The city of Miramichi is hitting the small screen in a new sitcom that creators are hoping will follow up on the success of Schitt’s Creek as family-friendly, fun entertainment that’s made in Canada.
Adam Lordon, who happens to be the city’s mayor, has co-written a show and is also directing, producing and acting in it, alongside James Mullinger, an English comedian, actor and movie review talk show host, who immigrated to the Saint John area in 2014.
The premise is that a Brit from London, who had to flee because of a Brexit scandal, lands in a fictionalized version of Miramichi, called Riversville.
The working title is Brexitsaid Lordon.
Mullinger said the sitcom deals with essentially the same subject matter that forms the basis of his standup comedy: “a confused Englishman navigating himself through a beautiful place — a place full of amazing people that he loves very much but is very different to where he’s from .”
“It’s really been a passion project for both of us,” said Lordon. “I’ve been thinking about it as a bit of a love letter to New Brunswick.”
Filming could start next month
Being mayor of Miramichi is a part-time job, he said, and one of the top questions he gets from people is whether he does anything else for a living.
Now, his citizens will have a front-row chance to see what he does for a “day job.”
Lordon has worked in TV production for the past 15 years. He was senior creative producer on the newly released documentary film My Name Is Wolostok. His national broadcast credits include The Amazing Race Canada, The Marilyn Denis Show and CTV National News.
Filming on this latest project is expected to take place in Miramichi in mid- to late August, he said.
People will see production crews out and about at various well-known local locations.
“Hopefully, it will really feel like a community affair,” Lordan said.
They’ll be looking for locals to join the crew and play guest roles and extras,” Lordan said.
Local talent in all jobs
“All of the acting and comedy talent in front and behind the camera is going to be from this province,” said Mullinger.
“That is just such a dream come true. After eight years being here, this is the pinnacle.”
Since moving to Canada, Mullinger has toured doing standup comedy and worked on a few other shows, including Blimey! An Englishman in Atlantic Canada. He’s also acting in an animated series being filmed in the province this summer.
Mullinger said he and Lordon have been talking about this idea for a while.
The two have worked together for a few years on a TV show called Atlantic Editionin which Mullinger tours Eastern Canada and meets remarkable people.
Bell invited them to pitch this new show, he said, after recent successful sitcoms out of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador with Jonathan Torrens and Mary Walsh.
“Adam has written some hilarious scripts,” he said. “And here we are. We can’t quite believe it.”
Lordon said production has been his primary career, but he usually has to go away for shoots.
He’s been back in Miramichi for almost a decade after spending the previous 10 years living in Toronto.
Besides drawing on Mullinger’s experiences since coming to Canada, the show also draws on Lordon’s perspective on being back home.
“It really was a lot of fun thinking about the quirks of small-town life,” said Lordon
“I think if you live here and you know this region you’re going to appreciate seeing all of these little kind of details … but you don’t need to know this place to appreciate it and enjoy the comedy.”
A few real-life inspirations
It’s a bit of a fish-out-of-water story, he said, but also a caper — as Mullinger and his new manager friend, Danny, set out to launch a career comeback at a Rotary Club fundraiser show.
Lordon plays the “wannabe” manager.
A few scenarios are exaggerated versions of things that actually happened, said Mullinger, but otherwise, the plot is fictional.
The style will be”truth,” said Lordon, as in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development.
“I think both of us are really just actually big TV nerds to a degree,” said Lordon.
Some other favorites they mentioned include Seinfeld, Steptoe and Son and The Good Life.
Information Morning – Moncton9:38Miramichi sitcom
Lordon said he thinks the silliness of a sitcom is what audiences are craving these days.
“In the moment that we live in right now in the world, which is quite heavy, it’s something that’s just really fun and a bit of a romp for people to be able to enjoy this with their family.
“It’s not heavy. It’s not dark. It’s just going to be a lot of fun.”
The show is expected to air early next year on Bell Fibe TV 1, said Mullinger, which goes out to nine million Bell subscribers nationally.