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TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

It’s My Party! premieres on TVO on June 26

From a media release:

It’s My Party!a new TVOkids Original series that takes viewers on a fascinating journey of discovery into different communities within Canada, premieres on Tuesday, June 26 at 6 p.m. From Diwali to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to Oshogatsu, It’s My Party! (13×22-minute episodes) offers a fresh take on the celebrations, exploring the origins and meaning behind different elements – all from a child’s perspective.

Hosted by Emily Agard (GastroblastRide or Wrong), each episode pairs up two kids who have never met before: one is the party guide, and the other is the VIP guest. These two newfound friends jump in feet first into new cultural experiences, participating in challenges and games linked to the food, fashion and festivities of the dynamic celebration. Each episode culminates in a lively performance.

The June 26 premiere episode focuses on the Punjabi winter celebration Lohri, where viewers are invited to experience bhangra dancing, Indian sweets and dhol drumming.

A companion game called Party Time! enables kids to explore, customize and design their own unique celebrations. Players can personalize and interpret their party by selecting and mix-matching cultural elements from the many events in the show.

The series is produced by Bristow Global Media, in association with TVO, with the financial participation of the Shaw Rocket Fund​ and the Canada Media Fund (CMF). Key executives include executive producers Julie Bristow, Marlo Miazga and Daniel Bourré for Bristow Global Media, as well as Marney Malabar and Marianne Lambert for TVO. Distribution360 has partnered with Bristow Global Media on international distribution, also overseeing format rights worldwide.


The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition — Meet Nancy & Mellisa, Taylor & Courtney, Todd & Anna and Zainab & Monica

The Amazing Race‘s 10 teams have finally been revealed and we couldn’t be more excited. Not only is this season of the Race—returning Tuesday, July 3, at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. MT on CTV—being dubbed Heroes Edition because of the inspirational folks involved, but we actually got a chance to meet the teams before they began the Race. Not only that, but we were among a small group of Canadian media who observed a leg of the Race being run! More on that later; in the meantime, check out our interviews with the 10 teams competing this summer.

Nancy Csabay and Mellisa Hollingsworth
Occupations: Professional Barrel Racer/Horse Trainer (Nancy) and Olympian/Public Speaker/Realtor (Mellisa)

Who do you consider a hero?
Nancy: Someone who serves others. They think of other people before themselves. I believe everyone is a hero in their own right.

Mellisa: And somebody who inspires you through their story. If I talk about Nancy, there are so many people who can connect with Nancy and her story. That’s her fighting strength and what she’s gone through.

That’s what I like about The Amazing Race Canada. There is such positivity associated with the series.
Mellisa: When you watch it you are cheering for every single team. I get so emotionally invested in them and I feel what they’re feeling.

Any nervousness at this point?
Nancy: Just from our sports background, I look at nervousness a little different than others. For me, when I feel that in my stomach I look at it as excitement. How many of us get to do what I do? Specifically, in barrel racing, there is a small number of women who barrel race and how lucky am I?

Mellisa: And we both have that experience of knowing how to handle that emotion. I was taught at a very young age that nerves are good because it means you care.

As athletes, I would expect that gives you an advantage.
Nancy: Yeah, though, instead of comparing ourselves to others we’re just going to go and run our own race. We won’t worry what everyone else is doing. Instead of following someone who might not even know the way, we’re planning on staying calm and really reading the clue and making sure we know the task at hand.

Mellisa: We’re a bit of a social experiment too in our dynamic. We don’t know each other on an intimate level. We’re not siblings, we’re not spouses and we’re not best friends. We know each other professionally. But, while prepping, it’s been quite interesting. Our values and beliefs are aligning and that’s really interesting.

Any challenges you hope you don’t come across during the Race?
Nancy: Yeah, I’m not a big fan of snakes but Mellisa doesn’t mind handling them.

Mellisa: One of the things we’ve learned so far is to not focus on those phobias until we get to them. It’s the same in sport; whatever your weakness is, if you constantly give it attention and focus on it your world will revolve around it.

Taylor and Courtney Callens
Occupations: RCMP Officers

A quick question about being RCMP officers. Your bio indicates you’re the next generation of officers in your family. Did you always consider this career?
Courtney: I became a Mountie first just because I’m older. I finished university and then I applied and didn’t tell anybody. You write a test and then if you pass with a certain score you’re welcomed into the application process. My dad received my results in the mail and I told him to open it up. Thank god I passed, because how mortifying would it be if I didn’t?

Taylor: I’ve always wanted to do it. I went to school first, for criminology, and got my ducks in a row. I told everyone. I was the opposite. That was a lot of pressure because when you have three generations in front of you, plus your sister is now a member if you fail it’s devastating. But no family pressure.

