TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Corus Studios announces three new docu-series ahead of MIPTV

Today, Corus Studios, a division of Corus Entertainment, introduces three new docu-series for international sale at MIPTV in Cannes. The company continues to grow its slate of distinct original series developed for its portfolio of Lifestyle channels, which feature an array of genres including travel and escape, fashion, automotive, cultural and factual content. New original series available at the international market this year include, Big Rig Warriors (10×30), Rust Valley Restorers (8×60), World Without (9×60) as well as previously announced new original shows Island of Bryan (13×60) and STITCHED (12×60). Additional broadcast details will be announced at a later date.

Newly greenlit original series available at MIPTV are as follows:

Big Rig Warriors (10×30) – Automotive/Docu-series
During the week they earn a living travelling North America’s highways behind the wheels of their big rig trucks. But in their downtime, they meet on tracks where they drive on their own terms – and usually at dangerously fast speeds. Follow five dynamic truckers and the families and friends who support them during the exciting racing season, amid exhaust, roaring engines and burning tires, on their quest to cross the finish line and be crowned the “fastest.” Whether they’re drag racing on the streets of cities or country towns, competing on traditional racing tracks, or going head to head in oval races in Las Vegas, they all share a common obsession: They race big trucks. And they race them fast. Produced by Attraction Images in association with Corus Studios for HISTORY®.

Rust Valley Restorers (8×60) – Automotive/Docu-series
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains is one of the most unique car communities in the world, also known as “Rust Valley.” It can’t be missed: acres upon acres of old and abandoned cars; a junkyard as far as the eye can see. And at its heart is a remarkable restoration shop run by a team of colourful and charismatic characters who use their impressive skills and experience to restore, trade and sell classic cars – transforming piles of rust into collectible car treasures. Produced by Mayhem Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for HISTORY®.

World Without (9×60) – Pop History/Docu-series
This mind-bending and innovative series examines the butterfly effect of removing key individuals, ideas, inventions and influences from a given nation’s history in order to highlight what that country has contributed to global culture and human history. In each episode, the series imagines the world without a specific country – the United Kingdom, U.S.A., Italy, China, Germany, France –as their game-changing leaders, innovations and social-political achievements are erased from our shared timeline. What transpires? Global catastrophe, societal upheaval and chaos. Produced by Cream Productions in association with Corus Studios for HISTORY®.

Previously announced greenlit original series starting production this spring include:

Island of Bryan (13×60) – Travel/Renovation/Docu-series
Can two parents with four school-age kids drop out of their busy lives, move to a tropical island paradise for eight months and rebuild and restore a rundown beachfront resort? Contractor Bryan Baeumler and his wife Sarah are about to find out. It’s a huge personal and financial gamble, but they’re ready to take the renovation ride of their lives. After more than 10 years of building a construction empire, Bryan and Sarah are about to embark on an unforgettable family adventure thousands of miles from home. Will they turn a ramshackle resort in the Bahamas into a luxurious boutique retreat and make it a buoyant business venture? Is paradise really all it’s cracked up to be? Produced by Si Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for HGTV Canada.

STITCHED (12×60) – Fashion Competition Series
The deadlines are tight, the expectations are high and the judges are hard to please. STITCHED is a fierce original fashion competition series where a new wave of fashion designers match wits and stitches in an epic fashion throw-down in three rounds. In every high-style-meets-high-stakes episode, four competitors face off in dramatic themed challenges with one designer eliminated each round. Facing the oh-so-sharp resident judges and a new guest judge per episode, designers create ambitious outfits inspired by unique materials and concepts under tight timelines. In the end, one designer rises to the top with a couture-level creation that earns them the $10,000 prize. Fashion model Kim Cloutier hosts alongside style expert Joe Zee and ELLE Canada’s Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Craft. Produced by FORTÉ Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for SLICE™.

At MIPTV, Corus Studios will be represented by Rita Carbone Fleury, who will be overseeing the global sales of Corus’ original content slate.




Corus Studios announces start of production on competition series Stitched

From a media release:

Fast fashion and flying hemlines have a whole new meaning as Corus Studios, a division of Corus Entertainment, starts production and international sales on STITCHED (12×60), a fierce original fashion competition series that fuses jaw-dropping creations and big personalities from the world of North American fashion. Hosted by Canadian fashion model Kim Cloutier, the series boasts an esteemed panel of resident judges including style expert Joe Zee and ELLE Canada’s Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa Craft. Produced by FORTÉ Entertainment in association with Corus Studios for Slice™, STITCHED is shooting in Toronto, Ont. and slated to premiere in fall 2018.

