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Night Heat is a Canadian police crime drama series that aired on both CTV in Canada and CBS in the United States. Original episodes were broadcast from 1985 to 1989 in the United States, and until 1990 in Canada.[1]

Night Heat
Night Heat Title Screen.png
Night Heat title screen
GenrePolice procedural
Created by
Starring
Country of originCanada
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes96
Production
Executive producer(s)
Production location(s)Toronto, Ontario
Running time45 minutes approx.
Production company(s)
Release
Original network
Original releaseJanuary 31, 1985 – January 5, 1989

Night Heat was the first Canadian original drama series to be aired on a U.S. network during its original broadcast.[2] It was also the first original, first-run drama series to be aired during a late night time slot on a U.S. network.[3]

During its original run it was the highest rated Canadian-produced original series in Canada.[4] The show won the Gemini Award for Best Drama Series in both 1986 and 1987.[2][5]

The show stars Scott Hylands and Jeff Wincott as police detectives Kevin O'Brien and Frank Giambone who work the graveyard shift in an unnamed North-Eastern North American metropolis.[6][7][8] The series follows their nightly police beat as it is chronicled by journalist Tom Kirkwood (Allan Royal) in his newspaper column titled "Night Heat".[3][9][10]

Contents

Concept and developmentEdit

Night Heat was conceived by Sonny Grosso, a former New York City Police Department detective.[3][10][11] Grosso served was the show's executive producer along with his partner, Larry Jacobson.[3][4]

Grosso had over 20 years experience in law enforcement, later working as a narcotics detective.[3][7][10][12] He and his former NYPD partner, Eddie Egan, were the detectives responsible for bringing an end to the infamous drug smuggling ring known as the French Connection.[10][11][13] Grosso served as technical adviser on the film based on the investigation.[3] He also worked as a consultant for the film The Godfather and as story editor for the TV series The Rockford Files, Kojak and Baretta.[3][14]

Grosso and Jacobson were originally approached by CBS to produce a docudrama series following actual police officers, but they considered the potential risk in filming people who had not yet been convicted of a crime and decided against it.[15] Grosso came up with the idea of creating a police series that would feature a realistic look at police work in a documentary style, similar to the 1950s/1960s police drama Naked City.[4][16] He wanted to depict the life of the everyday police officer, in contrast to the slicker, high-action, high-drama, yuppie-oriented police series of the time such as Miami Vice and Hill Street Blues.[3][12][17] The pilot episode was written by Don Flynn, a crime reporter with the New York Daily News.[7][18]

SynopsisEdit

Allan Royal plays Tom Kirkwood, a journalist who writes a newspaper column titled "Night Heat" where he chronicles the nightly police beat of detectives Kevin O'Brien, played by Scott Hylands, and Frank Giambrone, played by Jeff Wincott.[3][9] O'Brien is a tough, cynical, veteran police officer and Giambrone is his younger, hot-tempered partner.[3][9][19][20] Kirkwood also serves as the show's narrator; his voice-over commentary starts and ends each episode, recapping the lessons learned and acting as a sort of Greek chorus.[3][12][17][21]

The name of the city in which the show takes place is never mentioned.[6][7][8] Each episode represents a single night's shift and, as a result, crimes often remain unresolved by the end of the show.[3][10]

ProductionEdit

 
The cast of Night Heat. From left to right, Stephen Mendel, Sean McCann, Eugene A. Clark, Louise Vallance, Scott Hylands, Jeff Wincott, and Allan Royal.

Grosso and Jacobson decided to produce their show in Toronto, Canada, otherwise the production costs would have been too expensive for CBS's late-night budget.[7] At the time one could film in Toronto for less than half the cost of a major American city—Canadian union scale was lower and the American-to-Canadian dollar exchange rate was also favorable.[4][7][9] The show featured an all-Canadian cast and crew and was partially funded by the Government of Canada.[6][11][13] For Hylands, a 21-year veteran actor, frequently seen playing villains in U.S. TV shows during the 1970s and early 1980s, this was the first time he had been given a leading role, or the role of a "good guy." [20]

The series was shot entirely at night between the hours of 6pm and 4am, which also made it easier to film since there was less traffic and it was easier to close down streets.[4][22] The lower budget also meant that the show did not contain high speed car chases or shootouts with heavy calibre weapons.[2][4][12] As a result, the show was more reliant on story and dialogue to capture audiences.[2][4]

Night Heat was filmed on 16mm film using hand-held cameras, instead of the Hollywood-standard 35mm film, giving the series a grainy, documentary-style look.[10][13][23] Much of the show was shot at the site of the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital, which served as the series' police station;[3][11] described as a "grim and forbidding setting," the hospital fit in with the gritty look that the show's producer, Robert Lantos wanted.[3][24]

