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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Cuts force CBC TV to cross content lines

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TORONTO -- The CBC is bolstering its fall prime-time lineup with a rare foreign import also slated for NBC's summer schedule.

The French-German co-production Crossing Lines is among the new series being touted by the public broadcaster, which admits the cop drama contains no Canadian funds, locales or characters.

But it does feature Canadian star Donald Sutherland in its cast, and CBC programming boss Sally Catto said that was enough to satisfy the broadcaster's Canuck-focused mandate.

"It's not our preference," Catto admitted of adding the European drama to the schedule.

"We're only in our second year of three years of cuts and so we just don't have the funding to fill our complete schedule with original programming. But we really feel this is a wonderful complement."

The cop series will air on NBC this summer and features an international cast, including U.S. actor William Fichtner, France's Marc Lavoine and Germany's Tom Wlaschiha.

It centres on a special police unit that investigates crimes that cross European borders.

"We usually do one acquisition a year and ... it doesn't have to be Canadian content for that one acquisition," said Catto, pointing to last year's Titanic: Blood & Steel as a recent example.

"Donald Sutherland for us is a big draw, being such a prominent Canadian, and also Kim Coates is in this season.... And the fact that it's global and international we felt was relevant to our audiences. It may not be Canadian, but it's relevant to our audience in the same way The Tudors was to our audiences."

Of course, The Tudors was partially Canadian funded. And Crossing Lines will air on CBC months after its debut on NBC.

Catto, executive director of commissioned and scripted programming, dismissed suggestions that delaying the debut would cut into CBC's potential audience.

The CBC also announced returning homegrown dramas Murdoch Mysteries, Republic of Doyle and Arctic Air.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 25, 2013 G7

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