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes and CBC Television’s Doc Zone. The documentary was produced by Edward Peill from Halifax-based Tell Tale Productions Inc.

“There are so many rich pirate stories in Atlantic Canada, it was hard to know which ones to pick. And how many times have we all heard that Stan Roger’s song Barrett’s Privateers,” says D’Eon. “It brings the house down every time, but it’s amazing how few people actually know what a privateer was.  Hopefully, this documentary will clear up the confusion.”

Pirates and Privateers will have its world broadcast premiere on CBC Television’s Land & Sea on Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 12 Noon. Following the broadcast, the documentary can be watched on the CBC TV website at:  www.cbc.ca/landandsea. Land & Sea is one of CBC’s longest running TV series and can be followed on Twitter: @cbclandandsea

Well into its sixth successful season, DRAGONS’ DEN is leaving the Den to catch up with memorable entrepreneurs who once braved the Den. The special update show airs Wednesday, February 29 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC Television.

After the studio lights and cameras shut off, the lives of the Den’s entrepreneurs can take many different paths. This special edition of DRAGONS’ DEN will take you across the country to reveal what’s happened to your favourite pitchers, track down the most memorable disasters and catch up with some of the biggest success stories in the show’s history.

Tune in to see which pitchers from this season have already cashed in their Dragon cheques – including a 17-year-old racecar driving sensation, a pair of chocolate candy legends, a mother of three with a children’s teaching tool and a deal-a-day website that became the quickest exit in DRAGONS’ DEN history.

Get an inside look at what happened to fan-favourite businesses that got thumbs down from the Dragons – from birch-sap beverages, ethical shoes and a smoked-meat deli on wheels, to an all-female auto-repair shop, Ukrainian vodka and a small cinema with a big dream. Some ventures have achieved amazing success, others weren’t so lucky

Also, see how a real-life phenomenon known as “The Dragons’ Den Effect” has been sweeping the nation – a local cereal from B.C.’s Sunshine Coast is now a multi-million dollar hit, an eco-friendly moving-box company out of Vancouver has become a franchise empire and a small perfume business from Nova Scotia is providing a big boost for farmers in Afghanistan.

As a special bonus, you’ll get exclusive commentary from the Dragons who provide their opinions and insights on these fascinating stories throughout the show.

DRAGONS’ DEN airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET (8:30 NT) on CBC Television.

Just For Laughs, the comedy experts, have compiled the best performances of the 2011 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival and created three hilarious CBC Television specials, featuring international comedy stars John Oliver, Russell Peters, and Eric Stonestreet. 

The laughs start with John Oliver’s comedic take on the future, or lack thereof, of the USA with The Decline of the American Empire.

The following week Eric Stonestreet will reflect on relationships alongside a hysterical line-up of comedians in the special Modern Love. Concluding the series is Canada’s own Russell Peters, who hosts “the best night ever” with a personally selected line-up of his favourite and funniest comedian friends. 

The Decline of the American Empire – Tuesday, March 20 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC-TV

What is the American Empire and is it falling? Why watch boring men in suits debate this on CNN? It’s time to dive head first into The Decline of the American Empire, hosted by the one and only John Oliver. The British comic you love from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart hosts a smart, opinionated and equally funny political special featuring wildly popular comedians Colin Quinn, WTF podcast host Marc Maron, and Greg Proops (Whose Line Is It Anyway?). 

Modern Love – Tuesday, March 27 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC-TV

Is your cat your best friend? Do you have a strange intimate relationship with Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Cookie Dough ice cream? Are you wondering how things are between you and your mother-in-law? There’s nothing like the feeling of love and a relationship, no matter who or what it’s with. Hosted by Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet and featuring a hysterical line-up of comedians including Canadian single gal, Debra DiGiovanni, Australian musical genius Tim Minchin, and late-night talk show favourite (and badgered husband), Bob Marley. 

Russell Peters Best Night Ever – Tuesday, April 10 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC-TV

Ever wish you could step into the mind of worldwide comedy star Russell Peters to see who he thinks is funny? Wouldn’t that be the “Best Night Ever?” Well, wish no more! Russell himself will host an epic show featuring a personally selected line-up of his favourite and funniest comedian friends including special guest Jeremy Hotz and starring Jimmy Carr, Sebastian Maniscalco and Nick Thune.

CBC Television proudly presents WRATH OF GRAPES: THE DON CHERRY STORY II – the follow-up to the highly successful Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story– in two parts on March 4 and 11 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT).

WRATH OF GRAPES: THE DON CHERRY STORY II tells the story of Cherry’s later years and his evolution into one of Canada’s cultural media icons, with Jared Keeso reprising his Gemini Award-winning performance as the host of Coach’s Corner.  The first part of the Cherry story drew 1.3 million viewers in 2010.   

No one thought the newly-unemployed coach of the Colorado Rockies would last more than a few weeks as a CBC commentator in 1980, never mind eventually be voted number seven on the all-time list of great Canadians. 

WRATH OF GRAPES: THE DON CHERRY STORY II uncovers who Don Cherry really is, the events that shape his past and the key moments in his life that allow him to continue to stay relevant to people today. More than just a broadcaster, Don is controversial, populist, politically involved, a supporter of the troops, and a figure who stirs up emotions of all kinds everywhere he goes.  

