Northern Town stands to lose out in CBC’s shuffle

Northern Town appears to be falling apart like the meteor at the heart of TV series. Six episodes of Daniel Janke’s quirky comedy were shot…

Northern Town appears to be falling apart like the meteor at the heart of TV series.

Six episodes of Daniel Janke’s quirky comedy were shot around Whitehorse and Dawson City in the winter of 2005 for CBC TV.

The shows were packaged and delivered to the broadcaster last summer, but have not been scheduled to air.

And Janke and co-producer Daniel Iron have scripted seven new episodes.

Now the whole project’s on hold.

The pair was planning to shoot the new episodes this summer, but is waiting for the green light from CBC.

And the window to get everything in place for a summer shoot is closing quickly.

“Our production shoot for this summer is in jeopardy,” said Janke. “We’ve waited as long as we can and now we can’t wait anymore.”

With every day of delay, production costs increase and it gets harder to secure the actors, who are starting to get offers from other productions.

“It’s bad timing,” said Janke Tuesday. “Our series was at a critical juncture right when all the changes began happening at CBC.”

The broadcasters’ top echelons have seen a lot of turnover in the past year and some of its Canadian-made dramas — like This Is Wonderland and Da Vinci’s City Hall — have been axed in the process.

Some worry the staffing changes signal a change for the worse.

To boost the broadcaster’s ratings CBC’s shows should be “audience-driven” with “fast-paced,” “less issue-based,” “escapist” and “uncomplicated,” executive vice-president of English language television Richard Stursberg said at an industry conference in Ottawa in February, according to a April 1st report in the Toronto Star.

And the Northern Town producers are not alone in their frustration with the national broadcaster.

“I think almost every producer working with the CBC is frustrated right now,” said Janke. “But it’s even more poignant because we’re out here in the middle of nowhere and even less informed.”

Despite numerous calls to the CBC’s main bureau in Toronto, nobody could talk on record about the fate of the Yukon-made series.

Both Janke and Iron have heard whispers that the CBC plans to air the first six episodes in July or August.

But the timing is critical and summer is not a good time to launch a series, said Janke.

“Our fear now is that, because there’s no decision-making process, they’re just sticking them in the summer and that doesn’t bode well for our series.”

A full-series consists of 13 shows, so the producers want to have second string of seven episodes ready to air on the heels of the first six.

“Once you start airing your series and get the audience involved, you want it to continue,” said Janke.

The first episode will be shown at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture this weekend at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival.



Territory in midst

 of TB outbreak

There is a tuberculosis outbreak in the territory, according to the department of Health and Social Services.

The number of cases in the territory has the communicable disease officer and the medical health officer concerned.

There have been 10 people diagnosed with the infection in the Yukon since late fall 2004.

This contrasts to one incident of the disease in 2001 and no cases of tuberculosis between 2002 to 2003.

A press conference has been scheduled by the department for this afternoon to explain symptoms and treatments, as well as how the disease is transmitted and when it can be infectious.

Tuberculosis is an air-born disease that infects the lungs and can spread to other parts of the body, including the central nervous system, bones and joints.

It is not specific to one community.

Residents should not be afraid about the outbreak, said a spokesperson.