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CBC announces new TV biopics featuring Gordie Howe and Jack Layton

TORONTO - CBC is bringing the true-life stories of Gordie Howe and Jack Layton to television with two newly announced biopics.

The public broadcaster has commissioned separate films centred on the hockey icon and the late federal NDP leader.

"Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story" will focus on the star player's comeback in 1973 with the WHA's Houston Aeros, playing professionally alongside his 18- and 19-year-old sons - a comeback that some labelled as the biggest publicity stunt in hockey history.

"Smilin' Jack: The Jack Layton Story" will be set against the backdrop of the 2011 federal election and the weeks that followed, chronicling the rise of the late politician as well as the love story between Layton and Olivia Chow.

CBC has also given the green light to a third film, "Still Life," based on the award-winning novels by Louise Penny, about murder in small-town Quebec.

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