And then there are some Canadian shows that seem to be more popular in the U.S. than they are here. Being Erica is probably one of them. The show has struggled here somewhat (granted that their just-completed third season was not too strong, from what I’ve seen, so it may be to blame for some of its own struggles), but it’s done extremely well in the U.S. on the Soapnet channel, leading to today’s announcement that ABC will commission an American remake of the show. It was announced in Variety, but it’s paywall’d; I’ll link to the news when there’s a free version. Update: Here’s a for-free report from Nellie Andreeva at Deadline.com.
According to the Variety report, the new pilot will be written by Maggie Friedman, a former Dawson’s Creek writer-producer who created last season’s flop adaptation of The Witches of Eastwick. The Eastwick pedigree doesn’t fill anyone with much hope, but the idea of doing an American remake seems very sensible: it is a really strong premise, that produced some good episodes. And the style of it — combining fantasy with naturalism, and weekly stories with ongoing mysteries, all from the point of view of a strong but vulnerable woman — is the sort of thing that ABC would love to have on its schedule.
There’s already talk about who should play the all-important title role, assuming they don’t cast Karpluk (and I’d hope they at least consider letting her try out for it, especially if the original version gets canceled). But I just wanted to post the news here as a reminder that popularity deficits can go both ways. Are there any other Canadian shows that had more of an impact in the U.S. than they did here? I might actually suggest SCTV, whose mostly U.S.-centric pop-culture spoofs sometimes made it of more interest to U.S. viewers than Canadians — particularly when they got into some of the more obscure U.S. celebrities or styles of showbiz that they liked to riff on — and whose influence on U.S. comedy has been almost boundless even if you don’t count all the cast members who became stars in the States.
Of course the new version, if it gets picked up, will be a U.S. show, not a Canadian one, so it won’t solve the problem of the lack of Canadian shows on the air. And speaking of which, SyFy has just announced the cancellation of Stargate Universe, which continues the network’s re-branding away from pure science fiction (specialty channels still exist, but more and more of them will have to specialize less, and SyFy is the latest example). This means the end of a very durable franchise of Canada-U.S. co-productions.