The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

CBC lineup heavy on returning shows, more repeats planned in case of NHL lockout

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TORONTO - Saturday night TV will best be described as "rerun night in Canada" if the hockey lockout extends into the new year.

The CBC says it will likely repeat part of its weekly lineup to fill the "Hockey Night in Canada" void caused by the protracted NHL labour dispute.

The broadcaster is currently running classic NHL games on Saturday nights but English Services boss Kirstine Stewart says they were only meant as a temporary fix.

She's holding out hope hockey returns in December, noting its absence has already cost the broadcaster heavily in lost revenues.

Stewart made the comments while revealing a winter lineup filled with returning shows including "Republic of Doyle," "Arctic Air," "Mr. D," "The Rick Mercer Report," "Heartland" and "Murdoch Mysteries."

New series include "Cracked," a Toronto-set crime drama centring on an emotionally damaged detective and his partner, a forensic psychiatrist.

Stewart admits there isn't much new for 2013, but she said that's a good thing.

"It's a real sign that we have a great amount of talent in the country that gets together and actually can create something that has longevity, that people want to watch year over year," Stewart said Tuesday at a morning presentation for media.

"It hasn't happened for a long time in Canada but the fact that we're able to do (it) is a great sign."

TV movies headed to CBC include "Smilin' Jack: The Jack Layton Story," about the NDP leader's political and personal highs and lows, and "Still Life," an adaptation of Quebec crime writer Louise Penny's debut novel.

Stewart says the broadcaster is still tweaking its contingency plan for a hockey-less Saturday night, but notes there's no room in the budget to create new programming.

"It could be a matter of pulling forward some of the shows that we had that were going to be starting later on in the season and things like that," she said.

"We've already been doing some interesting things with the schedule like we did this past fall.... We did things like repeat 'Dragons' Den' twice a week, Rick Mercer's been repeated twice a week for a while. It's a way to manage a tough situation but we manage it the best we can with programming that people do actually want to watch."

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