The Nature Of Things

Kirstine Stewart, Interim Executive Vice-President, English Services, CBC Television, today previewed the network’s Winter 2011 schedule, including the launch of new spy comedy INSECURITY, the return of the hit Down East detective series REPUBLIC OF DOYLE, the premiere of the groundbreaking new series VILLAGE ON A DIET and the 50th anniversary of THE NATURE OF THINGS.

New programming includes INSECURITY, an action-comedy following the exploits of agents at a fictional spy agency who have unorthodox and sometimes hilarious methods, but somehow manage to keep Canada safe—often unwittingly; VILLAGE ON A DIET, which follows the residents of Taylor, B.C., as they try to lose a ton of collective weight in three months, and PILLARS OF THE EARTH, a sweeping epic of good and evil set in the 12th century and starring Gordon Pinsent and Donald Sutherland.

Returning favourites include REPUBLIC OF DOYLE, a one-hour comedic drama starring Allan Hawco that follows the lives of a not-so-everyday family of detectives in Newfoundland, the internationally acclaimed comedy LITTLE MOSQUE ON THE PRAIRIE, and the second season of the provocative family comedy 18 TO LIFE.

Meanwhile, award-winning CBC journalist Tom Harrington joins Erica Johnson as co-host of Canada’s most trusted consumer affairs program, MARKETPLACE. And this winter, the 50th season of THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki continues. Highlights include a two-hour special looking at the Alberta oil sands conflict, and a celebration of 50 years of programming, exploring and highlighting key elements in the history of a Canadian institution.


CBC Television’s Winter 2011 Schedule

(all times local; thirty minutes later in Newfoundland)


SUNDAYS (beginning January 2)



MONDAYS (beginning January 3)

8 p.m. 18 TO LIFE




TUESDAYS (beginning January 4)


8:30 p.m. INSECURITY



WEDNESDAYS (beginning January 5)




THURSDAYS (beginning January 6)


9 p.m. DOC ZONE


FRIDAYS (beginning January 7)

8 p.m. RICK MERCER REPORT – Encore


9 p.m. the fifth estate






10 p.m. THE NATIONAL, with Peter Mansbridge





7 a.m. KIDS’CBC



Can re-engineering the climate save us from global warming? That’s one of the intriguing questions DOC ZONE explores Nov. 18 and 25, on CBC Television, while THE NATURE OF THINGS WITH DAVID SUZUKI investigates the imminent risk of earthquakes on the Pacific Rim, and visits some very angry volcanoes—including Merapi, the most active in Indonesia.

As the threat of climate change grows more urgent, scientists are considering radical ways to avert a planetary meltdown. Premiering on DOC ZONE, Thursday, Nov. 25 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT), Playing God With Planet Earth explores such controversial ideas as salting the ocean with iron particles to trigger plankton blooms, genetically engineering “robo trees” to suck carbon from the air, and mimicking the effects of a volcanic eruption. These extraordinary schemes just might work…or, they could lead to drought, mass starvation and even war.    

The week before, on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT), DOC ZONE asks Are We Digital Dummies? This provocative documentary explores how our love affair with technology is overloading our ancient brains. In becoming information rich, we’ve become attention poor. The defining condition of our age may well be chronic distraction. Can we manage the technology around us—or will we let it manage us?

In the five-part documentary series Geologic Journey II, THE NATURE OF THINGS WITH DAVID SUZUKI has followed some of the world’s leading geologists around the globe, as they decipher the mysteries of the Earth’s evolution. Now, in the series’ final two episodes, the story of where the earth has been and what the earth shall be—a whole new world we’ll barely recognize—concludes.

Episode 4, The Pacific Rim: Americas, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), takes viewers to one of the most unpredictable regions in the world—along the western shore of North and South America, from Alaska to California to Chile—discovering how tectonic rhythms threaten the people living along the two continents’ coastlines. Chile was the site of this year’s largest reported earthquake, and is the site of the world’s largest reported earthquake ever, in 1960. And according to a recent study, Chile’s Chaiten volcano, also featured in this episode, is growing at a rate of 60 cubic metres every second—it began to erupt again in 2008 after being dormant for nearly 9,000 years.