Filming a police drama aimed at both Canadian and American audiences in an unidentified city presented a unique set of challenges: The crew had to avoid capturing shots of landmarks and other objects that would give away that it was not an American city, such as Toronto Police cars, Esso stations and the CN Tower.[6][14] While much of the show's dialogue included American law-enforcement terminology (for example: they referred to police "precincts" instead of "divisions", and characters had ranks such as officers, detectives and lieutenants instead of constables, sergeants and inspectors), they avoided terms from the American criminal justice system such as "grand jury" or "district attourney".[2][6] In addition, the officers were never seen reading Miranda rights to suspects since there is no Miranda law in Canada.[14] The writers also made a concerted effort to avoid using words that Canadians have a distinctive way of pronouncing, such as the words "out" and "about".[6] Given Toronto's relative cleanliness when compared to larger American cities, the film crew would sometimes throw additional garbage onto the set during street scenes. Grosso, Hylands and Jacobson have all said in separate interviews that there was a time when the garbage that they had strewn about for a Night Heat shoot had been cleaned-up by city sanitation crews while the film crew was on break.[14][25][26]

CBS aired Night Heat as part of CBS Late Night, a late-night block of drama programming.[3][6] It marked the first time in 20 years that CBS had slotted a first-run series against The Tonight Show.[18] For six weeks in the summer of 1987 CBS moved the show to a 9pm slot, making it the first time that a Canadian drama series was shown on a major US network in prime time since Encounter, a short-lived ABC anthology series broadcast live out of the CBC's Toronto studios in the fall of 1958.[2][11][27][28]

In late 1988, CBS announced it had officially canceled Night Heat.[29] After the series was canceled, reruns continued to air on CBS for another two years, and on Canadian TV well into the early 2000s.[30]

ReceptionEdit

Night Heat received good ratings for CBS; the show drew an average of 20% of TV viewers in its timeslot[2] and at times the show even outperformed NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in such markets as New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago.[7][9][31]

In Canada Night Heat attracted a million viewers a week.[2] Critics in Canada were generally enthusiastic about Night Heat and were proud of the fact that it was being shown on American television.[32] Critics such as Rick Salutin of The Globe and Mail expressed disappointment that the show hid or downplayed the fact that it was Canadian in order to appeal to US audiences: "they never say it's Toronto. It's just the city."[33]

Night Heat won the award for Best Drama Series at the 1986 Gemini Awards.[34][35] At the 1987 Gemini Awards the series again won the award for Best Drama Series, actor Eugene Clark won the award for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor and writer Bob Carney won the award for Best Writing in a Dramatic Series for the episode titled "The Hit".[5][36] Night Heat also won the 1987 Gemini award in the category of TV Guide's Most Popular Program, an award based on ballots submitted by the magazine's readers in Canada.[5]

At the 1988 Gemini Awards writers Tim Dunphy and Peter Mohan won the award for Best Writing in a Dramatic Series and Night Heat again won TV Guide's Most Popular Program award.[37][38] In 1989 the series writer Chris Haddock won the Gemini Award for Best Writing in a Dramatic Series for the episode titled "False Witness".[39]

In spite of the show's popularity, CBS decided that it could get even better ratings in the late-night timeslot with The Pat Sajak Show, a talk show fronted by Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak.[2] Over a fourth of CBS's affiliates expressed more interest in running the Sajak program than continuing to run Night Heat and the last episode aired on CBS in January 1989 even though CTV still had a full season on film that had yet to be aired.[29][40]

CastEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Jump Street Fans Should Book a Night for Richard Grieco". Vancouver Sun. Vancouver, Canada. September 1, 1989. p. TV3.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Atherton, Tony (December 4, 2002). "Heat: An original cross-border hit". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. p. E5. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Brown, Barry (August 1, 1987). "Tidy Toronto Yields Gritty 'Night Heat'". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Baker, Kathryn (August 4, 1987). "'Night Heat' gets prime-time shot". Eau Claire Leader Telegram. Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Associated Press. p. 7B. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. ^ a b c Boone, Mike (December 10, 1987). "Night Heat picked best on TV and winner with viewers, too". The Montreal Gazette. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. p. D1. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Eaton, Anne (August 15, 1987). "Cana-drama has come of age". The Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. p. 108. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Holsopple, Barbara (July 5, 1985). "'Night Heat' warms CBS late-night ratings". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. p. C8. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  8. ^ a b Hayden, Bill (October 10, 1985). "Series is the hit that no one knows". Press and Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, New York. Gannett News Service. p. 2D. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  9. ^ a b c d e O'Connor, John J. (June 12, 1986). "'Night Heat,' police show from Canada on CBS". New York Times. New York, New York. p. Page C21. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Canadian Connection". The Winnipeg Free Press - TV Scene (insert). Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Canadian Press. September 29, 1984. p. 4. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  11. ^ a b c d e Boone, Mike (May 23, 1987). "Night Heat cruises on to American prime-time TV". The Montreal Gazette. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. p. H1. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  12. ^ a b c d Quigley, Michael (April 19, 1986). "Night Heat a hit on both sides of border". The Montreal Gazette TV Times (insert). Montreal, Quebec, Canada. p. 8. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  13. ^ a b c Brown, Barry (August 1, 1987). "Tidy Toronto Yields Gritty 'Night Heat'". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d LaPointe, Kirk (December 5, 1985). "Toronto hit cop show disguises nationality". Medicine Hat News. Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. The Canadian Press. p. B9. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  15. ^ Dawidziak, Mark (June 30, 1985). "'Night Heat' Keeps its Head Above Water in Late-night Lineup". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. Knight-Ridder. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  16. ^ Prentice, Bill (January 26, 1985). "Night Heat a Landmark Production". The Globe & Mail. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  17. ^ a b Rothenberg, Fred (January 31, 1985). "Producer of CBS' 'Night Heat' draws from real-life experience". Southern Illinoisan. Carbondale, Illinois. Associated Press. p. 17. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  18. ^ a b Gardella, Kay (January 31, 1985). "CBS tries to put heat on 'Tonight'". Daily News. New York, New York. p. 91. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  19. ^ Hughes, Mike (August 4, 1987). "Prime-time 'Night Heat' episodes retain late-night flavor". Courier-Post. Camden, New Jersey. Gannett News Service. p. 6D. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  20. ^ a b Gault, Carol (April 19, 1986). "Night Heat Gives Hylands the Right Slot". The Globe & Mail. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. p. 7.
  21. ^ "Canadian Connection". The Winnipeg Free Press - TV Scene (insert). Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. September 29, 1984. p. 5. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  22. ^ Elie, Paul (July 31, 1987). "'Adderly,' 'Night Heat' make move to primetime". Huntingdon Daily News. Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. p. 16. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  23. ^ Atherton, Tony (December 4, 2002). "The Canadian connection". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. p. E1. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  24. ^ Smith, Diane (March 29, 1986). "Great Scott". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. p. S4.
  25. ^ Goudas, John N. (June 1, 1985). "Ex-Cop Enjoys Success as Producer". The Town Talk. Alexandria, Louisiana. p. 44. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  26. ^ Michals, Bob (September 29, 1985). "'Heat' Proves Positive for CBS". The Palm Beach Post - Post TV (insert). West Palm Beach, Florida. p. 6. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  27. ^ "Canadian Plays For American Network". The Ottawa Journal. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Press. September 20, 1958. p. 41. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  28. ^ "U.S. Critics Expect TV Plays Of CBC To Click". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Press. October 7, 1958. p. 15. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  29. ^ a b "CBS Gambles on Talk Show with Wheel of Fortune Host". The Montreal Gazette. Montreal, Quebec, Canada. December 30, 1988. p. C7. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  30. ^ Knutzen, Eirik (April 20, 2002). "TV Talkback". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. p. S8.
  31. ^ Bawden, Jim (June 16, 1986). "Canadian-made TV Has a Big Booster at CBS". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. p. D1.
  32. ^ Bawden, Jim (March 24, 1985). "Night Heat". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. p. G1.
  33. ^ Salutin, Rick (November 21, 1987). "Hollywood North Could be Anytown U.S.A.". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. p. 11.
  34. ^ "Anne of Green Gables Caps Successful Year with Nine Geminis". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Press. December 5, 1986. p. F10. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  35. ^ Anderson, Bill (December 5, 1986). "Anne of Green Gables garners 10 prizes at awards ceremony". Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. p. 18. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  36. ^ "The Gemini winners". The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Press. December 9, 1987. p. F14. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  37. ^ "The Winners". Nanaimo Daily News. Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. The Canadian Press. December 2, 1988. p. 19. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  38. ^ Anderson, Bill (December 1, 1988). "Sequel Sweeps Awards". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Canadian Press. p. 52. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  39. ^ "Gemini Award Winners". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Canadian Press. December 5, 1989. p. 37. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newpapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  40. ^ Atherton, Tony (April 24, 1989). "CTV may air very Canadian drama series". Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. p. A16. Retrieved October 20, 2018 – via Newpapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).

External linksEdit