‘Red’ leaves in the pink

Canuck variety show parody ending after 15th season

TORONTO — It’s rare for a TV skein to end at the top of its game, but that’s what Steve Smith says he’s doing with “The Red Green Show.”

The Canuck variety show parody, a gentle celebration of male bonding, is calling it quits after this, its 15th season, in spite of a solid following here and Stateside.

In Canada, “Red Green” is a cornerstone on pubcaster CBC and in syndication on the Comedy Network, with title character Red Green having become such a cultural icon that Smith, the show’s star and co-creator (with Rick Green) recently received prestigious civilian honor the Order of Canada.

“Red Green” gets more than 1,500 syndicated runs per month on 85 PBS affiliates, and Americans make the trek North to fill out studio auds.

So why cap it off now?

Smith wants to get out before “Red Green” “jumps the shark,” he says, referring to the Web site that chronicles the point at which TV shows start to sag.

“They said ‘The Red Green Show’ will never jump the shark. It’s a great compliment, and I’m going to take it as an order,” he adds.

He will continue to write and helm his family-run company, Toronto-based S&S Prods., which has a slate that includes several lifestyle series, the comedy series “History Bites” and “Jeff Ltd.,” and a gross-out animated series produced by Smith’s son Max titled “Sons of Butcher.”

Taking his cue from Johnny Carson, Smith vows never to subject viewers to a painful “Red Green” reunion or any other tired reincarnation.

S&S’s sole spinoff is an animated series in development for the CBC titled “Planet Harold,” featuring Red Green’s nerdy sidekick as a teen, in which Smith will do some voice work.

“My baby is Red Green,” he says. “I’m not looking to redo the last 15 years. It’s a lot of work, and there are a lot of golf courses out there that need to be brought to their knees.”

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