It's the Paul Taylor Program! is a Canadian children's television series that first aired locally in Ontario from 1981-1983. The series was first produced by CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario, then by CBLT-TV and CITY-TV in Toronto, Ontario; before being picked for it's United States debut by the RKO Network in 1985. It was largely a youth-oriented program with musical performances as an integral part of every episode. The cast was made up of teenage and preteen actors, with some adult performers.
During the RKO Network run the series appealed to both Canadian and American audiences with it's popular culture references and humor.
Local television in Canada
It's the Paul Taylor Program! premiered on August 15, 1981 on CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario. Concert promoter Sjoerd Broekhuizen had created the series to showcase young talent, with a particular focus on local Toronto actors Barney Hartikainen Park and Jacek Fiedorowicz. The series gained high ratings but was cancelled at the start of 1982 by CHCH due to creative differences between Sjoerd and the station staff. Sjoerd then restarted production at Toronto CBC Television station CBLT-TV.
After it's run on CBLT concluded in October 1982, Sjoerd went to CITY-TV in February 1983 to restart the show again. Ratings were good for this run, but the series was cancelled again due to Jacek suffering a knee injury during the filming of a segment at Canada's Wonderland.
In 1984, the RKO Network's childrens' programming head Lance Granholm met with Sjoerd Broekhuizen, who had been sent to pitch some Canadian television shows from various production companies, none of which had impressed Granholm and a panel of television critics. One of the critics, Howard Rosenberg, eventually asked Sjoerd if he had "any interesting shows for kids that could be enjoyable for all ages". Sjoerd left and "a few minutes later" came back with a S-VHS production viewing copy of the CBLT Paul Taylor episode "Who Else Knew I Could Jump?", asking Lance and the critics to "hold back any laughter." Lance enjoyed the episode, and most of the critics had positive remarks about it, so Lance greenlit It's the Paul Taylor Program! for production.
In 1985, production of It's the Paul Taylor Program! resumed under S.B. Studios, Sjoerd Broekhuizen Presents Inc. and Les Entreprises Assayas Ltd. in the Toronto area, with RKO Television Studios and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation acting as production partners. The RKO series was originally taped at Pathé Toronto Studios in Roncesvalles, Toronto, however the series later moved to the Studios on the Sideline in Pickering, Ontario.
In 1987, Le Programme de Paul Taylor, the Québécois co-production of the series, began airing.