Why will you be the last team standing in the season finale?
Taylor: We’re siblings. Some may look at that as a weakness, but in our dynamic … siblings fight. We’ve learned to make up and become friends again. We’ve gotten into fights for the last 25 years and we’re getting pretty good at bringing it back to Happyville.

Courtney: We’re so good at laughing it off.

Taylor: For other teams that aren’t related, that could cause a crack in their team. For us, we can seal that crack pretty quick and move on.

Is your plan to form any alliances or will you try to keep to yourselves?
Courtney: I’m not opposed to making friends.

Taylor: It’s not a closed door.

Courtney: But it’s not exactly wide open either.

Taylor: It would depend on the dynamics of the game. If it was a case where making allies on the show will help us or advance us, then yeah.

Can you be backstabby if you have to be?
Courtney: We can, but I’d prefer not to be. Being police officers, I hold us to a bit of a higher standard. And there is nothing like the conversation killer of, ‘I’m a cop.’

Todd Kirk and Anna Holtby
Occupations: Electrician (Todd) and Writer (Anna)

What did you do for your audition tape?
Todd: It was really last-minute. We filmed it in her apartment and then sent it in, like, 10 minutes before the deadline.

Anna: We were just ourselves. We bantered back and forth a little bit and then Todd shared his really amazing story.

Todd, tell me a bit about that story. Surviving cancer is a big milestone on its own, but you also endured bullying.
Todd: The message that I want to get across is anyone with cancer or a facial difference or anything like that … you can go out, express yourself and bring the message to Canada that you don’t have to be scared. I was scared and through friends, family and sports I gained confidence.

What gives you the edge against other teams?
Anna: I think it’s the balance we have as a team. Where he’s strong, I’m weak and where he’s weak, I’m strong. I’m not very good mechanically, but Todd can have something done in three minutes.

Todd: Anna is more book smarts and that’s definitely not me.

Anna: I’m detail-oriented and organized.

What have you done to prepare for the Race?
Anna: We’ve watched all the old seasons of the show and I took a book out of the library that is a children’s book all about Canada. I did tests of the provincial and territorial flags. And then we went to the gym for training.

Zainab Ansari and Monica Demain
Occupations: Navy Sailors, Royal Canadian Navy

What or who do you think of when you think ‘hero’?
Monica: I think of Zainab. I think of our moms. We both have single moms.

Zainab: I think of fellow Canadian Forces members. A hero can be anybody that you look up to that you want to emulate, to strive to be like and makes you feel good about yourself.

Why are you the team to beat?
Monica: We’re very skilled. We complement each other when it comes to skills. We don’t take no for an answer.

Zainab: Determination! The whole package. And I feel like, at first glance, we don’t come off as a strong team and we’re going to use that to our advantage. We’re not going to tell anyone what we do for a living.

Because you think that will put a target on your back?
Zainab: Completely.

Monica: Right now we look like sweet little girls, which we are. But we also came to attack. We came here to race, not make friends. Maybe outside of the Race, but not while we’re in it.

How did you prepare?
Zainab: We’re actually really lucky because I think it’s the same as preparing to be deployed. You don’t know where you’re going, but you know that you have to pack for a whole spectrum of conditions. Packing was a cinch, I think. And, also, we’re used to travelling around the world with the navy. We know how to deal with a lack of sleep, jetlag, stress.

Monica: We’ve been in those positions where someone is literally breathing down on you. The best way to work through that is to be calm or else you won’t be able to pay attention to detail.

The Amazing Race Canada: Heroes Edition airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. MT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.


Comments and queries for the week of June 22

Oh my! My husband and I are so happy for Beccy [winning MasterChef Canada]. She worked so hard and stayed calm but showed grit and determination. I was so stressed I couldn’t watch it so waited till today to find out. Hopefully, we can taste her cooking in the near future. Way to go!! —Anne

Team Beccy, all the way. She was strong from the start and yet so shy. —Dale

I was extremely disappointed! Yes, Beccy is amazing for a 19-year-old but she did not deserve the win. How is it you can serve burnt, inconsistent food and still win? I too saw the writing on the wall for her win weeks ago during with the showdown with Eugene. I too will not watch again. It seems a popularity contest than a cooking show. —Susan

Great choice. Pretty amazing for a 19-year-old and she earned it. She worked for that win and it was not handed to her. Congrats to her. —Sandy

I was rooting for Beccy right from the first episode. She went about her business quietly and didn’t brag nor did she make any disparaging comments about her fellow competitors. You’ve nowhere to go but up, Beccy! Sincere best wishes for your future. —Judy