Episode 5, The Collision Zone: Asia, Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), travels to the peak of Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia. Geologist Nick Eyles says, “We climbed to the top of Merapi, and the signs were obvious… a very angry volcano.” Within the last week, Merapi eruptions have forced evacuations of nearly 75,000 people. The final episode in the series also explores the fractured history of the Eastern world’s geological battleground: the fiery unpredictability of Indonesia’s volcanoes at one end, the massive Himalayas at the other, and millions of years of tectonic tension in between.

CBC-TV’s longest-running documentary program, THE NATURE OF THINGS WITH DAVID SUZUKI, returns Sept. 23 with an exciting lineup of episodes to mark its 50th season—beginning with an ode to the octopus and a look at the latest research into neuroplasticity.

The multi-award-winning show—which remains the only prime-time science program on network television in Canada—dives into its 2010-2011 season with a documentary that takes viewers to the depths of the ocean.

Aliens of the Deep Sea, Thursday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC-TV, follows scientists from Coruna, Spain to Vancouver Island and finally to Capri, Italy, as they strive to understand how intelligent the octopus truly is.

Underwater experiments in the lab and in the wild reveal astonishing results that suggest these graceful, boneless creatures, from some of the smallest to the giants of the North Pacific, hold a multitude of secrets that have yet to be unraveled.

The following week, THE NATURE OF THINGS turns its focus to humans with Changing Your Mind, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), which follows the earlier eye-opening documentary The Brain That Changes Itself, based on the best-selling book by Toronto psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Norman Doidge. This time, Dr. Doidge takes viewers through compelling cases to illustrate how the plastic brain plays an important role in treating mental diseases and disorders, and how research offers new hope to people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and even schizophrenia.

Other highlights of THE NATURE OF THINGS’ 50th season include: Geologic Journey II, a sequel to the highly acclaimed series that explored the geologic history of North America—this new five-part series takes on the rest of the world; Tipping Point: The End of Dirty Oil?, a two-hour special on the oil sands controversy; Save My Lake, which investigates what’s happening to Lake Winnipeg; The Last Grizzly of Paradise Valley, a search for the last great bears of southern British Columbia; Raccoon Nation, a look at the urban masked bandit; The Burrowers, which follows the once nearly extinct black-footed ferret on its return to the prairies; For the Love of Elephants, which explores the emotional rehabilitation of orphaned elephants; In Search of the G Spot, where science and sexology meet; Code Breakers, where new DNA finds reveal just who the first North Americans were; and Ayahuasca, which asks whether a strange brew can help cure addiction. All this, and a one-hour 50th anniversary special airing on March 31, 2011.

THE NATURE OF THINGS airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on CBC-TV; Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, Saturdays at 7 p.m. ET and Sundays at 6 p.m. ET on CBC News Network. For complete program information, please visit

On Jan. 28, The Nature of Things with David Suzuki, at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), followed by Doc Zone, at 9 PM (9:30 NT), present a themed evening investigating marijuana. THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki reveals disturbing new evidence linking pot smoking and mental illness in teenagers, while DOC ZONE explores the hidden and dangerous business of   Canada’s booming marijuana industry.

Then in February, DOC ZONE explores the frenzied lives of overprotective and overindulgent parents. What are the consequences for their children? And THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki turns the spotlight on bats; revealing how bats’ unique biology and chemistry are attracting interest from scientists who believe there’s much we can learn from these unfairly reviled creatures.

Thursday, January 28

Is strong pot damaging young minds? That provocative question is at the heart of The Downside of High, airing Jan. 28, at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT), on THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki, on CBC Television. In this new documentary, the link between marijuana and mental illness is uncovered as scientists reveal that teenagers who start smoking marijuana before age 16 are four times more likely to become schizophrenic. 

