MONTREAL — Producer Fred Fuchs has been named executive director of arts and entertainment programming at Canadian pubcaster CBC Television.
Fuchs, former president of Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope shingle, was producer or exec producer of 15 pics, including “The Godfather: Part III,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” and “John Grisham’s The Rainmaker.”
Fuchs moved to Toronto, his wife’s hometown, five years ago and has been working as an independent producer.
CBC has had a tough time of it lately. Pubcaster recently axed three of its highest-profile series — “Da Vinci’s City Hall,” “This Is Wonderland” and “The Tournament” — because of poor ratings, and it has been notably short in success stories over the past couple of years. It didn’t help that a prolonged labor dispute with staffers delayed CBC’s fall season launch by several weeks.
“I’m not sure what the problems have been, but the way you fix it is by making quality shows that are accessible to Canadian audiences,” Fuchs told Daily Variety. If we can make one or two hit series, things will turn around fast. I think we can do it.”
At the Canadian film and TV producers conference in Ottawa in February, CBC TV exec veep Richard Stursberg said the pubcaster had set a goal of making dramas that reach 1 million viewers — a major hit by English-Canadian standards. But he was short on specifics as to what kinds of shows CBC would produce to reach that audience.
“There is no one solution here. What I believe audiences want is shows they care about. It could be a sitcom or a drama,” Fuchs said.
His TV experience includes exec producing HBO series “Vietnam War Stories” and starting Zoetrope’s TV division, which produced miniseries “Moby Dick,” “Titanic” and “Kidnapped” as well as telepics “Outrage,” “Dark Angel,” “White Dwarf” and “Riot.”
In Canada, Fuchs has produced pics “The End of Silence” and “Graduation” and drama series “The Tudors.”
He cautioned against looking at his appointment at CBC as a signal that the network was going to adopt a more Hollywood-style approach. The network actually has little Hollywood content and airs 100% Canadian content in primetime.
Fuchs replaces Deborah Bernstein, who left the post at the beginning of the year.