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TORONTO — On Sunday night, Canadian film and TV stars will come in contact with an alien life form.
Canada’s CBC network is betting viewers will tune in to see Mugwump — a reptilian monster from David Cronenberg‘s 1991 Naked Lunch movie — make an appearance during the red carpet countdown for the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto.
Stars like Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany and Call Me Fitz’s Jason Priestley are expected to pose for selfies or photobomb the translucent feature creature, inspired by the 1959 William S. Burroughs novel, at the front of the red carpet.
Mugwump will also be accompanied by Jay Baruchel and Viggo Mortensen at the Sony Center for the Performing Arts to fete Cronenberg as he receives a lifetime achievement award.
“It (Mugwump) sets us apart from the American awards show. It’s wacky and fun,” Lesley Birchard, executive in charge of production, factual entertainment, at the CBC, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Also uniquely Canadian is the CBC collaborating with rival networks for red carpet celebrity interviews by the pubcaster’s Heather Hiscox, alongside CTV’s Ben Mulroney, Entertainment City’s Dina Pugliese and Global Television’s Cheryl Hickey.
The marquee interviewers, rivals on any other night, will work as a team on the red carpet, pulling together to grill Mad Men’s Jessica Pare, Mia Kirshner, Missy Peregrym and Empire of Dirt’s Cara Gee, among others, one after the other on the nationwide broadcast.
Of course, the crowded, and likely chaotic red carpet Sunday night will also have the four cooperating networks naturally competing at the fringes for the best interviews and camera shots on their industry’s big night.
HELLO! Canada’s Alison Eastwood and City’s Brad Smith will interview stars on the red carpet, and go backstage to chat with the winners in the HELLO! Canada lounge.
Clips of their Screenies coverage will also appear on Breakfast Television and CityNews, and online.
City parent Rogers Media will in effect reassemble its TV, radio, print and online arsenal used to cover U.S. award shows in Los Angeles, including the recent Grammys.
“Building on the extensive cross-brand and multiplatform approach Rogers delivered for the Grammys, we’re combining the strengths of our dynamic entertainment brands to bring audiences a unique and exciting experience of the Canadian Screen Awards,” explained Jordan Schwartz, vp of in-house productions at Rogers Media.
And Entertainment Tonight Canada, which will have Hickey move backstage to its own lounge to interview award winners, will also have fellow reporter Roz Weston hovering, microphone in hand, all night to snag stars for additional interviews.
The Canadian Screen Awards, to be hosted Sunday night by Martin Short, will air on the CBC network.
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