Becky: first one in her family to finish high school, never been in a fancy restaurant, had never seen most of the ingredients but so talented that I cannot understand any negative comments here. Andy was also a great cook but I agree 100 per cent with the judges that Becky is the winner! Congratulations Becky! —Zoka

Am very pleased that Beccy won you could see from the very first show that she was a gifted chef. —Sharon

I disagree with some of the comments made that Beccy’s win was predictable and that she was given more airtime. I thought Andy had more airtime than her. I believe it was neck in neck between Beccy and Andy until the very end. Beccy won because she had the slight edge over Andy due to her innovative cooking style and smartness. Congrats Beccy! I hope to taste your cooking one day!!! —Joseph

Most definitely agree Beccy was forecasted to win based on her story, age, and the airtime she was given. She kept her cool each week and appears to be born to cook. I liked Andy’s dishes better in the finale but know he will do well in his own restaurant without the added benefit of winning the title. Both were great competitors and exuded a lot of class. —Tunie

Way to go Beccy!! I loved watching how calm and confident you were in each challenge!! I was pretty confident that you would win. You have demonstrated that you will go places in this line of work!! —Cindy


Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email or via Twitter @tv_eh.


Documentary series following British Columbia’s paramedics and dispatchers takes viewers to the front lines of emergency health care

From a media release:

Knowledge Network has commissioned a 10-part documentary series on the work of paramedics and dispatchers at BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) responding to emergencies in the greater Vancouver area. Through real-life stories from the 911 call to the paramedic response on-scene and the ambulance ride to hospital, viewers will have an inside look at the challenges that dedicated professionals face daily.

BC Emergency Health Services provides pre-hospital emergency services and inter-facility patient transfers throughout the province, and oversees the BC Ambulance Service and BC Patient Transfer Services.

Careful protocols and privacy measures were established and followed during filming and in post-production to ensure patient care was not compromised while respecting staff and patient privacy. Knowledge Network has leveraged funding from the Canada Media Fund and the TELUS Fund to help finance the project, and has partnered with B.C.-based Lark Productions to produce the documentary series, who also produced Knowledge Network’s successful documentary series Emergency Room: Life + Death at VGH, taking viewers behind the scenes in one of Canada’s busiest emergency departments.

Lark Productions’ Louise Clark and Erin Haskett serve as Executive Producers on the series. “Building on our rewarding relationship with Knowledge Network, we are privileged to now work with BC Emergency Health Services and share their stories,” said Erin Haskett. “This is a unique opportunity to provide viewers with an inside look at the work of the paramedics and dispatchers, share their daily experiences and directly see the impact they have on our community.”

The world premiere is planned for broadcast on Knowledge Network and in spring 2019.


Serinda Swan to star in new CBC drama Coroner

From a media release:

CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, in association with Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Films, today announced that Vancouver-born actress Serinda Swan (InhumansBallers) is set to star in the new CBC original drama CORONER (8×60), created by Morwyn Brebner (Saving Hope).  Inspired by the best-selling series of books by M. R. Hall, the one-hour series centres on a newly appointed coroner investigating suspicious deaths in Toronto.  Production will begin in late summer 2018 in and around Toronto with the series set to premiere on CBC in winter 2019.

Swan will play the title role of ‘Jenny Cooper’, a brave, determined yet vulnerable coroner driven by an intense desire for the truth. A former ER doctor and recently widowed mother, the passing of her beloved husband has unlocked a primal connection to death, tied to a secret in her past that is only now coming to the surface. She loves her son more than life itself and strives to support him while also trying to take care of herself. With storylines based on real-life cases, Jenny is a coroner for our time, an advocate for the dead even when it’s inconvenient for the living, and defender of those who are powerless or in peril.

Swan most recently starred in the role of ‘Medusa’ in Marvel’s Inhumans, as well as playing the role of ‘Anne Bancroft’ in Ryan Murphy’s critically acclaimed Feud.  Other recent television credits include a season-long recurring arc opposite Dwayne Johnson on the third season of HBO’s hit comedy series, Ballers, as well as starring roles in Breakout Kings and Graceland. Feature credits include James Franco’s recently wrapped Blood On Wheels, Disney’s Tron, and Fox’s Percy Jackson franchise.  She is repped by APA, Elevate Entertainment, Performers Management in Canada, and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.

A CBC original series, CORONER is produced by Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Films. Morwyn Brebner is creator, executive producer and showrunner, Adrienne Mitchell (Durham County, Bellevue) is lead director and executive producer for Back Alley Films, and Jonas Prupas is executive producer for Muse Entertainment. For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Programming; Helen Asimakis is Senior Director, Scripted Content; and Sarah Adams is Executive in Charge of Production. Bonnie Brownlee is Executive Director, Marketing.