Canada's CBC Buys Comedy Format About Economic Collapse

The pubcaster, eyeing international formats for ratings, has commissioned a local version of a feel-good Danish series about small towns in a manufacturing swan dive.

TORONTO -- Canada's CBC is embracing poverty porn TV to humanize industrial ghost towns.

The pubcaster has picked up the format rights from distributor Banijay International to Comedy on the Edge, which looks for laughs in run-down small towns whose main factories have closed, leading to chronic unemployment and social problems.

The series, which debuted on DR in Denmark, sees a comedian-host visit a town in decline, take in the sights and residents, and then deliver a stand-up routine in front of locals to reveal what he has seen and heard.

Indie producer Frantic Films will produce 13 half-hour episodes of Comedy on the Edge for English-speaking Canada, to debut in early 2015.

The CBC, which itself is downsizing in response to deep budget cuts from the federal government and the upcoming loss of NHL game revenues, is betting Comedy on the Edge strikes a chord with Canadians who have had their manufacturing base hollowed out by globalization.

The cash-strapped pubcaster is also looking to distinguish itself from private sector broadcast rivals with glossy U.S. imports by airing more recognizably Canadian shows.

A Spanish adaptation of Comedy on the Edge has been renewed for a second season on TV Catalonia, and multiple seasons of a local version have also aired on TV2 Norway.