The Toronto TV Sharing Circle

Jenny Lye
Let’s face it: not much comes to mind when you think of Toronto-based T.V. shows. In fact, some people have trouble even remembering Degrassi is Torontonian! It’s when you look deeper that you find the golden shows. When you push aside the cringe-worthy shows about how crappy Canadian schools are, you can see the dramas and comedies that reach deep into what it means to be Canadian. Those shows that play on the jokes only Torontonians would understand, and are filmed inToronto, so every shot of the city you get you spend seeing if you know the place!

One thing you might not know about Torontonian shows is that they get around—quite literally. It seems that while Canadians are sitting on their couches watching American Idol, people in far off places are sitting on their सोफ़ा watching our shows. Programs like The Listener have garnered critical reviews in places like Italy, where it was the second most-watched show ever on Fox International Channels.

Now you know a bit about Torontonian shows, but it‘s only until you watch quite a few of them that you begin to notice a patterna guest star pattern, that is. Our hometown networks often share their actors, most often for guest star roles. For instance, I was watching the new episode of The Listener a while back when I saw an actress I recognized—it was Kristina Pesic! You‘re probably thinking,“So what? I don‘t know her,“  and some of you are probably searching her up on IMDb right now. I‘ll make it a little easier for you: she‘s the blonde from the Rogers commercials. You know, the one with that group of friends that goes on hilarious adventures that are always centered around their new Rogers phones. Well, I remembered and thought it was cool, but soon forgot about it. It was only when watching Rookie Blue (another hometown show), that I remembered because Pesci was on it, too! I thought it was strange that she was on both of those shows, so I looked her up. Turns out not only was she on both shows, but she was on The Listener twice—for TWO different roles!

But what‘s so crazy about this? Well, it‘s the fact that with a little research I realized that the same guest stars were appearing on different Toronto-based shows. Now, I can understand The Listener passing off their old guest stars to Flashpoint, because they‘re on the same network, but Rookie Blue? That was a surprise. I‘ve come to realize that if I was going to be a struggling actor, doing it in Toronto seems like the way to go.  Think about it: if I get a part on one show, I‘m almost guaranteed a spot on another!

Now all joking aside, I‘m not saying it‘s easy to get an acting job in Toronto. But maybe, just maybe, there‘s a little more luck in it than we think! So next time you watch a T.O. show, pay attention to the actors—you just might see that pregnant girl from Degrassi (which one, right?) or like me, the girl from the Rogers commercial.