CBC energizes its January schedule

'Mosque' follows the antics of a small Muslim community in a Canadian town

Pubcaster CBC is moving into the second leg of an audience-friendly strategy with a revitalized January lineup that includes new Canuck fare “Little Mosque on the Prairie” and U.S. pickup “Arrested Development.”

“We’re not resting, as some others do halfway through the year,” said Kirstine Layfield, executive director of network programming at CBC Television. “We see this as a midseason opportunity to introduce some great new shows to the lineup, which supports our strategy of appealing to a wide range of viewers.”

“Little Mosque on the Prairie” follows the antics of a small Muslim community in a Canadian town, taking on relationships, love, the generation gap and the balance between traditional and modern cultural beliefs.

Following its preem on Jan. 9, skein will join CBC’s Monday night comedy lineup of “Rick Mercer Report,” “Royal Canadian Air Farce” and “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”

The grouping is one of the ratings highlights of what was an anemic fall season for the pubcaster.

Also on the 2007 schedule is Asian organized crime miniseries “Dragon Boys,” starring Byron Mann, Stephen Song, Eric Tsang, Lawrence Chou and Tzi Ma and airing Jan. 7-8; and the CBC’s two-hour adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s “The Robber Bride,” starring Mary-Louise Parker and Wendy Crewson and running Jan. 21.

From the U.S., CBC is picking up Emmy-winning comedy “Arrested Development,” which will air weekdays at 5:30 p.m. starting Jan. 1 and again at midnight following “The Hour,” hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos.

From Britain comes the return of “Cracker,” starring Robbie Coltrane, and four new “Miss Marple” mysteries on Sundays, starting Feb. 4.

Homegrown reality TV fare includes “The Greatest Canadian Invention,” starting Jan. 3, and in March the second annual special “The Next Great Prime Minister,” in which a number of former Canadian prime ministers will participate, and “Test the Nation: National IQ Test.”