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Battle is Back! CBC Announces Fall Season Lineup

The time-out is over for Battle of the Blades.

After a year on ice the reality competition will return to CBC-TV.

A slate of upcoming CBC shows was revealed Wednesday, and if there are any trends to be seen in today's announcement, it's that the 2013-14 schedule is all about returning favourites - Battle of the Blades included, never mind that one-year hiatus.

-- CBC

Dramas Arctic Air, Cracked, Heartland, Murdoch Mysteries and Republic of Doyle will all be back, as will comedies Mr. D, The Ron James Show, The Rick Mercer Report and 22 Minutes.

The full, very familiar list of programs, is included below, but for those seeking something new, expect entertainment with a literary pedigree. Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negroes, the 2009 winner of CBC Radio's Canada Reads competition, will be adapted as a TV movie and Terry Fallis's The Best Laid Plans, winner of the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal, will be adapted as a mini series.

-- CBC

"We are very proud that, despite a very challenging financial climate, CBC continues to deliver a television schedule that features strong, proven Canadian programming along with some new made-in-Canada titles," Christine Wilson, the Executive Director, Content for CBC English Services, said in a statement.

It was budget cuts, after all, that led to Battle of the Blades skating off the screen last year.

The show pairs figure skating pros with NHL heroes for weekly routines. Think Dancing With the Stars with an increased chance of stitches. And as TV producer John Brunton explained to the Globe and Mail in April 2012, the show's premise - though a ratings winner - makes for "an expensive show to produce."

"You need a big rink and you need it in the middle of hockey season, and there's the recruiting of the players," Brunton told the Globe. (Past hockey stars have included Georges Laraque, Valeri Bure and Craig Simpson. The latter, BTW, wed his Battle of the Blades partner, Olympic medallist Jamie Sale, this past March.)

Newlyweds Jamie Sale and Craig Simpson skate a routine in a past season of Battle of the Blades. --CBC/Insight

Called "the highest-rated Canadian format of all time" by Brunton, Battle of the Blades reportedly averaged 1 million Canadian viewers an episode. And when the show was left off the CBC schedule last spring, CBC head of scripted programming, Julie Bristow, reassured fans the show could return.

As she told CBC News at the time: "We have put Battle of the Blades officially on a hiatus and we hope that we can, if financial circumstances improve, we can work with Insight Productions on bringing Battle of the Blades back."

A premiere date, and more info on the fourth season of Battle of the Blades is coming soon. (The same goes, of course, for the other 2013-14 series.)

Here's the full list of CBC shows returning for the 2013-14 season:

22 Minutes
Arctic Air
Battle of the Blades
Best Recipes Ever
Coronation Street
Doc Zone
Dragons' Den
the fifth estate
George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight
In the Kitchen with Stefano Faita
Just for Laughs
Mr. D
Murdoch Mysteries (full season - 18 episodes)
The Nature of Things
Republic of Doyle (full season - 16 episodes)
The Rick Mercer Report
The Ron James Show
Steven & Chris

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Battle of the Blades: The Countdown Continues



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