The much-anticipated series premiere of the Carter TV series starring O’Connell, and was almost shot exclusively in the North Bay area, aired on Bravo in Canada last night.
Inside the Capitol Centre, a packed house got a true Hollywood type feel for a screening of the detective series starring O’Connell and Sydney Poitier.
It was unique for sure - the debut of a television series, with production crews and the series star Jerry O’Connell in the audience, certainly gave it that feel.
Yes, O’Connell was back in North Bay again and took off right where he left off last summer by charming a crowd and giving the time of day to everyone and anyone that wanted to shake his hand, take a selfie, or just say thank you.
O’Connell, sporting a unique Canadian Maple Leaf jacket and hat, has been praising North Bay again recently on social media and on talk shows for the last couple weeks leading up to Tuesday’s Canadian premiere.
He says he has never had a love affair with a community where he has shot a movie or TV series before.
“There is something special about it, there is something special about being there, it is just special. I have said it since day one,” O’Connell told the media after the screening.
“It is a magical place, I have said it before.”
In the series opener, the beauty of the city was truly shown with some of the majestic aerial shots of downtown and along the sun-washed beaches on Trout Lake and Lake Nipissing.
O’Connell admits North Bay, called Bishop, in the TV series, plays a key role. As an actor playing a character coming home to Bishop, O’Connell candidly admits North Bay really does make him feel at home.
“It is so funny, North Bay is like a character in our show as much as we are all characters in it,” said O’Connell.
“It is fun to write to it, it is fun to play to it, it's really fun. We are a really Canadian show and with that not only comes talking about Canada but also talking about North Bay, you know. I have been doing press for it all week and everybody loves it when I drop the North Bay wisdom on them it’s fun, I think everybody is rooting for North Bay.”
While the show aired in Canada for the first time last night, Executive Producer Michael Souther told the crowd, North Bay is getting worldwide exposure on the new hit TV series.
“The world is starting to see this already, we are the number one show in Poland, launched in the UK, it’s all over South America, all over Asia, about to get syndicated into the US, so the world is about to discover North Bay,” Souther told the crowd.
After the screening, O’Connell took questions from the fans - one even asking him if he will run for mayor in the upcoming municipal election this fall.
The producers even threw an exciting tidbit to the crowd, stating they are already looking at shooting a season two this summer, of course, here in North Bay.
“It’s a lot of fun and we have more to look forward to in season two,” said O’Connell.
While many North Bay residents and city officials have praised Carter and O’Connell for what they have done to put the city on the map, O’Connell says, it is he that should be thanking North Bay for the way the community has embraced him.
“They don’t owe me a thank you, this is all my pleasure, nobody owes me a thank you, nobody owes me anything,” he told local reporters.
“I won’t even let anyone buy me a drink in this town. It should be me buying them a drink. It has been nothing but a great time not only for me but for my family.
“My daughters came here in September and early October and they were swimming in Lake Nipissing. That was the first time I have seen them do something non-iPad related in their young lives. It is not only part of my life but my family's life as well.”