CBC revives Battle of the Blades skate competitors present


It was a decade in the past, however Sandra Bezic nonetheless has vivid reminiscences of the evening Battle of the Blades debuted at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.

“My knees had been shaking. My coronary heart was pounding so arduous I believed all people might see it, as a result of we had no thought what would occur,” recalled the previous determine skater, Olympian, choreographer, skating analyst and producer.

“We had no thought how the hockey gamers would react beneath this sort of strain — beneath spotlights, skating to music, and not using a uniform, with out their staff, with out their helmets. And that first evening was unimaginable.”

Battle of the Blades made its debut in October 2009, showcasing determine skating pairs made up of former skate professionals and ex-hockey stars. Every staff aimed to dazzle judges and the voting viewers alike, whereas elevating consciousness of various causes or charities.

Bezic is hoping to recreate that magic with a contemporary instalment of the uber-Canadian, crowd-pleasing actuality competitors. CBC Tv introduced on Tuesday that Battle of the Blades will return for a fifth season this fall.

Co-creator and govt producer Bezic has re-teamed with Perception Productions — the award-winning agency behind actuality competitions reminiscent of The Superb Race Canada and Massive Brother Canada — for the eight-episode live-event present.

The identities of the host, the judging panel and the opponents have but to be introduced.

Present’s return ‘a no brainer’

Hosted by Hockey Night time in Canada‘s Ron MacLean by means of its first 4 seasons, the present’s opponents through the years included well-known faces from the determine skating and hockey worlds, together with Jamie Salé, David Pelletier, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Scott Thornton, Georges Laraque, Tessa Bonhomme, Pavel Bure and Tie Domi. (Bezic mentioned Domi, a Toronto Maple Leafs powerful man, paved the way in which as the primary ex-NHLer to signal on.)

Earlier editions of the sequence have featured a bunch of well-known faces from the worlds of hockey and pairs skating. Season two members included, from left, Russ Courtnall, Christine Hough-Sweeney, Georges Laraque, Anabelle Langlois, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Patrice Brisebois, Violetta Afanasieva and P.J. Inventory. (Perception Productions/Canadian Press)

The big-scale manufacturing was placed on hiatus in 2014 as the public broadcaster grappled with significant budget cuts.

Nonetheless, viewers members by no means stopped asking for its return, so the choice to revive it was “a no brainer,” mentioned Jennifer Dettman, CBC’s govt director of unscripted content material.

“It was at all times our ambition that in some unspecified time in the future we might deliver it again for audiences. It was simply choosing the right time,” bearing in mind each the TV panorama and CBC being in a spot to financially decide to a high-production-value present, Dettman mentioned.

She mentioned that at this time’s actuality TV viewers are searching for uplift reasonably than snark or negativity.

“In a means, Battle of the Blades was forward of its time … There’s this very nice feeling within the present: the entire stakes and the drama that you really want in an leisure present, however constructive and celebratory.”

Though the sequence will obtain a “modernizing and freshening,” Dettman mentioned that producers are taking care to protect what followers cherished.

One factor that might be included is recognition of a grassroots motion from final time round — all these mini Battle of the Blades competitions that arose at newbie skate golf equipment throughout the nation.

Canadians ‘adopted Battle of the Blades for themselves,’ mentioned sequence creator and skating Corridor of Famer Sandra Bezic. (CBC)

“Canada adopted Battle of the Blades for themselves — for their very own golf equipment, for their very own fundraising,” Bezic famous.

She admitted she “hadn’t considered bringing [the show] again,” and was “utterly blindsided” when CBC approached her to revive this system.

“We had 4 wonderful seasons and I accepted the truth that we weren’t coming again … I did not understand how a lot momentum there was nonetheless behind the present from most people.”

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