THE SOPRANOS, DEGRASSI HIGHLIGHTS OF CTV LINEUP: Jason Alexander's new show also gets a look-in.


Degrassi : The Next Generation – Press

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THE SOPRANOS, DEGRASSI
HIGHLIGHTS OF CTV
LINEUP
Jason Alexander’s new show also gets a
look-in.

DAN BROWN

Thursday, June 7,
2001

CTV announced yesterday that the centrepiece of
its 2001-2002 schedule will be the second season of The
Sopranos, the HBO Mob series beloved by television critics
that stars James Gandolfini. The network, which was the first
non-cable broadcaster to carry the show’s first season, will
once again air The Sopranos in all its uncut glory.

CTV
made the announcement at an early-morning press conference in
Toronto. To trumpet the news, the assembled executives played
a video montage of clips from the show, including two graphic
sex scenes. It was quite possibly the first time bare breasts
have figured prominently in a network press
conference.

Also on hand were four stars from the show:
Dominic Chianese, Robert Iler, Michael Imperoli and David
Proval.

Imperoli, who plays Christopher Moltisanti,
revealed that he had learned just yesterday of CTV’s
commitment to air The Sopranos as it aired on HBO. He was
impressed.
“Makes me think twice about Canadians, though,”
he joked. The third season of The Sopranos recently finished
running on Canada’s The Movie Network (it has yet to wrap up
on Movie Central in Western Canada).

Imperoli and his
fellow cast members couldn’t confirm reports that Gandolfini
and the show’s creator, David Chase, want to make the show’s
fourth season its last. “Nobody knows,” Imperoli said.
Chianese did, however, confirm that he has signed a contract
for only one more season. The show is slated to run on CTV at
10:00 p.m. Sunday.

Among the other imports in the CTV
lineup is Philly, a drama from NYPD Blue creator Steven
Bochco; Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s reality series The
Runner; and the Jason Alexander vehicle Bob
Patterson.

Among its new Canadian offerings, Degrassi:
The Next Generation is the program with the highest profile.
As was reported in the National Post in February, the series
will kick off with a one-hour special that will reunite the
stars of the original Degrassi series. It will then focus on a
new group of youngsters, some of whom are children of the
original characters.

Miriam McDonald, who is 13 years
old, will play Emma Nelson, the daughter of Spike (actress
Amanda Stepto). McDonald was asked yesterday by a reporter why
she isn’t familiar with the original series. “I wasn’t born
yet and I was a little too young,” she responded.

Along
with Stepto, Stefan Brogren — who played Snake — will also
reprise his role on the new series. Stacie Mistysyn, who
played Caitlin, and Pat Mastroianni, who played Joey Jeremiah,
will appear in the reunion special.

By way of
explaining why he had not signed on for the full series,
Mastroianni nodded in the direction of the new cast: “It’s
their show.”

Highway 61 director Bruce McDonald will
direct the hour-long special, as well as two episodes of the
series. New Jersey filmmaker Kevin Smith, the director of
Clerks and Mallrats, who has made no secret of his obsession
with all things Degrassi, has agreed to make a cameo
appearance as Caitlin’s boyfriend.

The CTV announcement
was a part of the Canadian Television Press Tour, a week-long
series of press conferences staged by major broadcasters to
drum up publicity for their fall schedules. After the Sopranos
and Degrassi press conferences, journalists took part in
round-table discussions with actors from several CTV
shows.

One of the performers making the rounds was ER’s
Erik Palladino. Palladino — who plays Dr. Dave Malucci —
recently completed production on Finder’s Fee, a motion
picture directed and written by Jeff Probst, the host of
Survivor.

According to Palladino, Probst hopes to enter
the film in the Toronto International Film
Festival.

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