TORONTO — It looks like big-name hockey players could be ditching shoulder pads for spandex tights this fall as the CBC pairs them up with figure skaters for a Dancing With the Stars-type reality show.
Battle of the Blades will be an elimination-style competition that features contestants squaring off in a pairs figure skating performance.
Kirstine Layfield, CBC’s executive director of network programming, said Tuesday that the lineup of skaters and judges has yet to be set, but assured that stars from both sports will be featured prominently.
“We’re looking at the biggest and best names in hockey and skating,” said Layfield, adding that the show will be produced by Canadian Idol and Project Runway Canada architects Insight Production Company Ltd.
“When the idea got brought to us it was such a no-brainer for us to pick this up because we’ve got such huge sports expertise and a lot of fans who come to watch us for that. We think it’s a great extension of what we already do.”
Layfield said the exact format of the show was still being worked out, but it will involve a live studio audience, expert judges and voting from viewers at home.
“Battle of the Blades” will air Sundays and Mondays starting this fall, but specific dates have yet to be set. Layfield said they’re also gearing up to announce a surprise setting for the show.
“We’re working on a fantastic location, we haven’t got it locked down yet, but when we do that will be a nice big announcement because it’s a historic place,” she said as the broadcaster revealed its upcoming prime-time programming.
Also set to air on CBC-TV this fall is The Ron James Show, starring the popular comedian. The weekly series will be a mix of stand-up and sketch comedy, Layfield said.
Canada’s Super Speller, hosted by Evan Solomon, will also be on the docket. It’s a game show that features 12 finalists competing against each other in a spelling contest.
Meanwhile, 18 to Life, a comedy about a couple that gets married at 18, and The Republic of Doyle, about a father-son team of private investigators plying their trade in Newfoundland, are set for air in January 2010.
Shows including The Border, Being Erica, Little Mosque on the Prairie and This Hour Has 22 Minutes will also return.