Directed and written by Bruce Mohun, The Downside of High tells the stories of three young people from British Columbia who believe, along with their doctors, that their mental illness was triggered by marijuana use. All three spent time in psychiatric wards and still wage a battle with their illness. Today’s super-potent pot may be a big part of the problem, as modern growing techniques have dramatically increased the amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that ramps up the threat to the developing teenage brain.

CannaBiz, airing on DOC ZONE, at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT), tells the story of Grand Forks, B.C., an eccentric border town nestled in the secluded Kootenay Mountains, where draft dodgers and hippies planted the first “B.C. Bud” in the 1960s. Today, marijuana growers are at the crossroads of crime and commerce, as growers battle for a share of profits from an industry worth a staggering $20 billion, amid rising violence and gang trouble. The code of the marijuana industry has taken a drastic change over the last few decades, as Brian Taylor, the “Marijuana Mayor”, and ex-convict Sam Mellace petition for legalized medical marijuana as an answer to the fallout from the escalating crime and mayhem.

With inside access to growers, gangsters and police, CannaBiz untangles the inner workings of the exploding marijuana business and raises serious questions about Canada’s drug laws. 

Thursday, February 4

Bats have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and they have adapted and thrived in virtually every corner of the planet. Bat & Man, airing at 8 p.m. (8:30 p.m. NT), on THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki, shows how scientists have begun unlocking the secrets of the bat, and are now developing potential therapies based on their discoveries, everything from an ultra cane for the blind, to a potential treatment for stroke victims. As Bat & Man reveals, bats are more than merely a hardy and adaptable species—they are scientifically extraordinary creatures.

Kids today are the most overprotected, overindulged and overscheduled in history, making people wonder if all of this attention is giving the next generation a leg up on the competition or creating new problems that will last a lifetime. Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids, airing Feb. 4 at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT), on DOC ZONE, looks inside the world of hyper parenting, a trend that began in the early 1980s when the baby boomers began to have children. Today’s precious offspring are shuffled around from music lessons, soccer and hockey games by parents who are obsessed with making sure their children stay ahead of the pack. Produced by DreamFilm Productions, and co-directed by Sharon Bartlett and Maria Le Rose, Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids presents a snapshot in time of a great social experiment in parenting whose full results will not be known for years.

Thursday, January 21 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)

At a crime scene, fingerprints, fibres and blood are the clues that skilled forensic scientists can turn into compelling evidence in court. But nature can also provide clues, if you know how to read them. Bugs, Bones & Botany: The Science of Crime, airing at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), on THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki, introduces viewers to some unexpected heroes of the forensic world. Microbiologist Dr. Jennifer Gardy shows us how bugs, plants, bones, even dust, can also be formidable enemies of crime.

Thursday, January 7 8 p.m. (8:30 NT)

Bees are all around us. When the news broke three and a half years ago that honeybee populations around the globe were declining at an alarming rate, it was no surprise that scientists took notice. And while some might consider them no more than a nuisance, bees are crucial to us and to the natural world. They are essential pollinators of many of the food crops that we depend on—almonds, sunflowers and many fruits. A world without bees would be unrecognizable. What is happening to the bees, and can they be saved? Like many scientific mysteries, the answers are rarely found in one place. Airing at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT), on THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki, To Bee or Not to Be takes viewers across Canada and the U.S., to France, Germany and Scotland, into laboratories, bee yards, almond orchards and breeding grounds, in search of clues.

On Sunday, Nov. 22, at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT), on THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki, The Suzuki Diaries hits the road again and this time host David and his daughter Sarika travel the coastlines of Canada, looking for good news stories. In Suzuki Diaries: Coastal Canada, David and Sarika reverse roles, as the marine scientist daughter becomes the expert and the father becomes the protégé. Their passion for the troubled ocean is evident in these stories that touch on the ways of life of coastal Canadians. Not only does Canada have the longest coast in the world, but Canadians also have storied relationships with the waters that surround them.  David and Sarika reveal what the ocean means to these Canadians and why it’s important for the rest of us to remain hopeful.