WRATH OF GRAPES: THE DON CHERRY STORY II will explore the impact Don’s outspokenness has had on his Coach’s Corner platform, and the attempts that have been made to curb his opinionated nature.

The powder keg that is porn culture has exploded in the lives of North American children. The often-devastating consequences are explored in the new film Sext up KIDS, premiering Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 9 pm on CBC’s main network documentary showcase, “Doc Zone”.

Directed by award winning documentary filmmaker, Maureen Palmer (Leaving Bountiful, How to Divorce & Not Wreck the Kids), Sext up KIDS is produced by Rick LeGuerrier and Timothy M. Hogan of Dream Street Pictures (Canada Russia ’72, Sticks and Stones).

From tiny tots strutting bikini-clad bodies in beauty pageants to companies marketing itty-bitty thongs and padded bras to 9-year olds, images of ever-younger sexualized girls have become commonplace. Add to that: ever-younger boys with 24-7 access to hard-core internet porn.

It saturates their lives – from skate parks to the school bus – by the time they turn eighteen, 80 percent of boys have watched on-line porn. Toss social media into the mix and kids can not only consume X-rated images, but can also now produce them. ‘Sexting’ has become a Grade 7 right of passage.

Sext up KIDS exposes how growing up in a hyper-sexualized culture hurts our kids. Teens and pre-teens show, and tell what they are doing and why they are doing it. Experts reveal startling new research, tracking how the pressure to be sexy is changing teen and sexual behavior in alarming ways, as “anal becomes the new oral.”

Parents and educators struggle to help kids navigate puberty in a world where the line between pop culture and porn culture is increasingly blurred. For every parent who thinks, “that’s not my son or daughter,” Sext up KIDS is your wake up call.

Gerry Dee, the award-winning comedian and star of CBC Television’s MR. D, will host CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON, the groundbreaking two-hour television special that will reveal that there is more to intelligence than having a high IQ score or being a whiz at math or trivia.

CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON airs on CBC Television on Sunday, March 18 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT).

In 2011, Canadians had the opportunity to nominate themselves, or someone they know, as CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON. Drawing on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, show producers used interviews and tests to narrow the field to four participants with well-rounded intelligence profiles.

Airing on Sunday, March 18 at 8 p.m., CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON will feature Hamilton Tiger Cats offensive linesman, Peter Dyskowski; high school science teacher, Dr. Marshall Carroll; 23-year-old student and gamer, Laura Suen; and spoken word poet, Greg Frankson participating in a series of fun and spectacular challenges aimed at testing six areas of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. The person who proves that they have the most versatile smarts will earn the title of CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON.

CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON will also feature a lineup of special guest appearances by Arlene Dickinson (DRAGONS’ DEN), comedians Naomi Sniekus, Matt Baram and Sean Cullen.


Play along during the broadcast

On the night of the broadcast, CANADA’S SMARTEST PERSON viewers can put their own wits to the test and play along simultaneously with the challenges online at cbc.ca/smartestperson or with an innovative app (for Apple iOS) created for the show. Available in early March, the play along app will help audiences discover more about their own intelligence and see how they compare to the four TV participants.


Participant info

Vancouver-born Peter Dyskowski is a 27-year-old offensive linesman for the Hamilton Tiger Cats. The first Canadian-born athlete to sign a scholarship with Louisiana State University, Dykowski balances his athleticism with his Mensa qualified intelligence.

At just 23 years old, Laura Suen from Mississauga already has a double major Honours BSc in physics and cellular and molecular biology as well as a minor in mathematics. In her free time, Suen plays video games competitively and has won over $30,000 in gaming competitions.

Dr. Marshall Carroll is a high school science teacher from Winnipeg who is educated as a theoretical quantum chemist. Also a singer-songwriter and a stand-up comedian, Carroll has been inspiring students for over 20 years.

With an ability to create poetry at the drop of a noun, Toronto’s Greg Frankson is a spoken word artist. Following a career in education in Montreal, Frankson moved to Ottawa where he became a policy analyst for the Federal Government before pursuing a full-time career as a performance artist, emcee, mental health advocate and arts educator.

One year later, as Japan grapples with the aftermath of the triple disaster—earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown—David Suzuki travels to the country to learn how the people most affected are responding.

Featuring dramatic footage of the tsunami never seen outside Japan, Journey to the Disaster Zone: Japan 3/11 airs on CBC-TV’s THE NATURE OF THINGS WITH DAVID SUZUKI, Thursday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT).

For David Suzuki, it’s a very personal journey, as he explores the impact of the earthquake and tsunami and sees whether the Japanese people are re-thinking their nation’s approach to nuclear energy—and the entire idea of a high-consumption lifestyle.

“I found lots of ideas bubbling to the surface, focused on sustainable communities, food and energy,” Suzuki says. “The challenge for the Japanese is that the great strength of the people—orderliness, discipline and stoicism—demonstrated during the terrible time after 3/11, also presents a hurdle. That is, there is a great reluctance to rise up and demand change. Where will Japan go in the years to follow?” 

Suzuki presents his quest for answers and finds that innovative technology and the re-assessment of conventional thinking might turn a cataclysm into a blueprint for the future.

Journey to the Disaster Zone: Japan 3/11 was produced and directed by Michael Allder. Executive producer is Gordon Henderson. This 90th Parallel Production for The Nature of Things is produced in association with Japan’s NHK. The documentary will be broadcast in Japan in March.