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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Final season of Less Than Kind starts shooting

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The much-lauded TV series Less Than Kind will shoot its fourth and final season in Winnipeg commencing Monday, May 28.

The series, which won Gemini awards for writing, acting and best comedy in its second season, might have been on less solid ground after the death of star Maury Chaykin in July of 2010. But the show rallied with its third season writing in the death of Chaykin's character, blustering patriarch Sam Blecher, by falling back on the talents of the rest of the show's formidable ensemble.

Executive producer Marvin Kaye, who co-created the show with Chris Sheasgreen, was inspired by his own Winnipeg family history to hatch the dysfunctional Blecher clan. He says he was proud to have had a part in creating that rarest of entities, a critically acclaimed Canadian TV series that ran for four seasons.

"But we all felt like it was time to end it," he says.

"The family has we created have one last story to tell, and we discussed it with the network and they agreed," Kaye says. The show is broadcast by Astral's The Movie Network in Eastern Canada and Corus Entertainment's Movie Central in Western Canada.

"We are all thrilled to be doing a fourth season that offers the creative challenge of concluding this story and this wonderful series," said executive producer/showrunner Mark McKinney. "It's incredibly satisfying as so few shows get this opportunity."

Where the other seasons have tended to be filmed in chillier conditions, the fourth will be set in Winnipeg in summer as matriarch Anne (Wendel Meldrum) is facing the imminent departure of her youngest son Sheldon (Jesse Camacho). Older brother Josh (Gemini-winner Benjamin Arthur) is engaged to the demanding Shandra (Lisa Durupt) and trying to make a go of a career at Manitoba Labels. Anne's sister Clara (Nancy Sorel) is facing a lonely future. And Sheldon's relationship with his friends Miriam (Brooke Palsson) and Danny (Tyler Johnston) is destined to go through some changes.

Kaye says the fourth season will formally wrap up the story of the Blechers, but he does not discount the idea of returning to some or all of the characters in the future, in some other capacity.

"I would never write off coming back to the Blechers," Kaye says, adding he is nevertheless satisfied with wrapping up the series with a fourth and final season.

"I feel so blessed to get four solid seasons," says Kaye. "The whole experience has been a blessing."

Less Than Kind Season Four will shoot in the Manitoba Production Centre and other Winnipeg locations till July 10 and will be broadcast in 2013.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 26, 2012 G5

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