Baie Verte Peninsula—Shaun Majumder has always held a place in his heart for his hometown of Burlington. So he was the perfect pitch man when it came to selling a documentary to a national network which set his hometown as the backdrop.
While the actor has been gone from the community for several years now, and has found much success in the entertainment industry across the country and south of the border, he’s never forgotten where he came from — the gravel roads of the small town of 350 people.
Majumder has gone from a regular on “This Hour has 22 Minutes” to a controversial guest role on Fox’s “24” where he played a terrorist who was depicted setting off a nuclear bomb in the city of Los Angeles, Ca.
That role changed his career. Suddenly the comedic sketches he was used to began to shift to more dramatic roles. Such is the case for his newest character, a rough and tough, streetwise detective on ABC’s “Detroit 1-8-7”.
His success in the entertainment industry has allowed Majumder the opportunity to give back to causes that mean the most to him — including his small hometown on the Baie Verte Peninsula. While Majumder has made it a practice to visit his hometown at least once a year, and has been present at community events, his newest venture may generate more for the little town, and the entire province than ever before.
Several months ago, he showed up in Burlington with a camera, lighting and audio crew, along with a couple of producers and his fiancée, Shelby Fenner. There was much buzz going around about the purpose of their visit. Word got out there was a public meeting at the town hall where everything would be explained.
Folks gathered. Majumder took the microphone, the cameras began rolling, and those in the room soon found out they were part of a television pilot pitch for the national W television network, based out of Ontario.
Majumder has a plan to bring new life to the town and province he grew up in.
His plan: build a high-end, five-star guesthouse in Burlington. Make it completely eco-friendly and something unlike anything the town has ever seen.
“Talking to people, they say that high-end is the way to go,” Majumder says. “We don’t want to do a normal bed and breakfast — we want this to really stand out above everything else.”
The house, to be powered completely by “green” methods such as solar and wind power, will feature several guest rooms where people can stay and discover the richness and beauty of rural Newfoundland and Labrador in new and exciting ways.
Perhaps the most exciting part about the project, however, is the fact Majumder has successfully pitched the plan to the W network, which is willing to produce a 12-part documentary series about the venture.
“They liked the pilot,” he says, which was filmed on Majumder’s trip to the province earlier this year, along with other areas around the country. “(The network) likes the idea of it all, and they think it’s a really great show. They said it could be a really cool passion project.”
The show will cover the building of the house — work Majumder hopes will be done by local people as much as possible— as well as how it will affect tourism, the economy of the town of Burlington and the province.
The opportunity for growth and success is obvious, he says. He’s now focusing on securing funding to carry out the construction of the house
“We hope to get some money from government, and some more from private investors,” he says. “We’re not even sure how much it’s going to cost yet — we’re still in the early stages. So the next steps are to design a building, get a budget, and then go and try to get the money.”
All that sounds good, but when you consider the time frame he’s working with, you realize he has a lot of work ahead.
“Ideally, the network wants to start shooting the show in the spring of 2011,” he says.
That might not seem like a long time to get things organized, but he reassures that “it’s definitely doable.”
As for Majumder, in addition to working hard on this house project, he’s also working in Detroit where his ABC show is being filmed.
“Right now, we’re doing Episode 10,” he says, of the scheduled 13 episodes. “If the network feels the show’s ratings and viewership is high enough, we’ll be doing more. We should know more about that in the next couple of weeks.”
His character on the show is Det. Vic Majan. While we may not be seeing many big story lines involving him yet, Majumder says stay tuned.
“In the next few episodes, I do some really great interrogations,” he says. “They’ve got some really great stuff written for the character.”
Majumder noted people need to watch in order for the show to be successful.
“Whether the network picks it up and continues on with it is totally up to if people watch or not.”
“Detroit 1-8-7” airs Tuesday nights at 11:30 p.m. local time on ABC.