Introducing a new wave of talented fashion designers, the series matches wits and stitches in an epic fashion throw-down in three rounds. In every high-style-meets-high-stakes episode, four competitors face off in dramatically themed challenges with one designer eliminated each round. Facing the oh-so-sharp resident judges and a new guest judge per episode, designers create ambitious outfits inspired by unique materials and concepts under tight timelines. In the end, the top designer from each episode rises to the top with a couture-level creation that earns them the $10,000 prize.

Meet the endlessly chic host and panel of STITCHED:

Kim Cloutier (Host): Montreal-born and internationally known fashion model Kim Cloutier takes the reigns as host. Having worked on campaigns spanning from Victoria Secret to Redken, Kim brings her insider knowledge of the fashion industry to the STITCHED runway.

Joe Zee (Resident Judge): World-renowned fashion power player with over two decades of experience, Joe has occupied top positions at several prestigious publications (Vanity Fair, Allure, Elle US), as well as conquering the worlds of broadcast, digital and publishing. Formerly, Joe served as the executive creative director at Yahoo Style and is a frequent fashion and pop culture expert with regular appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s TODAY show, CNN, Extra! and Access Hollywood.

Vanessa Craft (Resident Judge): ELLE Canada’s Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Craft rounds out the solid resident judging panel. A jet-setting authority on fashion who is a fixture at international runway shows, this style expert is eloquent and playful and always looking for the deeper story behind a designer’s vision.

Additional details on STITCHED will be announced at later date. The series is available for international sales at MIPTV. Visit Rita Carbone Fluery, Corus Studios Worldwide Sales at Stand R7.N3 (Riviera 7).

For Corus, Krista Look is the Director of Original Lifestyle Content and Andrea Griffith is Executive in Charge of Production. On behalf of FORTÉ Entertainment, Andrea Gabourie and Mitchell Gabourie serve as Executive Producers and Natalie Schenk is Series Producer.




Little Dog: Patricia Isaac discusses Dr. Vaani’s “sweet and honest” relationship with Tommy

With four rounds, er, episodes of Little Dog in the can, we’ve learned a lot about Tommy and his family. Tommy (Joel Thomas Hynes) is tenacious and slowly gaining his mojo back. Lowly (Stephen Oates) is loyal if not a little slow. Sylvia (Ger Ryan) is a force to be reckoned with.

As for Dr. Vaani Abdeen, played by Patricia Isaac? Well, the good doctor has certainly revealed a lot in the last two episodes. Turns out she’s not only a brilliant doctor but a kleptomaniac with a secret. That came to light in Ginny’s (Katherine Isabelle) anger class when Vaani revealed she was verbally abused by her husband. We spoke to Isaac about her character, Vaani’s relationship with Tommy and her circuitous route to acting.

Give me the Coles Notes version of how you got into the industry. Your bio says you were the youngest account executive for a major IT corporation. When did you decide acting was what you wanted to do?
Patricia Isaac: I was in Alberta, where I’m from, and it wasn’t so much as a decision as something I couldn’t not do. I’d been performing, singing and writing since I was a little kid and it’s not something that’s necessarily culturally encouraged. Math, science and business is just what we do. It feels safe. All of a sudden I had this grownup’s job and I said to myself, ‘Is this it?’ I just had to give acting a shot. I made a friend in the industry, we hit it off and I was encouraged to take the leap and head to Vancouver to check it out. I ended up going on my first audition, booked it and took it as a sign. I lived out of my suitcase for a few months and never went back.

How did your family feel about that?
My family is very supportive of taking a risk and seeing that it all works out. If you don’t spend decades going at it aimlessly then you’re all good! My family does have a lot of art in its background too, so there is that.

How did you land the role of Vaani? Did you audition or did some folks have you in mind because you’d been on Republic of Doyle?
It was both, actually. I did know Joel from before when I was on Doyle. But I auditioned. I taped here in Los Angeles and did the callback with [showrunner Sherry White]. What made it so great was the fact that we did have that history.

St. John’s is such a fantastic city to work in and you got to do it twice. You must have been pinching yourself.
It is a dream. It’s such a special place. I spent some time by myself on Signal Hill and there was nobody else there. I watched the sun rise at Cape Spear … there is something so sacred about both of those experiences.

