David Cormican has a simple way of explaining the Herculean effort of launching a television show. It’s basically a process of conversion: a never-ending exercise of turning no into yes.The explanation may be simple, but in practice, it is anything but easy.“It’s mind-blowing to me how many no’s you have to leap over to create maybes, turn them into yeses and then mobilize an army of 400 people to also believe in words that were, quite frankly, blank pages only a few months earlier,” says Cormican, in an interview with Postmedia. “Every problem you come into is a problem that was created by the words you put on that page. I use problem in the best sense of the word. Because when you’re breaking a story, you’re creating problems and situations for your characters and sometimes you hit a wall.”It’s not that this is completely new to Cormican. The Lethbridge native began his career as an actor before moving behind the scenes as a producer with Don Carmody Television, where he now serves as a partner and president.But Northern Rescue, a family drama starring William Baldwin as the head of both a troubled family and small-town search-and-rescue service, is arguably more his baby than any other series Cormican has worked on in the past. It originated as a three-sentence pitch, hatched in the lobby of the CBC in Toronto four or five years ago. As well as overseeing the writer’s room, Cormican also wrote a number of episodes and serves as the series’ showrunner. After landing its star — Baldwin was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the series and serves as an executive producer — Cormican began navigating all those no-to-yes hurdles, often putting in 21-hour days with co-creators Mark Bacci and Dwayne Hill. Northern Rescue begins streaming in full on CBC Gem in Canada and Netflix everywhere else on March 1.Baldwin plays John West, a Boston-based father-of-three who finds his life in sudden turmoil after his wife dies of cancer and he is denied a promotion at work. So he decides to move the grieving clan to his quaint hometown of Turtle Island Bay, played by Parry Sound north of Toronto, to live with his sister-in-law Charlotte (Kathleen Robertson). In Episode 1, this decision does not go over well with all of his children, particularly his brooding and trouble-bound teenage daughter Maddie (Amalia Williamson).It all promises to offer rich terrain for a family drama, with the added bonus of exploring John’s adrenalin-fuelled job as a first responder who heads the small town’s largely volunteer search and rescue team.Cormican says the original motivation was to create something that captures the elusive tone of a realistic family drama that would appeal to a large demographic. Think This is Us or Parenthood or perhaps a slightly harder-edged version of CBC’s current long-running family favourite, Heartland.“It was born really out of a desire to create programming that we would be excited ourselves to watch with everyone in our family, from our kids to our parents and grandparents,” Cormican says.In this golden age of television, creating a family-friendly series may not seem the hippest of aspirations. Granted, the series opener certainly has its dark touches. There is death and a bit of drug use and our troubled teen protagonist is sent for counselling to avoid a stint in “juvie” after a run-in with the law.But Cormican says despite the emotional opening, Northern Rescue will hopefully act as an antidote to the hard-hitting dramas and sly black comedies that dominate the airwaves and streaming services these days.“The message and the feel at the end of the day with this programming is very hopeful and heartfelt and tender and uplifting and optimistic for the future,” he says. “In a sea of deep dark serialized dramas that are slightly depressing, yet equally engaging, we kind of wanted to be a bit of a ray of hope. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching all of those shows but we just wanted to have a little bit of both on our roster and slate.”Born in Lethbridge, Cormican initially pursued a career as an actor. He went to what is now MacEwan University in Edmonton, studied theatre in Ireland and toured with Alberta Opera in the early 2000s.But he eventually made the move to producer, initially as a VP of Development for Regina-based Minds Eye Entertainment before co-founding Don Carmody Productions with the veteran producer in Toronto. In 2012, Playback Magazine named Cormican one of the “Top 10 to watch in 2012,” while the Hollywood Reporter pegged him as one of the “Next Generation Canada: Class of 2014.”Not yet 40, Cormican has continued his ascent in Canadian TV and film, producing the Netflix sci-fi teen drama Between for two seasons in 2015-2016 and the period drama Tokyo Trial in 2017.Unlike the trippy sci-fi of Between, which was based on the high-concept premise of a disease wiping out residents over the age of 22 in a small town, the focus of Northern Exposure will be real-life, relatable drama, Cormican says. He says he looks forward to watching the show with his own 11-year-old daughter.“You’ll see a lot of ourselves in this story,” Cormican says. “We like to write based on truth, so almost everything you see is based on a personal story or a story that we’ve heard from somebody we’ve known. We make sure everything is backed up by what would actually happen in real life. It may be pushing on some boundaries for younger audiences, but I think they are good conversations to be having. We’re not showing gratuitous stuff here. Especially in a day and age where marijuana is legalized and drinking is something that happens at the high school level, I think it’s conversations parents should be having with their children instead of pretending that it’s not happening.”Northern Rescue will begin streaming on CBC Gem on March 1.