October 18

THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki takes Canadian audiences to the Amazon headwaters in Mini Monsters of Amazonia, where viewers are introduced to Membracids.  These tiny masters of disguise, strategy and survival avoid predators by mimicking leaves, branches or even deadly fungus. No bigger than 6 mm, Membracids can be seen living in groups along with their protectors, the ants. In Mini Monsters of Amazonia, a team of insect scientists reveals the mating sounds of these minute creatures and the many unique evolutionary traits of the Membracids. Mini Monsters of Amazonia airs Sunday, Oct. 18, at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT), on CBC Television.

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October 11

Tune in to THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki this season on Sundays, at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT). Kicking off the season is A Murder of Crows, a documentary that gives audiences a rare and intimate glimpse of the American crow—a bird considered to be one of the most intelligent, playful and mischievous species on the planet. With cameras following world-renowned scientist and crow expert Professor John Marzluff, as he explores the secret world of this bird, audiences will be treated to little-known facts about this haunting and elusive species. A visually stunning and scientific exploration of a common, but poorly understood creature that lives among us, A Murder of Crows will challenge the audience’s perception of the crow as “neighbourhood pest” and encourage a deeper understanding and respect for this bird.

Narrated by David Suzuki, the three-part series Arctic Meltdown—beginning Saturday, June 20, at 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. NT), on CBC Television—documents the drastic changes the Arctic has seen over the last few years. From new companies rushing to claim the Arctic’s plentiful resources to the effect climate change has had on animals as well as plant life, the documentary, directed by Kristina Von Hlatky, asks the big question: as the Arctic meltdown continues at an ever accelerating pace, who will protect it?

In Arctic Meltdown: A Changing World, airing Saturday, June 20, at 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. NT), we see the changes that are upsetting the scientific predictions of the impact of climate change on the Arctic. Now, one sobering forecast is that the Arctic Ocean will be seasonally ice free by the summer of 2013. This possibility is what drives environmentalists to identify ways to minimize the changes affecting this snowy land. But for prospectors like Gordon McCreary, climate change brings new opportunities. He is part of the rush to claim the riches beneath the Arctic’s ice: deposits of metals, gold, diamonds, and oil and gas.

Episode one will showcase how Arctic nations are racing to claim control over the Arctic’s resources and shipping routes. Dr. Ruth Jackson, from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Nova Scotia, leads the Canadian team racing to map the seabed to support Canada’s claim. Scientists too are now becoming victims of the Arctic’s icy politics. A Canadian-led, international team of researchers is thwarted on camera when their deal to hire a Russian nuclear icebreaker falls through.

Episode two, Arctic Meltdown: The Arctic Passages, airing Saturday, June 27 at 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. NT), explores the Northwest Passage and how these dangerous waters are suddenly becoming accessible to businesses and shipping. Ports like Churchill, Manitoba and Murmansk, Russia expect to see business grow in years to come. Until recently, only a few ships braved travel through these ice-strewn waters. More and more ships cross these seas each year and with more traffic come higher risks—in particular, for the Inuit who worry about the lack of ports and emergency support. 

Arctic Meltdown: Adapting to Change airing Saturday, July 4, at 7 p.m. (7:30 p.m. NT), tracks two different Arctics—one that is the storybook land of ice, snow and polar bears and the other that is covered with petroleum plants and pipelines carrying fossil fuels. Bylot Island is a national park, and for 20 years a team of Canadian scientists have come every summer to measure the impact of climate change on snowy owls, lemmings, snow geese and Arctic foxes. Here they have discovered that even tiny, hardy plants are being affected, causing a cascade of changes through the ecosystem.