Let’s get into these characters. Vaani and Tommy have a history and there seems to be a bit of an attraction there. Can you comment on that?
[Laughs.] They are kind of a safe place for each other. She doesn’t want anything from him and he’s kind of the one person in his world who doesn’t. That allows her to be the straight-shooter that she is. Also, they can be vulnerable around each other. There is something really sweet about it and honest about it. The fact that they did know each other in high school even though he didn’t recognize her. I definitely related to her. It took me awhile to look like a girl, so I can appreciate Dr. Vaani. He was one of the few people who was kind to her in high school. Even though they seem to be from different sides of the tracks there is also an outsider quality for both of them that connects them. It’s a really sweet relationship. Where it goes … we don’t know. But it feels like an opportunity to go anywhere.

You see all of these other relationships on the show and here is this girl who was married and comes back to town after it exploded and now finds herself working with her dad in this old neighbourhood where people remember her the way they remembered her in Episode 1. She’s kind of having to rebuild herself.

It’s good these two have a safe place to go because Sylvia is on them all the time.
[Laughs.] It’s so funny because Ger and I in real life love spending time together. She is just a wonderful human being, so it made it that much more enjoyable to play these characters. I think the situation with Sylvia is very common in real life. We make assumptions about being judged or project that onto the other person. I feel like her character does that. She is going to judge me before I can judge her. We’ll definitely see more of that. There is that commonality between Tommy and Vaani and I am almost protective of him and he is that way as well.

Tommy comes across as such a tough guy because of the way he looks and dresses and carries himself. But once you start to chip away at that, he’s a sensitive guy.
Yes, and Vaani is like that too. I know a lot of girls that have done this and I have too; you find the thing that you can hide behind for protection. Vaani hides behind a lab coat in some ways and is doing her best to keep up appearances.

Little Dog airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Featured image courtesy of James Branaman.




Detention Adventure brings action, adventure, science and fun to young viewers

Four schoolkids get in trouble on purpose so they can explore the tunnels under their school in search of a secret laboratory that holds mysterious treasure. That’s the premise behind Detention Adventure, one of dozens of projects seeking Independent Production Fund assistance to bring Season 1 to life.

Co-created by Joe Kicak and Carmen Albano, written by Kicak, Albano and Karen Moore, executive-produced by Moore, Lauren Corber and produced by Ryan West, Detention Adventure summons Goonies, Stand By Me and the Harry Potter franchise in its tone. Legend says inventor Alexander Graham Bell built a secret lab under a school attended by three nerds. Raign (Simone Miller), Joy (Alina Prijono) and Hulk (Jack Fulton) are determined to find the entrance, which is supposed to be located somewhere in the old library that now serves as a detention room. The trio’s plan? Get into trouble, go to detention and find that entrance. The problem? Raign, Joy and Hulk have to include the school bully, Brett (Tomaso Sanelli), in their plans.

“We really tried to get at something that was more cinematic and dynamic than a studio school show,” Moore says. “The series is full of adventures in these tunnels and the scientific experiments that are part of it. This shows how exciting science can be and the adventures the kids can take.” Each 11-minute instalment of the potential 10-episode first season finds the sixth-grade students calling upon their scientific and problem-solving skills to tackle and break through a series of puzzles, traps and riddles to find the elusive lab.

Detention Adventure is a departure for Moore. Most recently a writer on decidedly adult projects like Workin’ Moms, Rookie Blue and What Would Sal Do?, she’s written and produced two BravoFACT short films in Must Kill Karl (alongside Kicak) and Your Place Or Mine, and Frozen Marbles. Moore was looking for a progression from writing shorts and felt this was a natural move. Her time in the writing room under showrunners in Catherine Reitman and Tassie Cameron has given Moore the experience to write the serialized episodes Detention Adventure boasts; she, Kicak and Albano made up the writer’s room.

“It was me telling Joe and Carmen what to do,” Moore says with a laugh. Every episode of Detention Adventure contains themes of overcoming differences, empathy, cliffhangers and a lot of fun. The potential series is aimed at 6-12-year-olds, the pre-teen audience where stories of friendship and insecurity are relatable.

“This is the time when kids are still up for more wholesome fun,” Moore says. “But they also have the tools and the independence to have some life skills to draw on and be at the level of these science experiments and problem-solving.”

Support Detention Adventure by clicking through to the show’s YouTube page and liking it! And check out more projects seeking IPF funding.

