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'Hard Rock Medical' a hit with critics, says producer

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Feb 19, 2014 - 3:40 PM |
"Hard Rock Medical" producer Derek Diorio is pleased with the positive attention the series is getting, including $712,000 from the NOHFC to help fund season two. Photo by Arron Pickard.

"Hard Rock Medical" producer Derek Diorio is pleased with the positive attention the series is getting, including $712,000 from the NOHFC to help fund season two. Photo by Arron Pickard.

Funding secures second season for Sudbury-shot TVO series

As a longtime Canadian television and film producer, Derek Diorio said he's used to his projects being fodder for critics.

But he said he hasn't been able to find “a bad word anywhere on the web” about his latest television series, "Hard Rock Medical," a TVO drama loosely based on the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

“To my mind, this is stunning,” said Diorio, the series' co-creator and executive producer. “You can always find a flaw, and critics are called critics for a reason.”

A case in point is the Feb. 18 article by television critic John Doyle in The Globe and Mail, who calls the series “pithy, funny and inventive.”

It's against this backdrop that the province's Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) announced Feb. 19 it's providing $712,000 to fund the second season of the series.

Diorio said it's enough money to produce an eight-episode second season, which is significantly scaled down from the series' first season, which had 13 episodes. NOHFC provided "Hard Rock Medical" with $1 million for its first season.

Although the second season is shorter, Diorio said he's still happy with the arrangement.

“One of the other truisms in TV is the last show you shoot might be the last show you shoot,” he said. “Any time you get a chance to do another series or another movie, it's a blessing.”

Diorio said he got the idea for Hard Rock Medical from hearing about the Northern Ontario School of Medicine on the news while shooting TFO shows in the Sudbury area.

The series' first season was filmed in the Sudbury area starting in September 2012, airing on TVO starting last summer. Diorio said he expects to begin filming again this summer, and the second season to air in early 2015.

He said the series features a lot of northern talent among its cast and crew, including Sudbury's Stef Paquette, one of the series' leads. The project is expected to create 50 jobs.

When contacted by Northern Life, Paquette confirmed he'll also appear in the second season.

Fans should expect more character and story development in the second season, Diorio said.

“I'm in love with our cast,” he said. “They're really good, solid characters.”

Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci, who announced the funding for Hard Rock Medical's second season, said he's pleased with the series' success.

He said in his opinion, "Hard Rock Medical" is very insightful, wonderfully entertaining, and depicts the reality of Northern Ontario.

“By continuing to invest in film and television projects in Sudbury and the north, we are helping northerners develop their skills as cast and crew members, and providing jobs close to home,” Bartolucci said, in a press release.

TVO board of directors chair Peter O'Brian said he can't overstate the importance of the NOHFC funding to the series.

“It takes longer to finance these kinds of things than to actually make them,” he said.

Clinching a second season for "Hard Rock Medical" is good news for the local film and television industry, said Cinéfest managing director Patrick O'Hearn.

“When there's big announcements like this, it reminds people that if you are interested in working in the film and television industry, you can do it here in the north,” he said.

For more information about the series, visit Back-to-back first-season episodes are also currently being aired on APTN Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 and 7:30 p.m.

Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer


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