enrico colantoni apr 2005 gi 'Flashpoint's' Enrico Colantoni: 'We appreciate it when CBS can utilize us'Enrico Colantoni is glad to be back in his native Toronto filming “Flashpoint,” for reasons beyond the show itself.

After the hasty demise of “Chaos,” the hostage-negotiation-team drama has quickly rejoined the CBS lineup on Fridays for its fourth season, actually made up of episodes that constituted the end of its third season on CTV in Canada (where the series is made). Getting to work in his hometown again as police-team leader Greg Parker pleases the friendly Colantoni, formerly of “Veronica Mars” and “Just Shoot Me!”

“We appreciate it when CBS can utilize us,” he tells Zap2it from Toronto. “The show is very popular here. Every time I used to come home, I’d say, ‘I’m an actor’ … and people would say, ‘Oh, really? What have you been in?’ I’d tell people what I did, and they’d go, ‘Oh. Never heard of it.’ What’s that saying, ‘You’re never a prophet in your own home’? Now, I can’t walk down the street without my fellow citizens pumping their fists and yelling, ‘All right!'”

ABC’s soon-to-return “Rookie Blue” and upcoming “Combat Hospital” also are results of the increase in American-Canadian series co-productions. “We’re very, very proud of that,” Colantoni says of the role “Flashpoint” has played in opening that door. “It was serendipitous that things were going on in the U.S. like the writers strike.

“Not since ‘Due South’ had a Canadian show graced primetime in the U.S. like that, thanks to producers like CTV and Global that are willing to put more money into their shows. It’s an international market now. The world is a small place, and everybody’s watching the same thing.”

Colantoni also has joined such other Canadian talents as Mark McKinney, of the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall, and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” alum Colin Mochrie to lobby for continued financial backing of the arts by the country’s government. They’re urging the public to vote for candidates who are including the arts in their agendas.

“What I’ve always enjoyed about being Canadian is that there’s always been government support for the arts,” reflects Colantoni, whose work on “Flashpoint” earned him a Gemini Award (Canada’s equivalent of the Emmy). “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come back, and I jokingly said, ‘I want to serve my country.’ What Canada has put on TV and in movie theaters hasn’t always been successful, but I’m hoping to change that through things like ‘Flashpoint.’

“You know there’s a talent pool up here, because they all end up in the United States. I understand there are only 30 million people up here compared to 300 million down there, and people want to eat, so they go to greener pastures. There’s nothing wrong with that — I did it, and I hope to continue to do it, because the U.S. produces phenomenal shows — but I want to be a part of it all. I want to be North American.”

Posted by:Jay Bobbin