Images courtesy of Broken Compass Films.




Murdoch Mysteries: Showrunner Peter Mitchell, writer Mary Pedersen and Hélène Joy tease Season 12

Spoiler alert! Do not continue reading until you have watched the Season 11 finale, “Free Falling.”

Well Murdoch Mysteries fans, are you feeling a little better? After last week’s episode, “Shadows are Falling,” viewers were left reeling. Not only did Julia lose her baby to a miscarriage, but she and William had a major falling out. Julia had instructed Rebecca on how to perform an abortion, which led to a dramatic conclusion: William left the hotel and was last seen walking down the street.

Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. William, working the case of a missing woman alongside her supposedly distraught husband meant he could reflect on the things he’d said to Julia. And she spent several moments, with help from Inspector Brackenreid, recalling her own remarks. By episode end the pair had tearfully reunited.

But not all is well. Nina and Crabtree broke up and—as many of you suspected—Violet is up to no good. I spoke to showrunner Peter Mitchell, writer-producer Mary Pedersen (who co-wrote the finale with Simon McNabb and Dan Trotta) and actress Hélène Joy about “Free Falling,” and a peek at what’s to come in Season 12.

Peter, was the episode title, “Free Falling,” a reference to the Tom Petty song as well as what our characters were going through?
Peter Mitchell: I think so. The Tom Petty song is a little bit about breaking up with the girl who is perfect for you and feeling kinda good about it. And also about all of the characters because they don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Why was it important to keep Julia and William apart for the entire episode?
Peter Mitchell: To establish some tension in the story. We’re often more willing and more able to talk to strangers about things that we’re thinking about than those who are closest to us.

Of course, it was wonderful to have William and Julia reunite. But, you tore another couple apart: Crabtree and Nina. Why, Mary?
Mary Pedersen: I think that was really natural. We love Erin Agostino. She has been wonderful and has really won over the fans which is really something because the character, on paper, doesn’t look like someone Crabtree should end up with. That’s really a credit to Erin’s work. That was the truth of their situation. Nina doesn’t want the things that he wants. They tried to fit that square peg into the round hole and it’s not going to work. He really would have had to sacrifice so much not only by leaving Toronto, but then what does his life look like in Paris? It was definitely a sad thing because we’ve all grown to love that character and Erin, but there wasn’t really a way to turn that ship around and have her be the person that Crabtree is ultimately the person he’s meant to be with.

Peter Mitchell: George could try to abandon his core principles but I don’t think he has it in him. I think he does want whatever the turn of the century version of the white picket fence is. I didn’t want to compromise the Nina character and have her roll over on her core beliefs to make George happy. Sort of like Ogden and Murdoch, but in a different way.

By the end of the episode, Violet is plotting with Horace McWorthy to take over the morgue? How did you feel about that twist Hélène?
Hélène Joy: I thought it was great. I know the audience loves to hate some characters and this character is on that hit list for sure. That’s what’s fun about Murdoch. We try to keep it surprising. You can’t love everyone all of the time. I think it’s great that it’s happening this way and makes it far more interesting for the character and for the actress playing the character. I’m really intrigued to see where it goes. How evil is she going to get? I feel for Shanice because I know what it’s like to be hated. If you remember back to Julia’s first husband, Darcy, there were whole Facebook pages that were just about hating Darcy.

What excites you about Season 12?
Hélène Joy: I get excited because the writers always blow me away. I hear little rumblings about what Julia these things that Julia will be doing this year and I’m like, ‘Oh! Who would have thought?!’ Of course, I can’t tell you!

Peter, will there be a time jump between Season 11’s finale and Season 12’s debut?
Peter Mitchell: Yup. Normally, we pick it up three or four months later and I think that’s so we can start off on a fresh foot while doing some housekeeping as to what happened last year.

Any storylines you’re working on that you can talk about?
Peter Mitchell: We have an idea that Julia and Murdoch might be writing a book together, which could be fun. We might actually find George’s girl of his dreams this year. There might be some interesting developments in the Brackenreid household and the wedding bells will indeed ring for Henry Higgins. I think we might have Alexander Graham Bell back—he’s a fun character—and introduce the architect Frank Lloyd Wright … a couple historical figures we haven’t seen yet and a couple we’ve seen in the past. We’re just getting started.

What did you think of Murdoch Mysteries‘ Season 11 finale? What do you hope for Season 12? Let me know in the comments below!