The 13-part series comes from Schitt’s Creek producer Andrew Barnsley and comedian Mark Critch, and Lionsgate is hoping that it can replicate the success of the Emmy-winning Canadian comedy, which it brought to the U.S. via Pop TV.
Lionsgate will handle U.S. and international distribution rights.
The half-hour series is based on Critch’s memoir Son of a Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir and he will star alongside Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Malcolm McDowell, Claire Rankin and newcomers Sophia Powers and Mark Rivera.
Son of a Critch, which has just started production, is the story of 11-year-old Mark coming of age in St. John’s, Newfoundland in the ’80s, a boy much older inside than his 11 years – using comedy and self-deprecation to win friends and connect with the small collection of people in his limited world.
Critch, who created the series with The Office and MacGruber writer Tim McAuliffe, plays his own father with Ainsworth is the young Mark. Ainsworth is currently starring in Netflix’s The Haunting of Bly Manor and plays Pinocchio opposite Tom Hanks in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of the classic for director Robert Zemeckis.
Rankin (Molly’s Game) has been cast as Mark’s mother, Mary, with Powers and Rivera as classmates of young Mark. McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) plays Pop.
The series will launch on CBC TV and CBC Gem in January 2022.
It is produced by Barnsley’s Project 10 Productions Inc. and Newfoundland-based Take the Shot Productions in association with CBC and Lionsgate Television, and executive produced by Critch, McAuliffe, Barnsley, Ben Murray and Allan Hawco. Renuka Jeyapalan and Anita Kapila serve as co-executive producers with Jeyapalan directing the first four episodes of the series.
“I’m thrilled to kick off production on Son of a Critch with such a talented young actor like Benjamin playing my kid self,” said Critch. “Everyone working on the project is incredibly supportive of my vision and, with world-class partners like Lionsgate and CBC, I know my story is in the best hands.”
“I’ve been listening to the hilarious stories of Mark’s youth in Newfoundland for years, and it’s amazing to now be a part of bringing them to life on screen,” said McAuliffe.
“We’re excited to reunite with Andrew and his incredible team at Project 10, led by President Ben Murray, and to be working with Tim and comedy genius Mark Critch in bringing his hilarious and heartfelt life story to television screens,” added Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs and president of Lionsgate Worldwide Television Distribution Jim Packer. “Son of a Critch is clever and entertaining with all the elements of a premium comedy series that will resonate with audiences in the U.S. and abroad.”
Ainsworth is represented by ICM Partners, Mark Jermin Management and Alan Siegel Entertainment. McDowell is represented by Chris Roe Management.
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